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

9 days ago

Very beautiful. Many wildflowers and lots of greenery and lovely oak groves. The path starts out wide and then narrows. Be cautious for ticks and poison oak - the grasses are tall and it'd be hard to keep a dog away from them. There is some easy creek crossing over rocks and lots of shade up until you get to the south side (after the gate).

After the gate the trail changes dramatically. At the gate I went right towards skunk hollow which had a couple of nice views. Next time I go early I'll try going left towards Cronan Ranch (it was too hot by noon to be out in the full sun).

Not sure why this was rated as a hard trail, pretty level and easy hike and great swimming spot if you venture down to the river , however did not get 5 starts because two reasons. First it was very dusty my shoes were super dirty at the end mostly due to all the construction they have been doing on the road across and on the older buildings. I’ll definitely be back when they Finish the construction

15 days ago

We walked the short 2.6 mile loop in early May with a toddler, and a baby in a backpack. The trail is smooth and fairly level, great for little feet--a few rocks that tripped her up but nothing serious, and no scary drop-offs or dangerous cracks. Quite a bit of poison oak but hey, welcome to the foothills...! The trail is partially shaded, which made it wonderful in the Spring and probably tolerable in the summer, and there are several great places for a swim, and quite a few nice views along the route; there's even a toilet half way round, which is rather civilized!

The map only shows one loop, but there's an outer loop that runs closer to the river. To find it, turn left instead of right at the first fork in the trail (0.3 miles clockwise from the main Magnolia trailhead), it will take you down to a kayak put-in spot, and will join back up with the Gerle loop after a while.

15 days ago

Pretty and very well marked trail. Lots of flowers and green in the spring. There are also connecting trails so you can add more distance. I think it's a little more on the "easy" side.

This was a cool hike. Was kinda hot on the way out (started at 10:15am on April 21st), maybe because I only brought 1 bottle of water. We missed the trail to the ridge at the very beginning and bushwacked our way up the hill about a mile in. The view from the ridge was awesome! Totally worth the extra effort but I would recommend looking IMMEDIATELY to your right at the trail head entrance to get to the ridge. Was about 4 hours of hiking, very up and then down then up again. At the end I was jealous of the people I could see tubing down the American River. Mostly came across Mountain Bikers on the trail, like a dozen.

1 month ago

Fun super easy trail, free parking.

1 month ago

Great hike for all! Easy access and free parking.

Absolutely beautiful this time of year!

1 month ago

Great little hike to gauge your difficulty level. we started on the Gerle Loop but switch over to the other loop (Greenwood I believe?) which seems to mirror Gerle except it's down closer to the water and offers a variety of terrain which made it pretty interesting. we had a combination of trekkers with us, so it kept it interesting for those more comfortable while challenging the beginners a little more but not pushing too much at all. Great views of the river, pretty flowers and butterflies.. definitely will go back when wanting a nice easy trip. dog loved it also. Oh, and don't be thrown off when you pull in to the parking lot as it says Magnolia trail head.. you're at the right spot!

You need to pay 12$ per parking. Regular trail. Nothing special.

Great hike among open meadows. Perfect for sunny days in winter and early spring. Some incline, beautiful views of the hills, close to the American river. I highly recommend it.

This is an outstanding hike that is very un-trafficked. As the title of the hike lends, there is lots of opportunity for elevation gain and loss. But if you are looking for a Bluebird Day hike that offers views, solitude and even more views, this should be the first consideration. I’m so pumped to come back and take the river level trail.

Fantastic little trail. Big open spaces, rolling hills, river access, great spots for a picnic with a view. Definitely an easy trail for two adults who are relatively fit. Did it in about 1.5 hours with stopping and short picnic. Did this at the end of December, no mud, no blazing sun.

So pretty lots of bikers and horses but still good trail to hike

beautiful scenery, lots of ups and downs, views of the river and meadows are gorgeous

Nice trail. The camp ground is Closed for the season right now. Several connector trails which is nice. You can customize the distance easily.

3 months ago

Nice easy hike. Lots of dogs, many off leash wandering so just be aware. Would definitely come back!

Great hike, lots of up and down along the ridge part, though you can bypass a lot of it if you go down Cronan ranch road, like half our group did on the way out. There were a lot of trail runners and mountain bikers.

3 months ago

Fairly wide trail with a half-way point of the river. Lots of dogs and horses. There's one narrow downhill section leading to the river which would make it hard to pass other animals, but no one was on that part of the trail. There's a ton of trails that branch off, so at times it helped to use this map to stay on the right trail.

Very open beautiful trail. A bit muddy in parts but drying out.

It was fun a really long hike. It is bound to be a all day trip I think this trail is better for mountain biking. I got to the river in about 2 hours. Best for summer

mountain biking
5 months ago

Awesome trails and beautiful views

not sure why this is rated as 'hard'...it was actually more like 'easy'. Wide well kept dirt roads for trails, could tread with running shoes. Only saw one other person (I went Wednesday late afternoon in November) who also had their dog. Lots of horse poop, but there are nice bathrooms (sans water) at the trailhead and where the trail meets the river.

Easy hike for Sunday walk. Started from Cronan Ranch Trailhead to West Ridge Trail, headed to American River picnic area. Continued the hike via West Ravine Trail, with total of 6.8 miles. Nice view of hills and beware of shits on the trail. Overall, the trails have sign boards and map that easily to follow. It's open trail, need hat or umbrella on the hot day.

trail running
6 months ago

So pretty in the mornings. So much more trail to explore!

Very calm walk with a choice of uphill challenges.

I walked 3.4 miles of the lake line and enjoyed the tranquility. A cycling event had us watching over our shoulder for a portion of the hike but thoroughly enjoyed the park. Note $12 to get in the park.

Where I got severe poison oak...

Fun hike to the river (which has tons of tables and seating). The trail is mostly sunny, hot and dusty with horses but very quiet! This was a relatively easy hike other than the heat.

9 months ago

$12 to park

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