Amazing trail. I would say it's harder than moderate though. My horse and I are avid trail riders and this trail surely pushed us. Great access to water and lots of wildlife. My only complaint is the directions on this site are incorrect. You cannot stage your trailer in the del labor gated community. You have to go to lomita and continue to the sterling pointe staging area.
I think this is a beautiful moderate trail. its part of the western states so it is marked all along the way. Most beautiful in the spring time...
I'm with Kelly. The trail is very poorly marked and any signs you do find are vandalized or covered in graffiti. Half the time we weren't even sure we were on the trail. We did enjoy the Nimbus Dam and seeing the jumping salmon and hordes of fishermen. We look forward to returning to Lake Natomas for some kayaking.
Regarding the stretch upriver from Rattlesnake Bar: once you get past the pond you actually start to get a sense of isolation even though there are homes up on the rim in Newcastle and the Sherland Tract area. It is shaded but still very hot in summer. The trail continues to Oregon Bar and up Cardiac then along the ditch to the dam overlook. From there past the horse parking is the WST which is still technically a segment of the Pioneer Express Trail. Nice swimming spots in the canyon between Folsom and Auburn, with the occasional boater headed up river when conditions are right.
My dog and I took this trail upriver from Rattlesnake Bar park to the 50.5 mile marker yesterday. It runs parallel to the American River upriver from Folsom Lake. It is very scenic with sweeping views of the river below. Most of the trail is in the trees so, in summer there would be plenty of shade. Also there are several sections where you can easily get down to the water.
Trail is not well marked and isn't very scenic. We hiked in February but in the heat it must be super miserable especially when you get out of the shade (of which there isn't very much). When you use the American River Bike Trail (which runs along side this trail in parts) it's also VERY congested with bikers who are fairly unfriendly about walkers on the trail. I would certainly do this trail if it's on a list of accomplishments you'd like to check off (like it was for me) but I won't ever do it again and have aptly kept notes about it for the future as a non-repeater.