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

A little sore on the ankles but well worth it!

Great hike, long but pretty easy. You have to cross lots of streams so be prepared to get a bit wet. Totally worth it. Remember to get your adventure pass.

This hike gave us the biggest challenge so far. Made it to the bridge and back in over 4 hours or maybe 5 lol... it was well worth it. Beautiful scenery to and from. Good a$$ kicking hike. Will have to do it again.

Love it. It was so interesting. Next time I am taking my flashlight with me.

First time and it was amazing...

El Dorado county needs to start connecting the trails (either dg it or pave it ) and have it go continuously past Camino on into El Dorado National Forest, I love biking it, it's a good trail

hiking
5 days ago

BRING LOTS OF WATER!!

Did this trail over the weekend and first off, it is closer to 11 miles round trip, not 9. Each person should have at least 3 liters of water. This trail is an easy trail, very slight elevation increase the entire way. It is however a long trail, so if you're not used to hiking 10+ miles, be ready.

The trail is pretty great, pay attention and you can see old pieces of road throughout the hike, yes, they are covered in dirt but once you notice and realize there was once a road the entire way you start seeing it all over.

Start early, the path going out isn't bad because of the position of the sun, you'll get morning shade most of the way. Coming back though, it's direct sun almost the entire path.

Once you make it to the bridge you can cross the bridge and go to the bottom. We sat there and ate lunch with our feet in the stream, it's pretty awesome down there at the bottom.

The earlier you get here, the better the parking will be. The lot fills up early, we got here at 7:30 and had to park about 1/3rd of a mile down the road. Also, buy a parking pass in advance, they are $5 for a day pass or $30 for a year pass. It's good at 4 local parks and is a parking hangtag, so just get the annual pass. I got mine at Big 5 but they're sold all over.

There is about 5 water crossings each way. In the summer you can probably skip rocks to cross each time, if there has been any recent rain you will get wet crossing the stream.

Lastly, check the weather report, if there is a chance of rain I'd stay away from this path. You're hiking in a ravine and this path does regularly have flash floods. People die on this trail from being trapped in flash floods. I came across one cross where someone had died on the trail.

I would definitely do this hike again.

6 days ago

Donyrsdydrrzs

Nice but hot in summer.
Across the river 4-5 times, you could make it without wet..I did. Took 5 hours.

walking
8 days ago

This trail is very different and interesting! Not difficult at all, with the most challenging part being a small climb up from the parking spot I chose, which was ~ 100 yards before the Donner Summit bridge on the way up Donner Pass Road. Don't miss the Petroglyphs on the way up! The path through the tunnels was a perfect way to take a break from the sun, and also the wildfire smoke that has been settling in the area every few days. The footing is mostly gravel, so even though dogs are allowed, it may be a bit tough on their paws. There are points in the tunnels where you will be in pitch blackness, so a flashlight is a big recommendation... especially to help avoid the puddles in some areas! Also, there are bats flying above, and the occasional mouse/squirrel/rat. I am a fan of street art, so I enjoy the graffiti... 80% of it is junk, but the other 20% is really great art!

Took me 6 and 10 yr olds, they had a blast. Once we got to the bridge we went swimming and had lunch down at the bottom watching people bungee jump. On the way back we saw some rams. If you go early morning, weather is not to bad.

Great views on hot summer nights. I have plantar fasciitis so it killed my heels but there’s plenty of spots at the top to rest. Best to go around 7 or 8pm

Nice trail with many opportunities to view wildlife and gorgeous rock formations. Also food and restrooms available along the way. An easy walk.

The railroad has started ticket hikers walking the tracks. Be warned it can be a heavy fine with those trespassing tickets.

I do not recommend this trail for solo women.

I went biking on this trail midday on a weekday. I rode from ~ Del Paso Blvd to ~Capital City freeway and back.

Not only were there large groups of transient men congregating both adjacent to and in the middle of the trail, but I was followed on bike by a seemingly well-off guy who I believe was haunting the trail specifically for the purpose of following women. (He was a white male, medium athletic build, mid 30s-early 40s, blue cycling outfit, phone band on left arm, with brown mid length hair.)

I successfully got him to stop following me but the trail is so isolated and lined with dense vegetation that anything could have happened without a passerby noticing. I won't be going there again, not alone at least.

It was pretty nice. Have to watch out for bike riders and crazy, homeless people though. There was one crazy lady who I thought at first was yelling that she had cookies but then she was actually saying we were a bunch of robbers and thieves since we weren’t working. I found it amusing and called her a bum since she wasn’t working and smelled like piss and she just kept repeating the same thing. There are some stretches that are shaded, but a lot of it is in the sun. The ending of the trail in Concord is in a ghetto area with a bunch of bums walking around so you might want to stop short of Hillcrest Community Park. All in all, it’s a great hike.

We strayed from the path a few times, willingly. The stream pretty much takes you all the way there. There are a few moments where the trail becomes a little sketchy with walking on rock. You'll do a bit of climbing, but not enough to really call this a rock climbing trail. The most sketchy point is near the end, after the bridge, if you're planning on going into the water. We spent a few hours resting, swimming and jumping into the pools. We packed a light lunch and both had about 2 liters of water, which depleted near the end of our trip back. Overall, it was a good trip. We will definitely do it again, but be slightly more prepared. A lot of water is necessary! On our way back, people were asking if we had any extra water, but we had already ran out. You'll be crossing lots of streams, which is actually the best part about this trek, in my opinion. Plenty of times to wet your face, feet, back, whatever. And where there's water, there's vegetation, so the river crossings tend to be nice, shaded and casting a nice breeze. As you get closer to the bridge, you start going up the mountain, so it's less covered, but the views are gorgeous. Bring sunscreen. We saw tons of wildlife, folks panning for gold, and a man who somehow managed to ride a bike halfway to the bridge. It was cool. The bridge is fascinating, but looks much smaller than you'd imagine, upon arrival. Once you see the side of it, it's pretty neat. It's crazy that the bridge was build before WWII, yet it barely looks a day old.

Easy, beginner trail. Family friendly.

hiking
16 days ago

Super fun hike. Cool to see all the artwork and graffiti. The tunnels are nice and cool on these hot summer days. Hike is not strenuous, I suggest going early because it gets pretty busy. A lot of bats on the trail today, but they kept to themselves! Great views of Donner Lake despite the smoke!

Great trail! Multiple stream crossings. It can be hard to find the trail sometimes, but you follow the stream the whole way, so you'll be ok. There are currently some hot pink markers along the path to help guide you. We got to see a flock of big horned sheep which was really cool!

1st time hiking the trails in CA, and this one is great to start with. Nice and full of areas where to rest, good river crossings and shades, we did not get to end, but the 1 or 2 miles we did were awesome. Parking was bad since it was Earth Day 4/21/2018 we had to park all the way down by the entrance road bridge. We started walked in at around 1pm and stopped around 330 PM, we came out at around 5:00 PM (much faster going out).

We will try it again in a couple of weeks.

Great hike!

Went there for my second time last Monday. Always equip yourselves with enough water( I took 7 but shud ve taken 10.), fruits, snacks and sandwiches . ..hat and shades. its a strenuos trail but not much incline. I crossed the stream a lot less than my 1st time... took a nice powernap by 6 30 pm at the end of the bridge b4 heading back...relaxin..will be going back soon

Very nice clean area to walk, bike or wheel along in your chair. It has a pretty good amount of shade and is used by a lot of people but mostly women. I saw a lot of moms with strollers. It connects with some shaded neighborhoods that I noticed a lot of people were using as well. It also goes by a couple of city parks. This used to be an old railway and is signed with plaques everywhere. There are metal benches and picnic tables every few hundred yards.

Took a group of senior citizens up to Cross and back. It took 90 minutes. When I go with my fit friends, it takes 30 minutes. Great conditioning hike!

22 days ago

Fun hike, tunnels are nice and cool, and if you’re paying attention you can spot some interesting features regarding their.construction. My wife is a 4th grade teacher and the China Wall is a fascinating piece of early state history. Views of Donner Lake are outstanding. A great family outing!

hiking
22 days ago

Great views of Donner Lake with interesting graffiti in the tunnels. Feels air conditioned on a hot day!

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