My 10 year old son and I have done this trail multiple times. It's not that tough but you will be tired as its long. Climb is gradual but forgiving. Take plenty of water and stay on the train as poison oak is everywhere!
I've also hiked it with my bride and she didn't think it was that tough either.
If you go between April - June wild flowers are blooming beautifully.
We backpacked in, found a nice spot to set up camp for the night, and left the next morning.
Beautiful scenery on the way in
A fair amount of shade on the trail
At the end of Steven's Trail, near Secret Ravine, there's tons of trash. I'm going to guess it's miners who set up camp for a few days to pan for gold and then just take off and leave their garbage behind. Man this place needs to be cleaned up. We found 1 sleeping bag, 1 tent, 1 pan with lid, 1 pair of shorts, 1 jacket, 1 running shoe, some mining tools covered in rust, empty beer cans, snack wrappers, among other things.
TIps: There's no water until the end of the trail when you get to the American River. You can either haul in lots of water for the hike, or you can bring a water filter system and re-fill when you get to the river so you have something for the hike back.
Very short but sometimes sketchy hiking/climbing to get to the water but definitely worth it! Absolutely beautiful swimming spots. Watch out for itty bitty river leeches, there are tons clinging to the rocks. Parking is scarce so you may have to park on the side of the street. The road leading to this location is very rocky/bumpy so take it easy. If you know your vehicle has a hard time with varied terrain I would not suggest this trip. Otherwise, it's lovely.
My sister and I went on this hike and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, we were pretty exhausted from the ups and downs and the heat, so by the time we got to robber's ravine, we decided to turn back. We'll be doing it again in the future so we can go all the way to the river. Don't miss the rock outcrop that is about 50 feet before robber's ravine. It's just off the trail to the right and the views from the rocks are stunning!
This is one of my favorite trails. Some spots are a little precarious but my 9 year old was able to manage without much difficulty. There's a really neat cave you can explore if you're brave enough. My boys had fun checking it out. We brought lunch from home and hiked off trail a bit down to the river to eat. The trail follows the river as you get farther along and we could see it clearly so there was no fear of getting lost. It was a wonderful respite from the heat. The trail is rather sunny in spots so a hat and/or sunscreen is a good idea. Eight miles is a bit too far for my 9 year old so we didn't make it all the way to the end but this trail definitely had something for everyone to enjoy.
2nd time on this trail. hit the trailhead at 8:30 and made it down to the water by 10:15. the earlier the better as the hike back up gets very warm in the afternoon sun. take extra water because you'll need it. was back at the car by 12:30. It's a great workout and enjoyable scenery.
Don't be fooled by the downward hike in the beginning because you have to hike back and it's all uphill! The scenery is gorgeous, the trail is well marked and you get a great dose of flat and then rocky trail. Overall the only complaint is I wish there was more shade on an over 90 degree day.
Tough to find the trail head. Spent 30 minutes trying to figure it out. Used the directions by the some previous reviews which was more helpful. Once it was found trail is pretty self explanatory. It's narrow and some precarious parts but otherwise a good hike along the river.