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 gain1240 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashKid friendlyBackpackingHikingHorseback ridingMountain bikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingrunningCaveForestRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeFee
Description
Waypoints (11)
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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 (469)
Photos (638)
Recordings (414)
Completed (1128)
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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.

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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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Tony Whetstone
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Hiking
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CK Mackie
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Hiking
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Janet Lee
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Hiking
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Christine Osterman
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Hiking

Too shady in winter, brrr. . . rocky road hard on dog paws, and TICKS are ABUNDANT here! We picked at least 8 off our dog!

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Mike Chandler
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RunningGreat!

Good trail for running. Moderate climbing but not too tough. Nice wide trail. Pretty views hills surrounding the river canyon.

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Jorg Kope
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Hiking

Perfect jogging or mountain bike trail. As far as hiking and experiencing solitude in nature, this isn’t the trail. The first 4 miles are basically a gravel road, after that you’ll experience an actual trail. Scenery is awesome , just too many people.

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Melissa Maly
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Hiking

Perfect day for a hike. Our goal was to get to the quarry but we passed it. So if that’s where you’re going, look for the sign that says “climbing trail”.

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Bill Thompson
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Hiking

Pleasant hike, although mostly on a gravel road. Not topographicly challenging. Recommend fall through spring.

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Judy Benson
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Ying-Ying Hsu
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Kristine Csicsery
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HikingFee

Good trail, easy parking ($10 or poppy pass), lots of restrooms. We didn’t see any animals but lots of signs about them. Really enjoyed seeing the history of the quarry along the trail. I took a few first-timers on this hike and they loved it!

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Connor Griffith
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RunningGreat!

Beautiful trail, easy to navigate and a fun time

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William Sheean
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Hiking

Bears on the Trail beware

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Sunny Le
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Hiking

Eh

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J O
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Hiking

There was a sign posted about a 1/2 mile from the end of the trail that warned of an agressive animal in the area.

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Brittney Bernal
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Hiking

Beautiful trail along the river with a lot of fall foliage right now. Wide trail and dog friendly, definitely will be back!

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Edgar A
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Walking
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Nancy Leone
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Hiking

Lovely, challenging trail

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William Sheean
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Hiking

Dry Dry Dry

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Eric Hamer
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Mountain bikingGreat!

The trails up into the quarry area are fantastic. Very interesting with lots of history. It was also fun to ride over to the base of the Foresthill Bridge supports.

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Matt Boyle
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Hiking
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phoungmala ros
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Hiking

This trail was one of my favorite. Beautiful walk. I love the landmarks and all the tables for resting! A perfect place for picnicking. A plus on all the restroom along the way.

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Matt Boyle
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Hiking
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Ted Nishio
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Hiking

Views of the river were along the whole trail, which is exceptional. Enjoyable sloping inclines on this mostly flat and wide trail. During my Thursday a.m. hike only saw 3 other hikers and 2 deers. However on the return portion, 1 mile before the closed Hawver quarry cave, in an open area, spotted a Black Bear on it's hindquarters just staring at me. I hadn't used my 2 hiking poles all day, but I whipped them out and fully extended each, and waved them above my head, at the bear 30 yards away. Down the trail, paranoid I kept looking back to make certain the bear had not changed it's mind about me. Later, I told an approaching hiker of my sighting. He must be a regular there, said there are two known bears with two cubs each that frequent the area, being drawn to fig trees. They've never been a problem to hikers, glad I was not the first exception, haha, ha.

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Henk DeGraaf
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Hiking
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Judy Benson
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HikingFeeGreat!
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