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




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Almost every section is either very steep downhill or very steep uphill, should be rated as hard there was some solid scenery which started to make up for it.

Fog rising from the hills gives the place a spooky feel. Beautiful on rainy days. Dirt road there is a little iffy due to large puddles stretching from edge to edge on some sections of road. A little tough on the way back up because of the steep incline. Will hike again though.

This was a beautiful and challenging hike. Especially the lower end near the falls where alot of trees and brush covered the trail.

horseback riding
2 months ago

I regret not taking a swim the time I went to this location! It was beautiful! The hike was pretty difficult, but oh so worth it!

Love to ride here!

7 months ago

Started this trail at the rubicon road trailhead. Pretty rough road as of April '17. Was able to get up there with a 4x4 Subaru though.

Nice enough trail, narrow as hell and overgrown with poison oak. Glad I did it once, the river is great, beautiful pool that seems like it would be jumpable off the rocks once the water level goes down; won't be doing it again unless something is done about the poison oak.

7 months ago

March 25, 2017- after rainy week- Cool trail with breathtaking views, but we were unable to access the other half due to the second bridge being out and the water too high to cross. Also, I got a tick! Booooo!

Fire station recommended we not trespass over land and falls have been closed to public. Probably doesn't stop people but I'm not in the business of breaking rules dished out by handsome firemen. lol

backyard hike for me :)

Date: February 26, 2012
Trail: University Falls, Quintette
Temp: 43 Degrees
Mileage: 5.8 Miles (plus we had a small detour ¾ mile)
Elevation Gain: 1200 Feet (600 to falls, plus 2-300 foot drops)
Time: 2 Hours 45 Minutes
I had already hiked University Falls once, back in July when my son was only 4 weeks old but my girlfriend and I had started the trail around 10am. Today, trail blazers Shannon and Eric joined me, and we got a late start – 2pm.
To get to the Falls you drive 11.8 miles outside of Georgetown on Wentworth Springs, to the yellow logging gate. There is limited street parking.
During the high season this trail is well traversed by tourists from near and far, and inevitably, each year, someone is Life-Flighted out of the Falls.
It’s a popular spot because in the summer months the river runs shallow and people can slide down the first two falls (but there’s always a risk of cracking your head open on the granite). What many people do not know is that the third fall is too much of a drop, and people have died attempting it.
In the last week or so, my husband and I had decided we would be tackling Mount Whitney without our son. We had done research on the altitude and some hairy parts of the trail involving rope guides and slippery slopes and decided it wasn’t worth it to take him. Nonetheless I am continuing my training with my son, who weighs in at 18 pounds and is nearly the exact weight I’ll be toting up to the Summit.
Shannon and Eric and I (Hubby was sturgeon fishing) had intended on starting around 3pm, but it was closer to 4pm when we hit the trail head. The plan was to do the hike down in less than an hour and once at the Falls have dinner. I had just purchased a new Flash Jetboil and a few dehydrated meals. We would then trek back up, hoping to be to the car by 6:15.
But after only the first ½ mile we ended up on a ¾ mile detour, as my greyhound bombed off down a trail at the first Y, and since she runs about 45 miles an hour we were not able to recover her, except to follow her down the trail head. Eventually we caught up to her and started back on the trail to the Falls. Tuck was in my new Deuter wire frame pack and had fallen asleep.

Technical aspects as follows: It’s 2.8 miles in total from the yellow gate at Wentworth Springs, with two 300 feet declines, and then a final 600 feet to the Falls. The trail is an old logging road, and thus wide enough for large vehicles. It’s a half mile to your first turn- a sharp left at the Y marked 12N67B, you will then traverse around the mountain ridge and will have a stellar view of the snow capped Sierra Nevada’s.

This is where I need to add a note to the city slickers – If you want to come up to El Dorado County to enjoy our back country and wilderness areas, please leave your spray paint at home. The big blue spray paint marking the trail everywhere is a real eye sore for the rest of us that live here, and make directional references out of wood carvings.

Traveling another mile downhill you will reach the irrigation water ditch, here you need to turn right to follow the ditch for about another mile. You will come to a point where there is an opening in the forest, and a tree is marked “Falls” turn left here and begin your 600 foot decent to the Falls.
This area is narrow, steep and rocky, it’d be best with walking sticks, but without them take the trail down the wash out in the middle. During your trek, keep an eye out for the Suzuki Samarai wreck and also the old Chevy wreck. They are gruesome and look like something out of a horror movie, great photo opp.

At the bottom of the decline you hit a shallow part of the river and follow the trail to the left, after a few more feet you will see the Falls in all their glory.

At the top of the Falls decent, we were losing day light rapidly, but were too close to turn back, as Shannon and Eric had never seen the Falls. We had already anticipated that we would be completing the last leg of the trail when dark was setting in. The trail was desolate.

We quickly snapped off a few pics at the bottom of the Falls and started our trek back up. We had about 15 minutes of daylight left, and wanted to make it to the wide part of the trail where we would have stable footing before we lost light completely. Eric packed Tuck out for me.

A snow storm was expected to hit the Sierra’s late this evening and the weather was shifting quickly. Eric took off his sweatshirt and created a sling over my shoulder for which I wrapped Tuck in, at this point I hiked him the remaining 2.5 miles and 1,000 feet out of the Falls in my arms.
It was a team effort, with Eric taking the wire frame pack and Shannon carrying the bottle to comfort him as we hauled up the mountain in the dark. I had strapped a small LED light to my frame pack earlier in the day, and Eric u

Monday, October 10, 2016

Long one lane drive to the trail head, but worth it. Hike down to the creek and Otter Creek itself was beautiful. Pretty steep at times. It's the hike back out that's a pain in the butt, literally. All uphill at a steep incline. Definitely a challenge and slow going but doable even for the inexperienced hiker like me. Overall good hike and we didn't see a single soul!

Friday, June 03, 2016

For clarification, this trail has a trailhead at each end, both of which are accessible by roads on opposite sides of the Rubicon River. One end is located through the Volcanoville area, as the directions say. The other end of the trail is located across the river at the end of the Nevada Point Ridge rd (13N41). From one end to the other, the trail is a tad over 5 miles long. So, the specs on this trail page say 10.6 miles because they are presuming a hiker would walk the entire length, turn around, then return back to their car. Obviously your hike could be shorter if you only intend to hike to the river, or have the convenience of several people and more than one car. Both roads are bumpy dirt roads, so keep this in mind when deciding what car to bring. You won't need a 4x4, but it would be unwise to bring a low clearance car designed strictly for pavement.

From the Volcanoville end down to the river is roughly about 2 miles. I was able to hike to the river at a slow-pokey pace in about an hour. The return hike up took me about an hour and 10 minutes. I really wanted to be able to say a bunch of awesome things about this trail, but it'd be dishonest of me. The two major hassles about this trail is that it is heavily overgrown with poison oak due to it's lack of use, and the mosquitoes are relentless. I have been a hiker most of my life, so I'm not usually one to complain about such things, but this was a bit too much Mother Nature for me to say it was an awesome hike. I wore plenty of bug spray and still got eaten alive, as if the resident mosquitoes hadn't seen a hiker in years. Staying ahead of them was near impossible, and I would get swarmed every time I stopped to take a picture or rest for a moment, which got frustrating very quickly, considering how steep the trail is. Dodging and weaving through the jungle of poison oak lining the narrow trail detracted from my enjoyment as well. As careful as I was, I still got whipped in the face with it several times. Because of this, I'd suggest not bringing a dog, as Fido will undoubtedly get covered in poison oak, hence eventually getting it all over you and your car later.

On the plus side, this trail isn't well used or known, so if you go you'll likely have the place all to yourself. It's a great place for folks who love solitude. The river of course is gorgeous and soothing, and fortunately I encountered no mosquitoes at the river itself. There were several nice spots to camp, if you want to stay overnight. There are two bridges, (well, one and a half, actually). The first bridge crosses Pilot Creek (on the Volcanoville side). What is left of the second bridge used to cross the Rubicon, but was washed out in a flood years ago. So, if you want to cross to the other side, you will have to carefully pick your way over river rocks, or wade through a shallow area. Definitely bring river shoes for this.

If you have issues with your joints, knees, or hips, definitely bring your walking stick, trekking poles, knee brace, or whatever it is you need to make the hike more comfortable for yourself, as the trail is very steep and narrow almost the whole way, and if you reach out to grab a branch to hang onto, it'll likely be poison oak. As someone with an arthritic knee, I was wishing I'd brought something to make the hike easier on myself. Bring and use bug spray, even though the mosquitoes will likely ignore it and bite you anyway. Whatever you do, don't wear shorts unless you are immune to poison oak.

Overall it was a decent hike. You will definitely get your cardio and lower body workout for the day. But I am not likely to hike it again any time soon due to the heavy abundance of pests on the trail. It was worth doing once, though, for the experience and to access a remote, lovely part of the Rubicon.