Explore the most popular river trails in Tahoe National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
5 days ago

Not a fan... the trail was easy to find but I’m familiar with the area. The big downfalls were the trail being more like an animal path. It’s very overgrown which creates a problem when the area is infested with ticks. I saw the warning sign but thought it would be okay since I had deet on and long pants with a long shirt. Not so lucky. I had four ticks on me and two embedded. The poison oak was decently bad as well. I do not recommend for dogs considering these two things. It’s a bit technical due to the fallen trees and narrow path. Crossing the creek wasn’t a big issue. You just need to take your shoes of and roll up the pants. The view was pretty but the end is really no more significant than the beginning. I’m checking it off my list but I won’t go back unless some maintenance is done in the trail.

Awesome hike. Easy down, hard getting back up. But good views and lunch along the river make it worth the effort. Never seen it too crowded but you will have to step off the trail and let someone pass now and then. Lots of lizards and butterflies. Watch out for ticks.

Very nice. Easy to follow. Creek is pretty in places. Lake is beautiful. Entrance right on 89. Directions will take you to a different way in but you'd need an off road vehicle. Crowded and LOTS of dogs off leash.

Great to take your dog here. Great hike and easy for kids.

Camas Lilies are just starting to open. Maybe next week the will al be open.

Great hike to challenge yourself! Very scenic with the reward of the beautiful water at the bottom!

backpacking
13 days ago

Tough trail in parts with steeper climbs and downed trees, but worth it for beautiful views of the American River.

Beautiful bridge, and plenty of watering holes around the trail head. The trail head is across shirttail creek and there is some wading involved so bring proper foot wear. The trail itself is not used regularly so there are lots of fallen branches and tall grass hanging over the trail which is prime real estate for ticks.. so..

Beware! The “Tick Infestation” signs need to be taken seriously! Especially if visiting during the spring/summer months. Even with all my precautions I ended up plucking off a dozen or so from myself and my dog before they could burrow in. If you bring your pets recommend you think about getting any tick prevention medications but still do your due diligence to thoroughly tick check your dog and yourself!!

I will be back, but most likely to enjoy the watering holes and views from the bridge.

Beautiful view of the water awaits you at the turn around point of this out and back trail. You can walk along the waters edge to the
South and connect with the Emigrant Trail to make this a large loop.

hiking
16 days ago

Nice walk up to the first snowfields, but had trouble finding the trail. Trust the footprints in the snow to keep you on track. Got as far as the first lake, but the snow started to get rotten and we turned back to avoid post holing. Only saw a couple other hikers.

great family hike we all had a fantastic time outstanding views

Fantastic easy hike! I agree with other reviews. Muddy meadow early in the season, great for dogs who love the water. Listed as a loop, but we didn’t see where the loop went after the lake, so we made it an out-and-back. Also, the description here says that dogs must be leashed, but I didn’t see any signs saying this, so watch out for off-leash dogs. (Most) everyone we encountered with dogs were nice enough to leash their dog when they saw us.

Great time to hike this trail. Limited muddy areas. Wildflowers are just starting.

Beautiful. Lots to see but couldn’t cross the “creek” to continue through this trail. Very unpassable 2-3 weeks ago. Parked near the bridge and explored along the road and took many photos next to all the waterfalls we found ! Will come back sometime in the fall and hopefully can cross the creek then !

hiking
25 days ago

mostly downhill on the way there. but then it's almost all uphill the way back :/ perfect for dogs!! we loved it!!

hiking
27 days ago

Beautiful spring hike. Lots of wildflowers. Amazing views of the American River. Wildlife sightings such as hawks snakes and lizard. Moderate to difficult hike but well worth it. Downhill first and uphill second. Wear good boots that are waterproof because there are small water crossings. Only thing is to be careful because there is LOTS of poison oak and the trail can be narrow.

hiking
28 days ago

Absolutely amazing hike. Beautiful scenery throughout the hike. Now is the time to go, the weather is perfect and wild flowers are blooming everywhere. Its not too difficult but it is up hill pretty much the entire way back. And be warned, there is poison oak EVERYWHERE, where pants .

hiking
28 days ago

This was such a good fun hike I highly recommended getting there as early as possible we got there at 6:50am and were literally the first ones on the trial so it was so nice and beautiful such great views I have a huge fear of heights but didn’t think it was too bad it’s a breeze going down hill but on the way back I hope u guys dont skip leg day it’s a little work out I’ve hiked worse but overall I had a blast

hiking
29 days ago

Beautiful short hike. Easy if you’re in good shape. If you’re not I would suggest you not try going all the way down, stop at the waterfall enjoy the view and slowly make your way back up . Lots of poison oak on this trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike along the American river. The trail start as an easy down hill and slowly become an easy switch-back all the way to the cliff along the river. Great time to go during the spring (flowers).One down side is that their is little shade when you finally get to the river. Overall great hike.
P.S depending on which trail you take back you might find that one route is much more difficult then the other. I’ll let you find that out yourself!

hiking
1 month ago

I love this early season hike. Very easy. Trail was muddy in spots due to early season. The meadows are very muddy. But beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

Breathtaking !!! My fave place soo far.

backpacking
1 month ago

I did this as a solo overnight backpacking trip to test new gear for an upcoming long distance trip (JMT) in the summer. 2800 up and 1200 down on day 1, 1600 up and 3300 down on day 2 (including side trip on Fiddle Creek Ridge Trail). On this April day, I started encountering snow around 4000 and found significant coverage at 4300.

Trail started at Highway 49 rising 1500 feet up over several switchbacks to the top Fiddle Creek Ridge. From there one can get a view of the surrounding mountains. Continuing on, I went 500 foot down to Fiddle Creek. There is no bridge here, and early spring runoff prevented any rock hopping. I crossed in my water shoes with no issues, about 18 inches deep. Next, up the hill 700 feet to about the 4300 foot elevation. Started to see snow, but after a short level section the trail went down again 600 feet to Little Fiddle Creek and another creek crossing (shorter crossing but slightly deeper). Then up again 600 feet to the snowline, which was encountered right after the single track trail transitioned to fire road. I did not want to trudge through the snow, so I found a camp spot on a section of old fire road, just off the main trail. Next morning I went back the other direction, crossing two creeks and back up to the main ridge. I decided to travel along a couple miles of the Fiddle Creek Ridge trail in order to increase the total mileage of the trip.

What I liked: I enjoyed the lack of people on the trail. A dirt biker passed me on day 1, and didn't see anyone else until noon the next day when I crossed paths with a small group of day hikers.

Things I didn't like: There were a few vistas but overall less scenery than some of the higher Sierra trails. Also a lack of suitable camping locations. I didn't find anything easily accessible by the creeks. The best spot was on a ridge at 4100 feet near the end of the trail, and was not near any water.

This trail would be suitable for an early season trip when the higher elevations are still snowed in.

DONT TAKE IOWA HILL RD FROM COLFAX TO GET THERE!!!
Great loop, but the back side of the trail from the dam to the day use area has alot of fallen trees and debris on alot of the trail. about 1/4 mile in from the dam a huge fallen tree has taken out almost all of the trail. After that though pretty smooth sailing. Park at the boat launch and take trail to the right all paved for about a mile and a half good out and back if you dont want to do the whole loop.
Over all great trail, would recommend and do it again.

hiking
1 month ago

We have done this hike many times and again today 4-23-18. The wildflowers are in full bloom. We had lunch at the river at 4.08 miles on my Garman. I'm not sure why all the write ups say 9 miles. I've run my GPS several times and it shows just under 4 miles at the creek crossing at the river. You would have to walk another .5 miles along the river boulders to make it 9 miles out and back. We were off the trail before 2:00 pm which I am grateful for as the weather was getting hotter. I suggest an early departure in the warmer months. We did the bike loop and came up the fire road which added a little distance. We measured 8.29 miles at about 1350' gain. It was a great hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail! Pretty scenery throughout!

Super easy hike. The driving directions to the trailhead are wrong the actual trail head is right off of Highway 89. Beautiful wildflowers a little bit muddy

Definitely take I80 to the Foresthill exit- longer ride but much more relaxing. We walked the entire lake and it’s almost 5 miles (not the 3.5 that we were expecting). The trail starts at the bottom on the boat ramp. The unpaved trail still needs a lot of tree removal and trail repair. Stay on the paved trail and go in/out unless you want adventure! Very beautiful and quiet.

hiking
1 month ago

beautiful trail. not moderate in my opinion but that is because the elevation change. really a stretch for the return trip, all up hill

Went on an overnight out and back backpacking trip, camping about 7 miles in, near a creek crossing on Deadwood Ridge. The trail was definitely challenging but had no other redeeming qualities, other than a nice creek to rest at early on the trail. The trail is well shaded, but because of that there are few opportunities for good views. The trail was well graded and appreciated at first, but I found it to be monotonous after crossing El Dorado Creek, relentlessly marching up the side of the mountain. In addition, the trail going up towards the ridge was very narrow. There were few places to take a break. On the ridge, there were few good places to camp. I would not recommend the place I camped (creek crossing along ridge), I was running out of daylight. If I had more time I would have backed up a half mile and camped at the water pump. If you want to camp closer to the trailhead, there is at least one good spot (probably more) along El Dorado Creek.

I did not encounter any bears on my trip. That was a good thing because I forgot to put all my food in the bear canister. The food was not touched.

Some folks have mentioned parking issues but I had no problems parking at the end of the pavement, about 0.2 mile before the trailhead.

This trail is best for trail runners. Lots of elevation change and consistent grades. If I was trail running I would rate it 4 stars. I would not recommend for backpacking except as an early season shake-out.

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