"The terrain covered on this long foothills loop encompasses oak woodlands, ranchlands, and hollows, including a verdant drainage where Knickerbocker Creek waters bay laurels, maples, and other stalwarts of riparian zones. Plan to be out in the backcountry all day.
The Olmstead Loop mirrors the scenic drive you must make to reach it from Auburn. The trail begins amid the mixed evergreen forest and rolling grasslands that characterize the foothills at Auburn’s elevation (about 1,500 feet). It then drops into a canyon cradling a waterway (in this case Knickerbocker Creek, not the American River), then climbs back into oaks and meadows. Toss in some wonderful vistas looking west toward the Sacramento Valley, a couple of relatively steep descents and climbs, and seclusion, and Olmstead supplies just about everything a hardy hiker seeks."