Stevens Trail

MODERATE 636 reviews
#1 of 165 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.

7 days 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
9 days 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
27 days 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
27 days 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.

1 month 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
1 month ago

Very enjoyable. Half shade, half sun.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month 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
1 month ago

It was difficult but enjoyable hike.

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

My all time favoritest

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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 .

2 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
2 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!

2 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
2 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.

2 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.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail! Views of the river for most part of the trail, lots wildflowers make it very pretty. It can get very hot later in the day since a little more than half the trial is exposed with no tree cover, so starting early really helps. Started the hike at 7 30, was back to the parking lot at 11 45, spent about 30 min at the river.

hiking
2 months ago

This trails is absolutely beautiful. It has tons of small creeks that are little water falls. If you make it all the way to the river bring your swim trunks and a towel because the water is perfect to relax and stay cool in.

Cons :

There is poison oak literally everywhere. The majority of the trail has poison oak at the edge of each side of the trails.

This might scare some, but I did see a adolescent rattle snake on my hike today. He scurried off the trail as soon as he saw us but still a forewarning.

hiking
2 months ago

Got lucky that May 26th was a cool day and perfect for Stevens Trail! Took 3 hours and 15 minutes down to the river and back. But we were at the river for only about 15 minutes. Great hike!

2 months ago

Awesome hike. Easy down, hard getting back up. But good views and lunch along the river make it worth the effort. Never seen it too crowded but you will have to step off the trail and let someone pass now and then. Lots of lizards and butterflies. Watch out for ticks.

3 months ago

Great hike to challenge yourself! Very scenic with the reward of the beautiful water at the bottom!

hiking
3 months ago

mostly downhill on the way there. but then it's almost all uphill the way back :/ perfect for dogs!! we loved it!!

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful spring hike. Lots of wildflowers. Amazing views of the American River. Wildlife sightings such as hawks snakes and lizard. Moderate to difficult hike but well worth it. Downhill first and uphill second. Wear good boots that are waterproof because there are small water crossings. Only thing is to be careful because there is LOTS of poison oak and the trail can be narrow.

hiking
3 months ago

Absolutely amazing hike. Beautiful scenery throughout the hike. Now is the time to go, the weather is perfect and wild flowers are blooming everywhere. Its not too difficult but it is up hill pretty much the entire way back. And be warned, there is poison oak EVERYWHERE, where pants .

hiking
3 months ago

This was such a good fun hike I highly recommended getting there as early as possible we got there at 6:50am and were literally the first ones on the trial so it was so nice and beautiful such great views I have a huge fear of heights but didn’t think it was too bad it’s a breeze going down hill but on the way back I hope u guys dont skip leg day it’s a little work out I’ve hiked worse but overall I had a blast

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful short hike. Easy if you’re in good shape. If you’re not I would suggest you not try going all the way down, stop at the waterfall enjoy the view and slowly make your way back up . Lots of poison oak on this trail.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike along the American river. The trail start as an easy down hill and slowly become an easy switch-back all the way to the cliff along the river. Great time to go during the spring (flowers).One down side is that their is little shade when you finally get to the river. Overall great hike.
P.S depending on which trail you take back you might find that one route is much more difficult then the other. I’ll let you find that out yourself!

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