Cronan Ranch West Ridge Trail

MODERATE 39 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.

DISTANCE
12.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2230 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

mountain biking

trail running

horseback riding

river

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.

hiking
11 days 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.

mountain biking
29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month 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.

1 month ago

2 months ago

3 months ago

3 months ago

trail running
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

backpacking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

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.

hiking
5 months ago

Will return :)

6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

mountain biking
8 months ago