Explore Auburn Area - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Auburn Area Map
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new county policy you must have a reservation to park booked in advance. also they charge for the reservations. they pay park rangers to stand out and collect the money.

Great hike! Just be watchful of bears. We spotted one about 15/20 feet from us while doing the hike not even half way in.

hiking
10 days ago

I loved this hike! Took my boyfriend for his birthday and it was lovely, BUT it was horrible the way back because we did not bring enough water. Please bring more than you think you need!!

This trail has become one of our favorite trails in the El Dorado/ Tahoe area. The views from the Hemlock and Smith Lake are amazing (there was even some snow on the northeast side of the lake, where the granite wall prevents the sun from reaching).
The full trail (back and forth) is 9.8 miles instead of 5.5 miles as originally reported (we had a tracking device that recorded the distance and altitude gain; and if you check the full map here and add the distances, you'll see that it's close to 5 miles one-way).
As mentioned before, the trail is well-visible until a certain point (up to where it splits with the Twin Lakes 16E12); from that point on, it's essential to have some guidance (the AllTrails map works great), keep an eyes on the stacked rocks too.
On our way back, we saw some commotion due to someone getting lost (there are too many splits) and the Rangers and El Dorado Police had to be called (when we got back to the parking lot, we heard that they had found the guy).

If you are going on a weekend, chances are that the parking lot by the trailhead will be full. Don't park by the cabins or by the road or you will get a ticket. Park at one of the two Wrights Lake parking lots.

This trail has many options of different length hikes. They provide paper maps at the trail head to help navigate though the park.

hiking
27 days ago

Does anyone know exactly what you are supposed to do when you get to river level? The trail map shows the trail going quite a bit past this point, but I couldn't really find a trail either time. Is it map wrong, are you supposed to climb through the rocks, or is there another trail hidden somewhere?

I did this hike in the early April and again in late July. Great hike both times, but it was definitely better in the spring when there are wildflowers, more water flowing, and it is quite a bit cooler. I started around 7:30 AM both times. Hike down to the river was pretty easy...and I didn't think the hike back was too bad, except for the increase in heat and a few points that were a little strenuous.

hiking
28 days ago

This trail had beautiful views of the river and had it not been for the heat wouldn't have been too hard. Bring plenty of water. Parking is free but the lot is pretty small.

on Hidden Falls Trail

hiking
29 days ago

Trail has many options for all levels of hikers. Many shady portions and great facilities. Make sure to bring plenty of water. The hidden trail leads you to some great overlooks and you can hike down to the trail. Make sure to reserve the day before. $4.00 for half day 6:30am-9:30am / All day $8.00. No cell reception so take screenshots of your confirmation when you reserve. Take a picture of the trail map before you head out.

Kinda just went and did it. Wish we had prepared for the hike. Went @halfway to river and headed back. Well be back to finish. Gorgeous landscapes... just when you’ve had enough exposure you’re blessed with shade.

Great for families.

hiking
1 month ago

Very enjoyable. Half shade, half sun.

Great final descent section of what is becoming known as a mountain biking destination for NorCal. Just have to watch out for the hikers that are unaware this is predominantly used by mountain bikers.

Gorgeous trails with views of the river. This is a great hike for a hot day because there are so many places to take a quick dip and cool off.

hiking
1 month ago

Wouldn’t hike this trail again. Not much shade. River is a long ways down. Not accessible except at the start. All up hill.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

On many recommendations, four friends and I took the trail early on a Sunday morning. None of us were super-experienced hikers, but the experience was fantastic. Going early was huge—the return trip was very warm, making the ascent a bit tougher. There’s a slight fork near the river; we went right which was a rocky shortcut to some nice pools and view. As a novice wearing tennis shoes, there were a few spots on the way down that felt tricky, but the return ascent posed almost none; those same spots were much easier to go up than down, even factoring in fatigue. The reviews on here provided excellent advice: we avoided the poison oak, we brought water (though needed more than 32 oz apiece returning in the heat), and sunscreen was crucial for my fairer complexion. I had been afraid of heights since I was a little kid, so there were moments where the openness and elevation did hit me, but I didn’t actually have much trouble—I just focused a lot on the way down. Hikers along the trail were all friendly and patient with our inexperienced group, and I had a memorable time and would love to do it again in the future (wearing boots though).. Happy hiking!

hiking
1 month ago

It was difficult but enjoyable hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Fun hike! Perfect length! Good amount of difficulty, enough that makes for a good workout but not too much where you feel like you need to take a bunch of breaks. Gorgeous views and was pleasantly surprised it led down to the water! I’ll be back!

I would definitely rate this as hard, especially because the trail from Hemlock to Smith is marked as "primitive." I found it hard to catch the spot where you take a hard left up into the rocks. I wasn't sure if I was off trail, so I sat down until I saw someone else arrived who used their GPS to find the trail. After being at the top I came back down to find two hikers lost in the same spot that I was. Just keep an eye out for stacked rocks to the left to find that final steep ascent.

The parking lot at the trail head was open as of 7/7/18. The wildflowers were incredible! And the water running down beside the first part of the trail was serene. I dunked in at Smith Lake and felt so refreshed. Will be coming back soon to see it again.

Wildflowers are blooming everywhere right now. Don’t forget bug spray!

hiking
1 month ago

It's tough. Downhill almost all the way in to the canyon which can only mean uphill on the return. Use plenty of sunscreen/bring plenty of water/and bring mosquito repellent just in case. Lots of poison oak but fairly easy to avoid if careful.
The cave was very 'cool' both literally and figuratively! And the waterfall and pools of water were awesome! We enjoyed ourselves but turned back after about 2 miles when we got to a really great vista point.
I recommend it for strong uphill hikers!

Short survey walk of South Yuba River State Park. Very little access to river bank. Flat, wide, almost ADA compliant.

trail running
1 month ago

My all time favoritest

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail! I would not recommend doing this in 90 degree+. Most on the trail in this heat were miserable. There is a long ridge that is direct Sun most of the day, by far the hottest part. Water makes up for it though. Mosquitos in evening alot of poison oak.

hiking
1 month ago

I loved this hike, Hiked in to the waterfall felt pretty easy going and I did it 30 weeks pregnant, just made sure to bring lots of water and brought some snacks. You do have to maneuver down the the swimming hole part but it wasn’t too difficult and the water felt great!! Definitely will do this one again!!

Beautiful hike! The wildflowers are in full bloom right now and there are some waterfalls along the trail as well. The last 0.2 mi was steep, but worth the trip to Smith Lake! Also, the road to the parking lot is still closed to the public so you have to park at the further lot and walk to the trail head.

hiking
1 month ago

Great experience to do this hike. It's says 9 miles but it's about 8 on my watch. anyway its not really easy ones specially when it's hot outside This hike with great stunning views of nature. Recommended: start early to avoid hot day weather, have good shoes even boots bcse of plenty of rock areas (we saw people in flipflops I have no words ), drinking water maybe some snack so you can relax and enjoy beautiful views .

walking
2 months ago

We parked close to the covered bridge to go swimming in the Yuba River. It was such a nice area with sand and the water was the perfect temp and not too deep. There where people here but not too many. It’s such a pretty area! We will be back for sure! There’s walking trails near by so next time we will do some trails and end with swimming in the river! 

2 months ago

I loved this trail. Started at the market in Iowa Hill, (Stevens Trail East). Stay to the right where the trail forks (about 100 yards from tail head) and you’ll stay in the shade the entire way to an absolutely BEAUTIFUL swimming hole at the end. Wear good boots, this isn’t a trail for tennis shoes or flip flops. *** Now I must pay tribute to PENNY, the local dog that literally was looking out for me the whole way. I saw a brown bear (50 yards away) on the way in and she kept her eye on it, as I did. The bear seemed uninterested and we went in opposite directions.. She chased away something, rustling in the brush, on the way out. She swam after a stick while at the swimming hole. She kept bringing it back for me to throw. We hung out about an hour there, and shared beef jerky, then hiked back. Loved this dog!!! She was truly a great little companion and guide, never getting too far ahead, always checking to make sure I was coming along.

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