Western States Pioneer Express Recreation Trail

MODERATE 74 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

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.

7 days 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

hiking
7 days ago

On a hot day, this is an excellent choice compared to other unshaded hikes in the river confluence area, such as the Clementine trail. It is well maintained, and was manageable for my 5 year old son. We did not walk the entire trail, but designated a waterfall as our destination. The history nerd in me enjoyed watching for remnants of the old train track that this trail follows, as well as walking across the "No hands bridge". I used my phone along the way to help guide us. Limited access to the river. Overall a great experience

9 days ago

hiking
18 days ago

19 days ago

hiking
25 days ago

A little to sunny today. Even though the temp was 82ish. A lot of open trail not much shade. Falls are dwindling.

hiking
25 days ago

There are a number of trails and lots of options of paths to take. Some parts of the trail are well-marked and others are not. There is cell reception throughout the area so we were able to consult our map as needed. We ultimately created our own path, ended up making it down to river to sit and eat lunch, and then headed back up. Took us about 3 hours. A lot of the trail was shaded, which was nice. Saw a few fellow hikers along the way. Some of the hills are pretty steep, but we liked the challenge. Crossed a few small streams but no significant waterfalls, likely due to the time of year.

27 days ago

1 month ago

trail running
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hiking
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2 months ago

Loved it! The way back is pretty crazy because it's all up hill. But totally worth it!

2 months ago

An easy, relaxing trail for novice hikers or those wanting to take a leisurely stroll. We went on a Sunday morning stroll (arrived 10am) and there were plenty people but not so much that others got in your way. Families with kids, jogging couples, riders on horseback - people from all walks can take this trail and enjoy the nice scenery.

2 months ago

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Loved it! We had so much fun on this trail and our kids did great.