Western States Pioneer Express Recreation Trail

MODERATE 100 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
1099 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
21 days ago

This was fun.
My friend and I started at 6:30 from the WS trailhead. We saw a chewed up deer leg right near the beginning. Then we saw 3 or 4 live male deer and a couple females along our way.
We are training for a backpacking trip, so this trail was nice because we could wander around on many different trails.
There are some steep areas, depending on the trail you take.
You continually run into people. The only reason that is a bad thing is because there are not many flat areas where you can wander off to pee, so I was usually right off trail with my friend having to warn any oncomers. :P

hiking
23 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month 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
2 months ago

hiking
2 months 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
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 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
4 months ago