Cronan Ranch West Ridge Trail

MODERATE 68 reviews

Cronan Ranch West Ridge Trail is a 12.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Lotus, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, horses, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

12.7 miles
1719 feet

dog friendly

kid friendly


horseback riding

mountain biking

trail running


To reach the trailhead drive about 10 miles east of Auburn on State Route 49 to Pedro Hill Road. The Park contains about 12 miles of trails. Seven main trails converge near this parking area. The West Ridge Trail leaves the parking area at around 900 ft elevation, climbs 300 feet then descends 600 feet to the river. This regional park is largely open grassland and rolling hills dotted with clumps of oak forest. There are some great views looking down at a white water stretch of the South Fork American River that is popular with river rafters in the summer. Hiker awareness is important for those who have known the miseries of poison oak rash. In some areas the stuff seems to thrive out in the open in great thicket besides the trail. Down near the river the trail passes into a shady forest, winds in and out of a ravine, crosses a creek and passes a bench containing the remnant of an old mining operation. Wildflowers are more abundant in this forested area. At that point you will turn around and backtrack uphill to place where several trails converge, the Long Valley Trail, the Cronan Ranch Road, and connecting laterals that lead to the river and other trails. It is also the site of a former motion picture set containing a ranch house, a corral, and a chicken coop all in need of restoration. You will return via the Long Valley Trail through an area where oak restoration work is in progress. Each oak sprig, protected by a three or four inch piece of tubing and a square of black mesh to keep critters from feasting on tender leaves and, no doubt, for other reasons not so apparent, is watered periodically by the restoration gang until the small plants get established.

14 days ago

done this hike often with dog. great hike only issue is not a lot of shade so extreamly hot in summer.

19 days ago

Great place for a family hike!

1 month ago

Fabulous trail. Beautiful varied terrain that ranges from flat meadow lands, to rolling hills, to a spectacular view. Grades are not too steep. A lovely hike for fall/winter/spring, but I imagine it would be very hot in the summer.

2 months ago

Great day hike. Trails are well maintained and easy to follow. Lots of options to explore. A beautiful mixture of oak and pine forest, rolling foothills, and the American River.

3 months ago

Great hike. Many trails to select from. Trails are well maintained. We took the Up and Down trail and ended up at the American River. Weather was perfect for hiking, but might think twice if the temps were over 85..not many trees to protect from sun.

6 months ago

7 months ago

My dad was able to do this trail a few years back and he has a very bad back. I have gone here many times and I have always loved hiking it.

8 months ago

A very nice, leisurely hike past sheep, a old movie set, and down to the river. I'm glad it was overcast the day I went. You'll want a hat and carry drinking water as we get more into Summer.

9 months ago

So beautiful! Expansive views of rolling hills, very green right now because of the recent rain. There is some poison oak along the west ridge, which of course my dog ran straight into, but on the whole the trail was a delight, not too strenuous, and led us to a beautiful spot along the river. My husband, an Eagle Scout, said it was one of his favorite hikes of all time, because it was just so beautiful the whole way.

11 months ago

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Wide trail. Lots of horseback riders. Lots of up and downhill. My 12 yr old son and I went in January while it was cool outside and it was fine. I cannot imagine this hike during full sun, 65 degrees or warmer. Almost zero shade. Very open valley. The river is at about the halfway point. We did 4.44 mile loop.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Will return :)

Monday, September 05, 2016

Moderate to difficult depending on what direction via mountain bike. Leaving from Skunk Canyon lot starts out all uphill for approx two miles.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

I hated this one. dusty and just not my cup of tea

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Love it

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Beautiful area. We were still able to run, hike, bike and enjoy the sights at once.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Good trail for the spring or fall months when it's not too hot. There are very few trees for cover but it was a fun hike. There are quite a few ups and downs; however, they are not to strenuous. You can take high, middle or low paths. The paths are mostly dirt and mostly wide enough for side by side walking.

We brought our dogs and really liked it. Even the little one...12lbs...could make the entire trip. A couple of bad things...There was a lot of horse poo and the parking lot wasn't big enough.

mountain biking
Sunday, May 10, 2015

Fun short ride! Fast downhill! Awesome old movie set buildings at midpoint. Go early!!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

This is a nice hike to do with family. Easy trail and loops around. Not for the adventurous types

Monday, May 13, 2013

A great trail but can't stress enough that you are fully exposed to elements basically the entire hike. Bring lots of water. Well marked and side trails that will take you to the river. Brought my 8 & 7 year old. One had a blast and one didn't until a nice man let her sit on his horse for a few minutes which made her day. Our dog had a great time.

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