Western States Trail: Michigan Bluff Trail to Last Chance Trail

MODERATE 12 reviews

Western States Trail: Michigan Bluff Trail to Last Chance Trail is a 18.5 mile out and back trail located near Foresthill, California that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and horses and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

18.5 miles
7408 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash


horseback riding


Directions from I-80: Take the Foresthill exit, and proceed on Foresthill Road for 15.5 miles to the Foresthill Ranger Station. Continue on approximately 5 miles to Baker Ranch and make a right on Michigan Bluff Road. Continue on to the town of Michigan Bluff. The trailhead is located 1/4 miles east of town.

1 month ago

The directions take you to someone’s drive way lol . They was not very happy to see me . Run this trail in reverse and do not try to park at Michigan Bluff .

3 months ago

I accidentally drove down the gravel road in search of the trailhead (blindly following my phone's directions), and one of the homeowners along the road was not happy with me. Back at the end of the paved road, there were a lot of "no parking" signs, so finding a spot can be confusing.
The trail is challenging, but you can make it as long or short as you want. As I increased elevation, I got swarmed by bugs, which was rather unpleasant. I only saw two people in the five hours I was out there.

6 months ago

My husband, the dog, and I hiked this trail planning to make it all the way to swinging Bridge and camp. We made it to El Dorado Canyon and decided that was good enough. The good: no one out there, easy to find, lots of free parking at trailhead, firewood abound, and a couple creeks to access water. The bad: tons of mosquitos and the elevation changes. The uphill climb out of there left us pretty damn sore.

9 months ago

We backpacked from Michigan Bluff to Deadwood which was ended up being about six to seven miles. The first half of the trail is pretty much all downhill followed by all uphill for the second half. I found the elevation gains challenging but fun. At Deadwood we dropped our gear, setup camp and then hiked to Swinging Bridge packless. The trail from Deadwood to Devil's thumb is a much less aggressive uphill and a nice hike; however from Devil's Thumb down to Swinging Bridge the trail needs a little attention. There were many downed trees and other debris that made the trail a challenge, and I'm not sure if I would recommend attempting with a pack.

In summary the trail may not have Half Domeesque views, but it is some beautiful country. One note, we packed in on a Friday and only encountered Forestry Service guys and a couple of day hikers, but on the hike out Saturday we ran into 15-20 day hikers/trail runners and this was when it was snowing and in the 30's, which leads me to believe this trail would be mighty busy under better weather conditions.

9 months ago

Trail was strenuous at best. (2,000 ft elevation gain in 2 miles). In total, there was about 2 scenic views. I don't recommend this trail to anyone who does not run 10 miles a week. It took 6 hours to do about 7 miles. I would not recommend this trail to anyone who is looking for a fun, scenic trip. Next time I'll do something in Tahoe.

Friday, November 11, 2016

It's a beautiful place and easy to get to with any kind of car. You park on the paved road Michigan Bluff and the walk up the bottom of the gravel road that goes past houses and leads you to the start of the trail.Took this trail because it seemed to the much more lightly trafficked than the other trails that are also close to the Sacramento area in these woods. The other trail heads I passed by while driving up there had a good amount of cars parked considering it was a Thursday afternoon.

I don't think I've ever seen so many manzanitas so big and all grouped together. That was really cool. The forest looks healthy and you probably won't see anyone. Could hear some pretty big wildlife walking around.

There were a couple of scenic views. Nice but not epic. The trail starts off down hill and you keep going down for a long time so plan to give enough time to walk back up. I didn't go but a couple miles in and back as my dog ended having a problem with her leg and I had to carry her back. The trail is a good definition of moderate. Not too easy, not too strenuous but still a workout.

Although it was pretty the lack of variety in scenery makes me more likely to find a different trail to try the next time I'm in the Tahoe national mountains.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Excellent area for hiking, so many trails connect so shorter or longer as you wish.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A lot of subaru driving, granola eaters hke this trail. If you drive a diesel be prepared to be bitched at.

9 months ago

9 months ago

Friday, October 28, 2016

Saturday, September 24, 2016