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Cronan Ranch West Ridge Trail via Gerle Loop

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Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park

Cronan Ranch West Ridge Trail via Gerle Loop is a 12.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Lotus, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, horses, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Length 12.3 mi Elevation gain 1,830 ft Route type Loop

Dog friendly

Kid friendly

Hiking

Horseback riding

Mountain biking

Running

River

Description
Waypoints (0)

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.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (128)
Photos (521)
Recordings (93)
Completed (325)
Sarah Britton
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Hiking

I love any combos of these trails. June 25th: There’s a large tree down toward the apex of Gerle Loop, furthest away from parking lots, on the south side of the Loop just a few hundred yards from the intersection with the Connector Trail. The tree completely blocks the trail, and to get around it you must duck between branches and scramble through some poison oak. Take care out there!

Gabbie Collier
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HikingClosedOver grown

Beautiful place to hike with great views of Cronan Ranch. It start with a steep uphill but leads to a gorgeous view. Noticed that some plants were starting to overgrow along the ridge.

Lucius Silva
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Mountain bikingNo shadeRockyScramble

I had an absolute blast, pretty rocky for a hardtail but if you’re an experienced/intermediate rider it’s no problem.

View Lucius's Recording
Christal Potter-Tosch
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Hiking

Good trail. About 1.8 miles longer than it says on the app due to trail redirections. Lots of steep hills.

View Christal's Recording
Cindy Caverly
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Hiking

Best to hike this winter months, we had fantastic weather, we walked more like 7 miles, you can take different parts of different loops. Lots of elevation, very doable, very scenic on the river and toward the top-of the loop.

Diane Young
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Hiking

I have hiked here before where it was mostly flat, we went a route yesterday that was up and down with lots of shade. It was quite muddy though. We didn’t see the house, but went down to the river. 6.5 miles with gradual hills both ways!

Mark Spicer
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Mountain bikingMuddy

really nice area. trails are mostly pretty high above the river but there are access trails to the river at various points.

Desirai Jang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 11, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful view and open hike. We went early before the crowd and it was definitely worth it. Such a great trail for families and kids. Our dog loved the open space. Once down to the river it was a great view. There are picnic tables as well near one part of the river which was nice to relax at. Definitely a must

Megan Soracco
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Hiking

No shade the route we took. Wasn’t even a hot day but like if shade made it no fun. Good for kids if it’s not hot out!!

Josh Ruzic
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Running

Amazing run! I ended up having to take the Down and up trail back because of a mountain bike race. Great for a run some technical parts. Great way to get in shape for my Spartan Beast race. Highly recommended. Especially if you swing by the river at the end and take a quick dip. River to full for a swim.

Grace Yvonne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 18, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful! Lots of trail options on where to go, and you can connect to the greater south fork trail. Nice for a casual stroll or for a hilly workout! My dog loved playing in the water, just make sure you check for ticks after! I was there about a month ago and it was rolling green all around. Not a ton of shade though, I wouldn't go in full summer without planning for a HOT hike.

Jeff Caponera
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Hiking

I went in mid April, everything is lush and in bloom after the rains. I Loved this hike and the trail as a whole. I took a different route only because I wanted to see the movie set shack. I picked up the trail just beyond the old shack. Beautiful views on the way down, great workout. Make sure to bring plenty of water. I missed the turn on the bottom and went a half mile beyond the cesspool. However, I quickly figured it out and went back. There is no trail to get to the water so you need to walk over large rocks. The hike back up is no joke and it is a long one so wear comfy shoes. I will do this again!

Jeff Caponera
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Hiking

I found this gem at this last minute when looking for a new trail to hike. I fell in love with this place, truly amazing!

Amy S
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Hiking

Beautiful! Some spots easier than others, but in all loved it.

View Amy's Recording
Katherine C
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Great hike!

Tessa Turner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 16, 2018
Hiking

Very little shade 90% of the way. The lower valley trail is so much nicer than the new upper loop. It’s easy to get lost on the way back as it’s not clearly marked- you can follow the trail one way and turn it into a 15 mile hike instead of turning around and going back to the trailhead. There are some neat features like an abandon movie set and a nice picnic area where the American River is. We saw a lot of people rafting which was entertaining. River much too fast to swim anywhere near there.

Rachelle Ann Castro
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 2, 2018
Hiking

We parked at the Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park. Free parking - Yaye! We did the whole 12mi hike - it was definitely an intermediate hike. We started at the West Ridge Trail and took West Ravine Trail on the way back (easier path). Beware: No shade!!! (We run out of water because it was just so hot today -9/1/18. I should’ve brought more water.) We saw a lot of horse poop and a baby snake. The West Ridge Trail leads you to a river where you can see Satan’s Cesspool. There’s no shade there too, so it was difficult for my group to eat together. Overall, it’s a decent hike. I think this is a great trail for spring time.

Naomi Devine
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Hiking

Really enjoyed this hike. Lots of variations in terrain and options for trails. A beautiful breeze coming off the river almost the whole hike. It gets really hot and a lot of the trail is not shaded - so even if you get an early start it is probably better for a fall/winter hike. Bring plenty of water. Lots of poison oak in parts. Trail is also used by horses and mountain bikers so you need to be on the lookout.

Khrista R.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 16, 2018
Mountain biking

I’d definitely do this trail again. I’m a novice at mountain biking so some of the climbs were difficult for me - ended up hiking up some climbs. I’d definitely go back! Maybe during rattlesnake hibernation season.

Dustin Zierold
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Hiking

Excellent spring hike. The trail end at the river is a great place to picnic and recharge. Very clean, hikers were of all ages: dogs and horses too!!

bilbo baggins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 28, 2018
Hiking

Great network of trails out here! I could spend a whole weekend just buzzing to and fro. I noticed a connecting trail that will take you to Folsom Lake... very excited to try that out soon!

Guy Nichols
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Hiking

Nice trail, hit it early! Gets pretty hot in the afternoon.

Kathy L.
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Best place to hike in winter, spring and fall. Too hot in summer

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

April Alvarez-Carpenter
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Hiking

Great place for a family hike!

Carolynne Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 27, 2017
Hiking

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.

James Jarome
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 2, 2017
Hiking

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.

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