Explore the most popular trail running trails near Foresthill with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Trees down and erosion at end prevented us from safely accessing the river.

Nice trail. Watch out for bikers.

Tough trail in parts with steeper climbs and downed trees, but worth it for beautiful views of the American River.

Beautiful shaded trail, creek and waterfalls are a nice treat. Currently closed.

Trail itself I’d consider moderate. I’d highly recommend if you want to hike, to NOT take this trail in the park. 99% of people on this trail are mountain bikers that will mow you down. So irritating every five minutes having to jump in bushes to accommodate them and even more difficult if you have a dog. If you’re a mountain biker, great trail for you. Just be considerate that people hike this and you can seriously injure them if you don’t call out your presence before hand.

Went on an overnight out and back backpacking trip, camping about 7 miles in, near a creek crossing on Deadwood Ridge. The trail was definitely challenging but had no other redeeming qualities, other than a nice creek to rest at early on the trail. The trail is well shaded, but because of that there are few opportunities for good views. The trail was well graded and appreciated at first, but I found it to be monotonous after crossing El Dorado Creek, relentlessly marching up the side of the mountain. In addition, the trail going up towards the ridge was very narrow. There were few places to take a break. On the ridge, there were few good places to camp. I would not recommend the place I camped (creek crossing along ridge), I was running out of daylight. If I had more time I would have backed up a half mile and camped at the water pump. If you want to camp closer to the trailhead, there is at least one good spot (probably more) along El Dorado Creek.

I did not encounter any bears on my trip. That was a good thing because I forgot to put all my food in the bear canister. The food was not touched.

Some folks have mentioned parking issues but I had no problems parking at the end of the pavement, about 0.2 mile before the trailhead.

This trail is best for trail runners. Lots of elevation change and consistent grades. If I was trail running I would rate it 4 stars. I would not recommend for backpacking except as an early season shake-out.

This listing is pretty mislabeled. This is a part of the Western States Trail and this portion should be labeled Michigan Bluff to Last Chance. Since you are going in and out of 2 canyons I would also label as Hard. Especially if you're backpacking and have a pretty heavy pack.
Here are some things we learned: There is no parking next to the trail head. We parked next to the old cemetery and the Michigan Bluff monument. We left our car for 3 days and it seemed fine. We talked to some locals when we got back to our car. They thought we were just going out and let us know about several locals recently losing dogs to mountain lions.
BRING BEAR SPRAY. It is also a good idea to have a bear bell and make plenty of noise on the trial. We saw a lot of trail runners out so the trail is well traveled. You will also do a lot of stream crossing depending on how much it has rained recently and how much snow is still melting.
Trail breakdown: 2.5 miles in is entirely downhill and takes you to the first bridge and river. Almost 6 miles from the trail head and just before Deadwood Cemetery you will find a decent place to camp. For an even better place to camp and a little more walking, head on to an established spot between Deadwood and Devil's Thumb. There is a great area with a picnic bench and water pump with potable water (if we had gotten an earlier start on day one we would have camped here). Ditch your pack at the water pump to lighten your load and make your way to Devil's Thumb. A closer look shows that it is not one big rock but many rocks. Head down the canyon from Devil's Thumb to get to the swinging bridge. Lots of switchbacks but the pay off is worth it.
What we did:
Day one: hiked in and camped right before Deadwood.
Day two: packed up and ditched packs at Deadwood. Made way to water pump and filled up. Hiked all the way down to the swinging bridge and had lunch. Made our way out of the canyon back to our belongings. We then hiked down to Eldorado Canyon (aka 2.5 miles from trail head) and made our camp near river in an established spot.
Day three: hiked out.
Things I wish I had known:
-how steep the trail was
-the amount of mountain lion and bear activity in the area
-how bad the ticks are
-the different points of entry for the trail and the relative location of established camping spots
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I know this review is long, but I'm hoping it helps someone who is looking at this trail.

3 months ago

graffiti covered rocks everywhere ruined the whole experience

Attempted this hike this past weekend. Access is closed right now. :(

You CANNOT go in through the Auburn side. The road is blocked 2.7 miles from trailhead and it says NO public. We made the mistake of trying. 02-10-18

hiking
6 months ago

Upper portions of the trail havent been cleared of trees felled after the 2008 fire. Lots of obstacles. Not the grand and mysterious an entrance to the canyon as Mumford Bar. Steep cutbacks. Kind of blunt descent.

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 .

clean beautiful hike. long dirt road in.

Beautiful hike! The ride after the paved road requires a car that can handle steep and uneven terrain. We parked on a flat area about 1.4 miles from the trailhead and just walked in.

I only went in about 3.5 and then headed back up the mountain cause I didn't want to be out there in the dark but still a great hike! Beautiful views, will have to go and do the entire thing!

off road driving
8 months ago

Amazing river view, fall colors, and off-road experience. Plenty of hiking too. American river does not disappoint!
-Brian

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.

Son really enjoyed this hike. River offers nice backdrop to a pleasant walk. Very little traffic during week, when we went.

really nice trail. realy nice but sporadic views of the river. good amount of shade later in the day. sunscreen still advised.

This was a tough trail, not many smooth spots. The views are amazing though, once you get to the lookouts.

Great hike! Some elevation changes that get your heart going, but nothing too crazy. Offers ample opportunity for rest between hills. Everything is brown now, but still lovely and serene. This is a shared trail with bikers, so be aware!

This trail is best for cooler weather or early mornings. We went at 8:30am in August and it was HOT. The first half (approx.) of the trail is in full sun, the second half is under the trees and shaded but there were some gnat-like bugs in the shaded areas. The falls are small at that time but still there. There is a $10 parking fee at the trailhead and parking is limited. Mostly trucks on the road, saw one car. Road is smooth dirt at the beginning but some rough potholes/ditches towards the bottom. The trail follows along the river so swimming is available also. Signs showed dogs on-leash. Overall we enjoyed the hike and would do it again, but after the rains.

Awesome first time hiking!

Hike itself and area is beautiful, the effort to get there though was absolutely terrifying. I have a honda and did not read the fine print about unmaintained dirt road- it is seriously filled with potholes and it felt like I was going to slide off the road at multiple points. Would not recommend if you don't have an SUV or truck. Past that this is a pretty eery feeling hike.

Super remote trail, gravel road access and very hard to with a car. The trail it's self was beautiful but getting there was semi hard and that's the only downside.

hiking
Saturday, July 15, 2017

7/15/17: Ponderosa Rd is currently closed on the Foresthill side but you can reach the bridge and trailhead from the Weimar side. Recommend using a high clearance vehicle to make it down to the bridge and trailhead on the rough dirt/gravel road. Beautiful this year after all the winter storms. Fairly easy hike but it is hot this time of year.

hiking
Friday, July 14, 2017

Great hike if you're looking to improve stamina or simply get some miles under your belt. But, as others have said... its a kinda boring hike, especially this time of year - the wildflowers have already had their time, you see the same trees, poison oak, etc. Hearing the somewhat-busy road during several points of the hike was less than desirable but overall a nice hike.

hiking
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

7/8/17: Road to get down to trail-head is currently closed due to erosion. We drove out to discover the closure and had to come up with a backup plan. I've heard it's a fun hike so looking forward to revising my review once the road is opened again!

hiking
Monday, July 10, 2017

Hiked. The trail is very clear and well maintained, but it's a boring hike with very little. scenery. A good portion of it has tree cover, but you'll see the same trail and trees for 11 miles. The trail also cross the road twice, and follows the road close enough to see and hear cars for a section of it. Given how well maintained it is you'll need to keep an eye and ear out for mountain bikers as well. It makes a good trail to get a workout, but there a plenty of other good trails if you're trying to find a more secluded hike in auburn/foresthill. I'd recommend one of the longer American Canyon Creek Falls routes with some additional time along the rive for a comparable trail

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.

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