Western States Pioneer Express Recreation Trail

MODERATE 91 reviews

Western States Pioneer Express Recreation Trail is a 8.8 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.

DISTANCE
8.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1545 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

rails trails

trail running

walking

horseback riding

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

Enjoy views of the Middle Fork American River Canyon on this easy walk which includes a historic arched cement bridge and a waterfall. This short walk brings you up to and then across the Mountain Quarries RailRoad Bridge, which was the longest concrete arch railroad bridge in the world when it was built in 1912. Enjoy great views of the Middle Fork American River Canyon and marvel at what was a fantastic feat of construction for its time. The triple span bridge was built by the Mountain Quarries Company and the Pacific Portland Cement Company for the purpose of hauling limestone from the nearby quarry to Auburn, 7 miles away. Trains ran across the bridge down to the quarry 4 times daily until the quarry was abandoned. In 1942 the tracks were pulled out for scrap metal for WWII. You might also hear the bridge called the "No Hands Bridge". This is a throwback from the early years of the Tevis Cup Trail Ride, an equestrian race that goes from Squaw Valley in Tahoe to Auburn. Challenged by onlookers who noted the bridge's former lack of guard-rails, one of the riders, Ina Robinson, would drop her reins and go across "No-Hands". The bridge now does have metal guard rails, but the name has stuck with it.

hiking
1 day ago

Cool trail--well maintained. Today was a lovely fall day. We saw a dozen or so trail runners, one other hiking party, and a bunch of turkey buzzards. We'd do it again.

hiking
16 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

So I accidentally ended my beginning of the hike at robie point and then had to restart my track lol but this hike was AMAZING! Did the entire 8.8 miles starting at American canyon overlook park. Plennnnty of places to park there. The hike was definitely a challenge, especially on the way back up. Bring lots of water! There were really nice views of the river and it was cool to cross "no hands" bridge! Interesting to read about the history on the plaques. There was also a nice little waterfall and small bridge to check out :] Definitely planning on returning to this hike in a few weeks! I really enjoyed the variety of sights to see along this hike and there were a few spots that were prime to sit and take breaks (bench/picnic table). That uphill really gets your heart pumping!

hiking
28 days ago

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Returned to this trail to take it All the way to the Calcutta Falls and it was great. Easy 2.3 mile in and out hike. Definitely start early morning this time of year (August).

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Mediocre hike. Not much interesting to see for the 1st hour, but then the view opens up. Seems there is a trailhead at the end of the hike, and therefore may be a better starting point.

I took the Western states trail on the way back and this was much more interesting. GPS is a must for this hike as there are a lot of trails.

Would be nice for trail running, but I would not hike this again

hiking
2 months ago

Nice, easy hike.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Cool little place!

trail running
3 months ago

Very beautiful views of the river and greenery, but also extremely challenging to run with some steep sections. Mix of single track and wider path. Was very muddy when I went, would like to try again under better conditions. Would also be a nice hike.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Good moderate hike. Surprisingly void of other hikers on a Memorial Day weekend!

4 months ago

Good hike, a little hard to find at first and not well marked. Lots and lots of different pathways to make for a fun adventure. Beautiful views. We started at the parking lot and went to the back to the right and saw the head of Overlook trail, and took that until we hit Western States. Took it all the way down to the river! Hike back was a b*tch uphill but do-able