Western States Pioneer Express Recreation Trail

MODERATE 90 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
3 days ago

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4 days ago

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4 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

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1 month ago

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1 month ago

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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
2 months ago

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2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Cool little place!

trail running
2 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
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

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

3 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

hiking
3 months 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

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago