Clementine Trail

Auburn State Recreational Area, California

Elevation Gain743ft
Trailhead Elevation947ft
Elevation Min/Max548/955ft
Elevation Start/End947/947ft

Clementine Trail

Clementine Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Placer County, California. It is within Auburn State Recreational Area. It is 1.8 miles long and begins at 947 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 3.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 743 feet. Near the trailhead there are restrooms and parking. The Foresthill Bridge viewpoint can be seen along the trail.

Clementine Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"This scenic stretch traces the north fork of the American River, passes one of the impressive towers of the Foresthill Bridge, offers access to a cool swimming hole, and culminates at an overlook of Lake Clementine’s waterfall spillway."

"This scenic trail traces the North Fork American River, passes under the scenic Foresthill Bridge, offers access to a cool swimming hole, and culminates at an overlook of Lake Clementine’s waterfall spillway. The confluence of the north and middle forks of the American River, in the bottom of a steep, spectacular canyon northeast of Sacramento, draws thousands of visitors to the Auburn State Recreation Area each year. The river valleys—and the historic sites within them—have long been slated for submersion beneath a huge and controversial reservoir. But the Auburn Dam has been besieged by seismic, environmental, and economic concerns since construction began in the mid-1960s, and the process was brought to an apparently permanent halt in late 2008, when water rights held by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation were revoked. If completed, the dam would have drowned the river behind a 690-foot wall, and the popular trails that explore the forks would have drowned along with it."

"Lake Clementine Trail features the tallest bridge in California, Gold Rush–era bridge remains, exposed Jurassic-period geology, riparian zone and foothill flora, a rock-lined swimming hole, and a tree-lined lake. This pleasant hike along the North Fork of the American River is largely shaded. A gentle grade offers some exercise along this 2.2-mile hike on a trail shared with runners and mountain bikers. Imagine hiking in Utah’s Glen Canyon before it was inundated by the Colorado. A similar experience awaits here at the confluence of the North and Middle forks of the American."

"There’ll be some quibbling, but if a waterfall is defined as falling water, this fine spill out of Lake Clementine, reached via an easy out-and-back hike along the North Fork American River, definitely qualifies.

Not every dam spillway looks like a waterfall. Sometimes the water shoots from a tunnel; sometimes it is sluiced down one side of the dam face or the other. In the case of Lake Clementine, however, the spillway can only be described as a fall—a block or sheet waterfall, in fact, in the tradition of Niagara Falls, albeit not nearly as spectacular."

Clementine Trail Reviews

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Very long up hill climb (6 miles) and connects to other trails in the area by going up the paved road. There is a parking area where the other trails connect. A short fast, technical downhill. Downhill for experienced riders. A $10 parking fee started in Jyly 2012 and is monitored regularly. Can cool offf in the American River.

Clementine Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Auburn State Recreational Area
Nearby City
Auburn State Recreational Area
Skill Level
Auburn State Recreation Area, 501 El Dorado St., Auburn, CA 95603-4949; (530) 885-4527;
Local Contacts
USGS Auburn CA; Auburn State Recreation Area brochure available at recreation headquarters on CA 49 and online at The interpretive guide put together by the Auburn State Recreation Area Canyon Keepers is also a helpful resource. Keyed to posts along the trail, it provides information about the natural and human history of the route.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018