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American Canyon Trail Loop

HARD 152 reviews

American Canyon Trail Loop is a 6.4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Cool, California that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,410 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

over grown

rocky

washed out

hiking
muddy
rocky
washed out
19 days ago

hiking
muddy
off trail
over grown
rocky
28 days ago

I would definitely recommend this for the avid hikers out there. When we went today, the majority of the trail path was easily recognizable. Toward the second half of the hike, where we were along water, it was VERY hard to find the path. I would definitely recommend downloading the AllTrails app prior to leaving because even though you may not have 4g, it will still tell you where you are and where the trail is. I believe the trail became difficult to find because the creek was running pretty quickly and also the water level was relatively high. There weren’t any clearly rocks or logs that we could use to walk on across the creek, hence we had to hike off trail in order to find an area we felt was safe to go across. That being said, it was very difficult to navigate around the creek since it created an impasse. Even when we managed to get across, we had to go up a sharp incline and navigate through thorn bushes and dead trees to get to the trail. This part of the trail was very difficult. Obviously if the trials path was clear and there was a way to cross the creek to the other side of where the path continued, this would not have been a problem at all. Overall, this hike was scenic, moderate-difficult and mostly SHADED. So super ideal for hotter weather. The hike gets rocky at times, but nothing that requires anything special like hiking boots or anything. Only thing that would make this hike better is if parks and rec actually maintained it. There were a lot of trees that had fallen and the trails are narrow at times. Additionally, there are multiple trails that connect to this one, so as mentioned prior BE SURE TO DOWNLOAD THE APP IF IT IS YOUR FIRST TIME.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
washed out
1 month ago

A decent little hike. mostly shaded with trees all around. some scenic spots. a little rocky.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

Did this trail yesterday, don’t know what I did that it did not record. But I would come back and do it again. It was muddy only because it had just rained a day before. Creeks over flowing, did cross and all but the last one as it was higher.

hiking
bugs
washed out
2 months ago

Lots of ticks.

hiking
washed out
2 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

It’s a good hike! At times it can be challenging to find the trail, just because you have to cross little creeks, but aside from that it’s really fun and very scenic. Does start in high elevation, then you descend, but at the end you have to ascend again, so if you’re not in good endurance shape or if you have bad knees you may struggle a bit. Over all though, I’d recommend this hike to anyone that hikes a lot and is just looking for another one to try out. Good trail.

hiking
4 months ago

Very enjoyable journey. Saw only one couple on the way out from 3d Gate the whole way. The Maine Bar Trail is quite steep and poorly maintained, but that short struggle is the only downside, unless you do the loop counterclockwise and have to go up it. Took the Dead Truck Trail on the way back, which added a bit of a workout before it levels off. Creeks were very pretty, even with low flows. Lots of shade, so would make a nice summertime hike, with stops along the Middle Fork.

4 months ago

nice views but badly marked
be sure you know where you go

hiking
4 months ago

Definitely a moderate to hard hike. Saw a lot of bear droppings some fresher than others so I would definitely recommend not doing this hike on your own. Phone gps map helped to stay on the correct trail. The posted signs can be a little confusing. Overall, beautiful and worth while. Great workout.

hiking
7 months ago

Definitely a difficult hike, not suitable for kids. Lots of poison oak along side most of the trail so be wary. Gets really rocky at some points and has a really steep point near the end. Saw wildlife along the way which was nice. The path gets very narrow at some points which makes no room for side by side. Overall a tiring hike.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful little trail that was very quiet, with several stream crossings and places to explore off-trail. A hidden gem! Just make sure you watch out for poison oak and ticks - there are a TON of both this time of year.

Also, if you take Dead Truck trail, see if you can find the broken down truck! Be warned though: it's about a half mile of steep upgrade. Nothing impossible to handle, though.

8 months ago

This was a beautiful hike, but much harder than we expected. My book said it was a moderate level, but our group of moms and kids found it difficult. The cool streams were a lovely break. Lots of poison oak in July. Take plenty of water for the uphill hike back.

hiking
9 months ago

This was a beautiful hike but the trail was so confusing at the beginning. We got lost n it took us over 10 miles from start to finish. We were able to find the River n the swimming hole. I would love to go back again but I’m not sure if I’m able to find the river the next I go. It was a good hike overall. We had lots of fun.

I would rate it as moderate not hard.

hiking
10 months ago

The trail is a lot longer than it says. Loved the hike. The trail is very confusing at times. Just get lost in the adventure, you won’t regret it! Just be careful of ticks.

hiking
11 months ago

Really lovely area, nice and shaded on most parts. Only issue was that the route is confusing and it is longer than mentioned here, took about four hours for myself to complete. Saw some super cute salamanders in a stream and some great views of the canyon and river. Great workout as well! Excellent!

trail running
Sunday, February 18, 2018

hiking
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Beautiful walk in the mossy woods. Never did see the waterfall. Only had to backtrack once. Went counter clockwise. Maine Bar trail was extremely steep and even though it was tough going up, I would not want to go down it. Highly recommend this one.

hiking
Thursday, February 01, 2018

Very technical and steep at parts. You’ll want hiking poles and an offline map downloaded. The trail can be hard to track at times and there’s a ton of off shoot trails. Would be an awesome summer hike to take a dip in the river.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Technical, beautiful but a bit muddy.

hiking
Saturday, January 13, 2018

Nice walk in the woods, along canyons and waterfalls.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

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

hiking
Saturday, November 11, 2017

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
Friday, October 20, 2017

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
Sunday, August 20, 2017

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!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

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
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

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
Monday, July 10, 2017

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.

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