Cronan Ranch West Ridge Trail

MODERATE 51 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
1719 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
10 days ago

hiking
10 days 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.

hiking
23 days ago

hiking
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

geocaching
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

5 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.

hiking
5 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.

mountain biking
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

hiking
7 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.

7 months ago

8 months ago

8 months ago