Cronan Ranch West Ridge Trail is a 12.3 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
12.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,830 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

trail running

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.

1 month ago

Great hike!

hiking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

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 was a lot of horse poop and a baby snake.

The West Ridge Trail leads you to the 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.

hiking
3 months ago

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.

mountain biking
5 months ago

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.

hiking
6 months ago

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!!

hiking
6 months ago

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!

hiking
7 months ago

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

7 months ago

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

9 months ago

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

hiking
9 months ago

Great place for a family hike!

hiking
10 months 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.

hiking
11 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.

hiking
Thursday, November 02, 2017

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
Sunday, July 30, 2017

Friday, July 07, 2017

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
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

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.

hiking
Wednesday, May 03, 2017

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.

hiking
Wednesday, March 08, 2017

hiking
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.

hiking
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

hiking
Sunday, July 10, 2016

Love it

hiking
Sunday, April 24, 2016

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

hiking
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!!!

hiking
Monday, January 13, 2014

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

hiking
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.

hiking
1 month ago

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