Olmstead Loop Trail

Auburn State Recreational Area, California

Elevation Gain613ft
Trailhead Elevation1,515ft
Elevation Min/Max1433/1566ft
Elevation Start/End1515/1517ft
Olmstead Loop Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in El Dorado County, California. It is within Auburn State Recreational Area. It is 8.6 miles long and begins at 1,515 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 5.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 613 feet. Along the trail there are a reservoir, a farm, and a parking. This trail connects with the following: Salt Creek Loop Trail, Wendell T Robie Trail (WST), Training Hill (Pointed Rocks) Trail and Catecraft Lane.

Olmstead Loop Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Olmstead Loop is a technically intermediate, aerobically moderate 9-mile loop that’s guaranteed to please all levels of riders, from expert to beginner. It’s also one heck of a fun ride up and down rolling grassy hills covered with oaks. Located in the Auburn State Recreation Area, the route is a combination of fire roads, wide single- and double-tracks that run like a roller coaster through short and sometimes steep hills. Not overly taxing, the rises are about 6 to 8% grades—just enough to get you breathing hard. It’s the kind of variety that puts the fun in mountain biking. And for those strong riders really aching for a challenge, consider riding from Auburn across the North Fork American River via the Auburn-to-Cool Trail."

"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."

"Walk into the equestrian parking lot and turn left, and 200 feet to the south you’ll find the trailhead, which is clearly marked as the 0 mile point for the Olmstead Loop Trail. Walk through the pedestrian gate at the corner of the fence. The Olmstead Loop Trail is a favorite among mountain bikers for good reason. The Olmstead Loop Trail leads hikers around and through large meadows fringed by live oaks and blackberry thickets. Songbirds, turkeys, and deer are easily observed across the fields of wildflowers."

"It's a really fun loop, for one thing. It's got a little bit of everything: a little fire road, a little singletrack, a little doubletrack ( and one triple, some rocks, a little steep climbing, a couple of water crossings. All of these come in one tidy 9-mile package. Be on the lookout for rattlesnakes."

"Public land in the Sierra foothills is somewhat limited, and most of what is public is confined to river and creek canyons. The Olmstead Loop Trail (also known as the Knickerbocker Creek Trail) circles a chunk of public land in the Sierra foothills that encompasses a large meadow cut by a couple of small streams. This is a rare opportunity to hike through the rolling foothill countryside and explore oak woodlands and large grassy meadows, and to see wildflowers and wildlife on public lands. The Bureau of Reclamation acquired the entire area in the 1970s to partially mitigate the proposed drowning of the adjacent American River canyons and their extensive trail system by the construction of the Auburn Dam. But although the dam’s construction was halted by safety concerns and escalating costs, the Olmstead Loop and its associated spur trails remain connected to the overall trail system in the Auburn State Recreation Area."

Olmstead Loop Trail Reviews

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This was great. I am sure that you will enjoy it as much as we did.
I love this trail. I would go in the morning, before 10 am that would be the best time.
Nice diverse scenery, good length, minimal altitude change. Trail can be busy, though.
Rolling terrain, open scrub oak forest, occasional horse and/or bicycle.
This is a really fun nine mile loop. We rode clockwise and ended up pushing up a few steep hills. There were many wildflowers and the creeks were running well. While there were only a few very small technical sections, there are a few long and steep hills, so be prepared for a good workout! The views were fantastic, especially if you add a few well chosen Geocaches in the area. We rode at mid-day and it was about 90 degrees. I would advise an earlier start, or cooler weather. While there were quite a few signs, most were simple arrows, and very few of them said Olmstead Loop. Keep an eye out and it's easy to follow. Enjoy!
It is definitly a fun easy ride. Although ther is a section that requires a bit of pedal mashing. All in all it has a goodly amount of variety and the scenery is decent. C. Stonick Roseville CA
Great little loop with a bit of everything. Strong beginners should like it. Recommend riding counter-clockwise so you can ride down the rocky hills -- there are only a few descents that beginners will want to watch for. The funny swoopy singletrack is more fun counter-clockwise. All the horse people have been just fabulously friendly and the ribs are out of this world at the pizza/BBQ joint next to the trail head.

Olmstead Loop Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Auburn State Recreational Area
Nearby City
Auburn State Recreational Area

Activity Feed

Jun 2018