American Canyon Trail Loop

HARD 95 reviews

American Canyon Trail Loop is a 6.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Cool, California that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, birding, and horses and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1391 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

over grown

washed out

hiking
3 days ago

Nice walk in the woods, along canyons and waterfalls.

27 days ago

Well maintained trail that is great for dogs- downhill on the way in and uphill on the way out.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike, pretty well marked (had to double back only once). Recommend going counter clockwise to avoid an early steep decent. No poison oak (perhaps due to the season). Not very good distant views but great trail scenery especially with the deciduous foliage. Saw 3 California newts...very cute.

hiking
2 months ago

The perfect day hike. Beautiful and changing scenery. The trail is almost entirely covered by oak and pine canopy. Use the All Trails app or a map for the first time because there are lots of additional trails that meander from the main route. Take the loop counter clockwise if you want to minimize steep uphill climbs. The entire loop took me about five hours at a casual pace with a few scenic detours along the way.

hiking
4 months ago

Easy way down! It was our first time so we just tried to find a nice area of water at the end. We hiked with our 3 year old she loved it and put her into our hiking backpack. We made it to the beautiful little water fall and swimming hole it was so worth it! Hiking back to the car was hard but it was a great trip we will go again!

5 months ago

If you follow the main trail and take the trail with the distance of 1.0 miles/1.3 miles and go straight past a couple of creeks you will get to a point where you can hike down a steep trail to the left that isn't labeled. There is an awesome little swimming hole with a waterfall! Super secluded and beautiful.

5 months ago

If you follow the main trail and take the trail with the distance of 1.0 miles/1.3 miles and go straight past a couple of creeks you will get to a point where you can hike down a steep trail to the left that isn't labeled. There is an awesome little swimming hole with a waterfall! Super secluded and beautiful.

5 months ago

great hike if you like solitude and a challenge. we didn't see a single hiker the entire time. leave early before it gets hot in the summer time. Wear long pants and long sleeves. Parts of the trail are overgrown and have poison oak covering it. Had a tick land on me so bring bug spray! Main Bar road is very rugged, narrow and overgrown. I highly reccomending going left at the first fork on the trail so you don't have to hike uphill on Main Bar. Come prepared to this one guys.

hiking
6 months ago

Started hiking late at 11am on 7/10/17. It was over 100 degrees but thankfully most of this trail is in the shade. There is a waterfall and swimming hole but it's off the beaten path. It's just off waterfall trail heading towards the American River (close to dead truck trailhead). You can hear the falls, there is a steep rock washout that you follow down to the secluded hole. I really enjoyed this hike. Only negative for me was the poison oak. No crazy scenic views but dense forest that protects you from the heat. Lots of deer.

hiking
6 months ago

Only a few parking spots at trailhead and they are a little iffy, so I parked across the street on the side. I went counter-clockwise. I think this is the better way to go, in my opinion, because it is less steep going down. You cross several creeks on the way down but none were difficult. There are some side trails veering off and the signage is decent but a little confusing so it helps to have the app. At the bottom, I went left toward Poverty Bar. You go about 3/4 a mile and get the river. It was very shallow, so no good swimming. The way up is very steep (called "Maine Bar", if I remember correctly) but only for about a mile. After that it levels off for a mile or two before you get back to where the main fork is to go back the parking lot. The whole trail is very shady, with the sunniest spots at the bottom. There are very, very few people on the trail. I went on a Sunday and only saw a single hiker, a pair of hikers, and a pair on horseback. (Oh yeah, the trail is not the smoothest and there is a lot of horse shit on it.) On the way back up, I also saw a memorial bench to a hiker who had been killed by a mountain lion. This made me rather jumpy every time I saw a deer, and there were several deer. Bottom line: this is a good hike if you want solitude and some challenging inclines and don't like to hike in the sun. There were not great views, however, and no good swimming places.

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful hike. Still very green. Go early. Lots of poison oak. The climb through the canyon is very steep, and narrow.

hiking
7 months ago

There's a SHIT ton of poison Oak right now, so if you're not covered head to toe I suggest you do. Also, the first mile is completely downhill so it's a #%$@!? Going back up.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike. Started early and saw lots of deer and squirrels. Limited parking at the trail head, only three spots. We parked on the street right by the trailhead. I recommend going clockwise around the loop because it is less steep.

hiking
8 months ago

Did this on Mothers Day. Enjoyed how lightly trafficked this trail was. In over 8miles we saw 7 people. Glad we chose the direction we did avoid climbing up the steep portion. Beware there is a ton of poison oak. I would suggest to wear long pants. I didn't but worked hard to dodge all the growth. Some parts of the trail was narrow too. Be prepared with bug spray, sunglasses, hat and plenty of water and snacks.
The trails on this app lead us off track a few times. Switching back and forth to the satellite view helped. Overall, great hike. Definitely on the more challenging side.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike. Nice trail. Interesting scenery and creeks to cross. But the poison oak..,

hiking
8 months ago

This is a hard trail but so pretty lots to see. Many other trails branch off this one and all of them well marked plenty of cover from the sun. Very steep up hill and down hill elevation changes. Take this trail counter clockwise I think it will be an easier hike. Along the Middle Fork A.R. there is plenty of beach and pools to swim in (also up the water fall). Newts are every where be careful not to step on them!

9 months ago

Difficult trail because of the slippery/muddy terrain. Definitely gives you a good workout! Beautiful scenery, water falls, lush greens, butterflies, wild flowers... enjoyable hike! My only complaint is the lack of trail signs. I don't think we would've figured it out without using the All Trails app. Perhaps it was because of blocked paths from the recent storms.

hiking
9 months ago

A lot of trail options with good signs. The trail is mostly shaded and there are a lot of beautiful creeks along the way. Watch out for poison oak but regardless it's worth your time. If you're looking for a good incline, this is the place. Look for the Orange belly newts in the creeks. They are all over the place!

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked the loop as shown (counter clockwise) with my husband and 9 year old daughter. Nice easy downhill, took the poverty bar trail which was an easy .5 mile hike off the main trail to the river. It's very rocky and the water was rushing hard however we were able to find a small pool of water to dip our feet. It was definitely worth the detour. Once we were back on the main trail it got a little confusing where the loop continued. We were able to figure out where we were only by using this app and it definitely was a steep incline, it even stated on the sign "steep" . It was about a mile straight up and the trail was pretty beat up by the water run off caused by recent storms. Once we were up the steep hill we were able to find a little river crossing to have lunch and there were lots of salamanders and places to dip your feet in the creek. We finished the rest of the trail using the Robie trail heading back towards the third gate, which also got a little confusing finding and relied on the app to get us back on track, the rest of the hike was a nice easy flat hike until the last hill back up to the car. Overall it was a very nice hike however without my phone we would have made wrong turns because of the lack of signage for this particular loop.

hiking
9 months ago

Went in late March right after a rain storm so there was a lot of water crossings that either might not be there in the summer or much easier to cross. Overall great scenery with some good challenging uphill climbs. Beware that the steep uphill section has become eroded from rain flowing down it which makes it more challenging to climb without very good footing. Because of the high creeks we did have to take our shoes off and walk across the creek (no rocks to jump between) but it turned out to be refreshing. I would not recommend this hike to any first timers but if you've done a few hikes with decent elevation gain and distance you won't find it too hard.

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