Stevens Trail

MODERATE 666 reviews
#1 of 170 trails in

Stevens Trail is a 9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Colfax, 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.

DISTANCE
9.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,735 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

cave

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

no shade

Stevens Trail is very scenic, rich in history and is on the National Register of Historic places. Built by Truman Allen Stevens it was used as a toll road for miners that needed to get from the mining town of Iowa Hill to the railroad town of Colfax. The trail was forgotten but then rediscovered in 1969 but a boy scout, Eric Kiel, and re-charted as part of his scouting project. Today it is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management.

3 days ago

It is a difficult trail coming out but the rewards of the swimming holes at the bottom are worth it!
Just take a lot of water with you and I don’t recommend doing in high temps and much of the trail is uncovered.

14 days ago

18 days ago

great challenging hike with great views.

hiking
27 days ago

This was a very beautiful trail. If you use the map it’s pretty easy to stay on track but you can adventure off if you want to as well. The sun will hit you for most of the hike so be prepared with enough water for everyone. I did this one without my 1.5 year old and I would recommend leaving the babies at home. Dogs had a blast but you’ll want to bring enough water for them too.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing views of river, can be very hot midday and very little shade. The way there is mostly downhill which makes it very arduous coming back. The river is crystal clear and so refreshing and calm to swim in. Encountered 20-30 people in 4 hours.

1 month ago

Beautiful views with a smidge of challenge. Go early and wear a hat.

hiking
1 month ago

River was crystal clear and good for jumping in. The markers are a little confusing. If you see gun shells or the shooting range, you went the wrong way. Got to go early or it's in the 90s with no cover on your way back.

hiking
1 month ago

Really enjoyed this trail! Great scenery with plenty of open clearings to enjoy it. The hike to the swimming spots was absolutely worth it as the water was clear and clean. Shade is limited after the first stretch so sun protection is recommended.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail has some pretty nice scenery. The cave is a must see, down at the end of trail once you reach the river great for pictures the water is crystal clear. make sure to have 2 bottles of water on the way back up the trail. over all hike is beautiful would recommend.

hiking
1 month ago

Downhill out, meaning uphill on the way back. Mostly gradual, with a few steeper sections. Much of the hike is on the side of the mountain with some cliffs so beware if afraid of heights. Nice views of the river. Shaded for about half of the hike. A 10 minute drive past Auburn does provide better scenery IMO.

hiking
1 month ago

take plenty of water, but that's for any hike. It's a quiet hike if you go early enough and there is an area you are able to get into the water for a swim before heading back if you choose. It's a beautiful hike with beautiful views. there's a stretched of shaded area but there's also a stretch with no shade so wear sunblock. be courteous because the trail does get narrow.

2 months ago

Great hike! Just be watchful of bears. We spotted one about 15/20 feet from us while doing the hike not even half way in.

hiking
2 months ago

I loved this hike! Took my boyfriend for his birthday and it was lovely, BUT it was horrible the way back because we did not bring enough water. Please bring more than you think you need!!

hiking
2 months ago

Does anyone know exactly what you are supposed to do when you get to river level? The trail map shows the trail going quite a bit past this point, but I couldn't really find a trail either time. Is it map wrong, are you supposed to climb through the rocks, or is there another trail hidden somewhere?

I did this hike in the early April and again in late July. Great hike both times, but it was definitely better in the spring when there are wildflowers, more water flowing, and it is quite a bit cooler. I started around 7:30 AM both times. Hike down to the river was pretty easy...and I didn't think the hike back was too bad, except for the increase in heat and a few points that were a little strenuous.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail had beautiful views of the river and had it not been for the heat wouldn't have been too hard. Bring plenty of water. Parking is free but the lot is pretty small.

2 months ago

Kinda just went and did it. Wish we had prepared for the hike. Went @halfway to river and headed back. Well be back to finish. Gorgeous landscapes... just when you’ve had enough exposure you’re blessed with shade.

hiking
2 months ago

Very enjoyable. Half shade, half sun.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

On many recommendations, four friends and I took the trail early on a Sunday morning. None of us were super-experienced hikers, but the experience was fantastic. Going early was huge—the return trip was very warm, making the ascent a bit tougher. There’s a slight fork near the river; we went right which was a rocky shortcut to some nice pools and view. As a novice wearing tennis shoes, there were a few spots on the way down that felt tricky, but the return ascent posed almost none; those same spots were much easier to go up than down, even factoring in fatigue. The reviews on here provided excellent advice: we avoided the poison oak, we brought water (though needed more than 32 oz apiece returning in the heat), and sunscreen was crucial for my fairer complexion. I had been afraid of heights since I was a little kid, so there were moments where the openness and elevation did hit me, but I didn’t actually have much trouble—I just focused a lot on the way down. Hikers along the trail were all friendly and patient with our inexperienced group, and I had a memorable time and would love to do it again in the future (wearing boots though).. Happy hiking!

hiking
3 months ago

It was difficult but enjoyable hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Fun hike! Perfect length! Good amount of difficulty, enough that makes for a good workout but not too much where you feel like you need to take a bunch of breaks. Gorgeous views and was pleasantly surprised it led down to the water! I’ll be back!

hiking
3 months ago

It's tough. Downhill almost all the way in to the canyon which can only mean uphill on the return. Use plenty of sunscreen/bring plenty of water/and bring mosquito repellent just in case. Lots of poison oak but fairly easy to avoid if careful.
The cave was very 'cool' both literally and figuratively! And the waterfall and pools of water were awesome! We enjoyed ourselves but turned back after about 2 miles when we got to a really great vista point.
I recommend it for strong uphill hikers!

trail running
3 months ago

My all time favoritest

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail! I would not recommend doing this in 90 degree+. Most on the trail in this heat were miserable. There is a long ridge that is direct Sun most of the day, by far the hottest part. Water makes up for it though. Mosquitos in evening alot of poison oak.

hiking
3 months ago

Great experience to do this hike. It's says 9 miles but it's about 8 on my watch. anyway its not really easy ones specially when it's hot outside This hike with great stunning views of nature. Recommended: start early to avoid hot day weather, have good shoes even boots bcse of plenty of rock areas (we saw people in flipflops I have no words ), drinking water maybe some snack so you can relax and enjoy beautiful views .

4 months ago

I loved this trail. Started at the market in Iowa Hill, (Stevens Trail East). Stay to the right where the trail forks (about 100 yards from tail head) and you’ll stay in the shade the entire way to an absolutely BEAUTIFUL swimming hole at the end. Wear good boots, this isn’t a trail for tennis shoes or flip flops. *** Now I must pay tribute to PENNY, the local dog that literally was looking out for me the whole way. I saw a brown bear (50 yards away) on the way in and she kept her eye on it, as I did. The bear seemed uninterested and we went in opposite directions.. She chased away something, rustling in the brush, on the way out. She swam after a stick while at the swimming hole. She kept bringing it back for me to throw. We hung out about an hour there, and shared beef jerky, then hiked back. Loved this dog!!! She was truly a great little companion and guide, never getting too far ahead, always checking to make sure I was coming along.

trail running
4 months ago

Still one if my favorite trails!! Just went yesterday and it was magnificent! Definitely extremely hot in the direct sunlight, so I'd encourage you to go earlier than later if you're sensitive to heat! The shaded areas are beautiful, green and cool! The water is low, but still swimmable! The trails are all clear and easily identifiable!

4 months ago

Great hike! Started the hike around 730 and was back at the parking lot a little after 10 with about 20 minute stop at the river.

hiking
4 months ago

I've been hiking this trail for 20 years and simply love it. It's great to run as well. Spectacular views at any time of the year and spring offers an abundant amount of wildflowers. Summers on this trail can be extremely warm though, so go early. The BLM needs to update the trail head sign to reflect the true mileage of about 7.25-7.50 miles round trip, not 9.

4 months ago

It’s a beautiful trail. Your phone should still have service when you go on the hike. You can track where you are at using your google map or this app. There are times that the trail cuts into two. So make sure you remember which way you go. It’s not anything you won’t remember though. Also, keep a look out for poison oaks. There are tons everywhere. About a mile into the hike, you’ll be walking along the river so you’ll see the beauty of it. There are some trails that take you right down to the river if you want to cut the hike a little short. Definitely an easy hike going but you’ll face some challenges coming back to your car because the trail will be inclined. Enjoy the river. The water is still cold, but it’s not anything we can’t handle.

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