Middle Fork American River Quarry Trail

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Auburn State Recreation Area

Middle Fork American River Quarry Trail is a 10.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Auburn, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length10.8 miElevation gain1,240 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashKid friendlyBackpackingHikingHorseback ridingMountain bikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingRunningCaveForestRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeFee
Description
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Walk along the river where the historic railway once traveled and end up at a stunning amphitheater of carved limestone This great hike along the Middle Fork of the American River ends in a spectacular amphitheater of sheer limestone walls rising around you. Enjoy the natural beauty of the American river canyon and also pass by an enormous cave that was the site of both paleontologic excavations and more mining activities. Learn about the plants and animals present today in the canyon environment as well as the mining history of the region. The trail is wide and smooth (some people even push baby strollers on it) and is mostly level in grade with the exception of the last bit up to the quarry. The trail follows the path of the old railway that was used to carry out the limestone. When it existed, the railway had standard gauge sized tracks and the cars were actually backed down the path 4 times daily to be filled with limestone and taken 7 miles to Auburn for cement production. In 1942 the railroad tracks were taken out for scrap iron for WWII. The state charges a day-use fee for every car parked in the parking area. This mixture of dirt road and singletrack trail is not always clearly marked, especially as it passes through the old quarry. Trail is great year-round but April -June is best for wildflowers.

Auburn State Recreation Area homepage http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=502 Protect American River Canyons http://www.parc-auburn.org/

You can view a display of fossils from the Hawver Cave, including a replica of a saber tooth tiger skull, at the Placer County Courthouse Museum in nearby Auburn.

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Reviews (521)
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Activities (476)
Completed (1,245)
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Jason Gilmore
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HikingGreat!

Nice trail in the beginning but as you continue the trail starts to gain tons of elevation. Rough on the calf muscles but feels oh so good. The river meanders near the trail on the whole hike with it's rapids, boulders and sounds of rushing water. Seen lots of deer, hawks, frogs and turkey vultures. Ended up wandering up a side trail midway through and ended up above the canyon in a deeply forested area. Felt like I was way up in the mountains all alone and enjoying it. Found a stream with baby waterfalls, ferns and green moss on the rocks. Little reddish newts were crawling around everywhere and I almost stepped on one! Kept following the trail down to the end of the main trail and regretfully came back to civilization.

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deanna duran
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easy, kid friendly

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Jessica Johnson
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Hiking

Nice and wide, easy to physically distance.

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Marcy B!
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HikingGreat!

The trail could not have been more beautiful today! Though the wildflowers were sparse, there were enough blooms to make lots of “oooh’s and aaah’s”. Climbs were moderate ... none were excessively steep (though there is over 1300’ elev gain). Some rocky areas & ankle busters. Encountered seasonal creek crossings but only required 2 or 3 hops to get over. Our lunch spot had an incredible 360° view that went for miles.

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Jefferey Roskelley
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Hiking
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Johanna Brannon
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HikingFeeGreat!

Well maintained trail. Note that there was quite a lot of variance in temperature on this walk as others have noted. We hiked in the afternoon and there was a lot shade, but certain sunny stretches were hot and other stretches were quite windy. Dress in layers. We especially enjoyed the parts of the trail that hugged close to the river as it was entertaining to watch the water flow. We spotted common mergansers and shooting stars. Many other flowers are starting to bloom that we couldn't identify just yet. My husband enjoyed the thorough information board about the previous mining operation at the main picnic area.

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Johnny Rodriguez
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HikingGreat!

Trail starts of simple but don’t be alarmed... it doesn’t stay that way. Plenty of hills to climb up and down. Plenty of opportunities for some gorgeous photos. And if you walk long enough you will be feeling it on the way out. Fantastic trail to start our hiking season. And dress warm if you’re going in the early spring it is COLD out there

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Mary Lou Fairweather
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Michael Frazier
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Hiking

gravel road, ehh

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Backcountry Pilgrim
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Hiking

Climbing routes closed until further notice but trails open!

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David Webb
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Meaghan Robinson
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Hiking

Hike not recorded but want to save hike. We loved this trail! It was beautiful and easy. The bridge and river was up and to the left of the trail. Kept it short at 3 miles rt. C loved it also and got to say hello to many of the hikers.

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Sandra Rang
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HikingMuddy

Good trail, very few river access points, very few people on this trail.

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Sachiko Mayeda
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HikingBugsMuddy

Too easy to get lost. This trail wasn’t as bad as the other ones connected to it but the signs are terrible! 3 other people yesterday got lost on the trail too. Rescue had to come and still couldn’t find one of the people. Apparently people get lost on these trails over here a lot.

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Marcy B!
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HikingFeeGreat!Muddy

Great trail ... lots of mud and puddles and a few stream crossings due to recent rains tut nothing that squashed the fun!

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Chrystal Bernasconi
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Marcy B!
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Hiking

Due to recent rains, today’s recording had 3 (6rt) stream crossings, 1 (2rt) flooded trail, a multitude of puddles to detour around, and gooshy slippery mud in the wet areas BUT that added to the fun and adventure! I was quite thankful for my trekking poles! There were MANY BEAUTIFUL waterfalls ... too numerous to remember the count. A couple of them were roaring which was quite a lovely sound to my ears. Outhouses available at mile 0.3 downhill from the parking area and at mile 1.3 which is a great historical information area. Maine Bar has a picnic table.

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Brittney Beard
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Hiking

Dog almost attacked it was not on a leash. Trails were marked at all. It was beautiful

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Joseph Hufnagel l
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Rachel Bluth
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Amy Dale
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Machan F.
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Adam Alvarez
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Steve Davis
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HikingGreat!

I hiked this trail with a friend earlier today, January 16, on a relatively warm January day when high temperatures reached the 60s. This is a really nice and recommended hike because it's scenic the entire way, and it's not too hard. The first part on the gravel road is quite easy, and then it shifts to a mildly up and own hike that never gets too far from or above the Middle Fork of the American River, which is always scenic and pretty. The hike is on the south side of the American River, near the bottom of a deep and steep-sided river canyon, which means that in winter you are in the shade most of the time. The south side has its own microclimate. The south side is damp and shady and the foliage is lush and thick. When you look across the river you can see it's much less dense and damp on the north side, which faces south, and therefore gets much more sun in the winter. Temperature shifts were dramatic. In the shade it could be quite cold, but when you turned the corner and got into the sun it could warm dramatically in an instant. I tolerate cold well, but if you do not, be prepared. The temperature is colder than what sites like weather.com will tell you it's going to be. Dress accordingly. I wore shorts and short sleeve shirt and was fine, but I think many would be uncomfortable if not dressed more warmly. There are some interesting relics of the mining that took place along the way. There are some places to get off the trail and wander to the river. We did that and found it worthwhile. The river varies a lot over this stretch -- there are patches of mild rapids and many areas of calm. It looked like a good place to come back to in the summer and explore at greater length. This is a great winter hike in the area when you can't get up into the higher mountains because of the snow. Parking was a pain. Show up early. I showed up at 11 am and the parking lot was full so I had to park half a mile away at the confluence.

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Ruth Hinds
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Hiking

The first mile or so to the picnic area is really flat and easy. Past that was steep. We loved the big rock cliffs of the climbing area. Edit: Realized after the hike that my car and other lady's were broken into (without breaking windows) while we were hiking. They took credit cards and cash. But they were really sneaky about it and returned the purses where they were hidden in the cars.

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Bea Toth
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HikingGreat!

Beautiful. Very cold. Clean restrooms at beginning of the trail. Well defined, very wide trail on gravel for most of the hike before getting in to some mud and narrower trails. Beautiful river views. Sooo much history! It was nice trail. We walked out about 5 miles before turning back. I’d download the copy of the map if you’re gonna go out there and have a specific trail in mind. My phone didn’t get service a few miles in and I noticed the trails weren’t marked with signposts (after the climbing area sign). Also, if you bring your dog, don’t leave their poop bags all over the trail. It’s disgusting and rude. Remember if you pack it in, you need to pack it out. We saw many trail runners and cyclists and it looks like an awesome Trail for both! Will definitely be back!

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