American River Confluence to Lake Clementine

OutAndBack • 6 mi • 300 ft

Contrasting dynamics and a wild-river canyon take center stage on this hike. You’ll encounter raging rapids, soothing pools, a loud waterfall at a dam, and a tranquil lake. Start near the confluence of the north and middle forks of the American River, and follow the North Fork’s deep and rocky canyon journey where it is interrupted by serene Lake Clementine. This 3.5-mile-long lake was formed when the 155-foot high dam was finished in 1939. The dam was built as a debris-catching device to protect bridges downstream. Fishing is good, and you may see mountain bikers and horseback riders. Leashed dogs are allowed on area trails.
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Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Auburn
Length: 6 total miles
Elevation Gain: 300 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 2 to 3 hours
Season: Year-round
Top Elevation: 1,200 feet
Other Uses: Horses, mountain bikers, dogs
Local Contacts: Auburn State Recreation Area
Local Maps: Auburn State Recreation Area Map
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A very long uphill climb of 6+ miles. As this trail ends at the gat and paved road to the dam you can continue up the paved road to a parking area and connect to two other trails to make a loop back to the starting point. I read this mod to difficult. A fee is now charged for parking, use the envolopes provided.


Nice trail but dogs are not allowed in the Clementine Park. We had to turn around and go back.


The trail is has changed from the description given. The last part of the trail going to Lake Clemintine is paved with vehicular traffic and there is no reasonable access to the river close to the dam. It was still a very pleasant hike all in all but frustrating to find oneself on asphalt dodging traffic.


Easy trail for the family with lots of views and entertainment. We especially enjoyed the large swimming hole less then 1/2 mile from the trailhead. Good thing we got an early start however. In the morning we had the swimming hole to ourselves. By time we had visited the dam at the end of the trail and made our way back to the swimming hole it was 100 degrees and there were about 50 people crowded into the spot. If you don't mind the crowds, this is a nice, easy family hike.


In the spring (we went toward the end of April) this trail is beautiful, lush and green. It's a multi-use trail and we shared it with several mountain bikers. But there was always enough space and it wasn't nearly as crowded as later in the summer. My kids (ages 7, 9, and 11) and I were able to do the up and back in about two and a half hours. The way in was on a slight incline, but it wasn't difficult. We had a big rain year so water was flowing over the dam at Lake Clementine rapidly. It was a spectactular sight.


Easy comfortable trail. Except for a short distance, the trail is at least 2 people wide. River canyon is beautiful.

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