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Top Trails Sacramento
by Steven L. Evans (Wilderness Press)
The South Fork American River in the Sierra foothills south of Placerville is one of California’s most popular white-water rivers. The South Fork is where gold was discovered by Europeans in 1849, so the river is also rich in Gold Rush history. Not so long ago, public access along the South Fork was quite limited. The American River Conservancy and the BLM are acquiring land for public recreation and habitat purposes along the river.
This easy loop trail, in the recently acquired Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park, provides a nice ramble through oak and riparian woodlands and foothill grasslands, as well as direct access to the South Fork American River.
60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Sacramento
by Jordan Summers (Menasha Ridge Press)
In Pilot Hill’s Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park, this hike of connected trails offers a varied terrain—riparian zone along the South Fork of the American River, blue-oak savanna and foothill woodland above it. Some openterrain trails lead to a movie-set ranch and then loop back to the trailhead. The trailhead for this hike stands only about 5 air miles downriver from Coloma, the birthplace of the Gold Rush. Above and below the section of river that borders the ranch, streams, bars, and hillsides, gold miners sought their fortunes throughout the 1850s.
The trail book SUCKED. We passed THREE OTHER GROUPS on this trail with the same book and all of us were lost. Maybe someone changed the trail names or something, but there should be a huge disclaimer when using that 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Sacramento book. We ended up on some part of the Western States Trail, way far away from the creek.
Early Spring-late winter is definitely the time frame for this trail. You can take a detour down to the creek and get a very picturesque view. The source of the name of the trail is some gimmicky but that's neither here nor there. The trail is down into a canyon and back out, so the upward elevation is almost entirely on the back-half of the hike; including one steep section that isn't too long. Not a lot of scenic views, as you are normally shrouded in foliage, but the terrain itself was pretty.
Such a pretty hike! There's hardly any shade, so yes, it will be a killer in the summer. Not terribly challenging, but enough hills to make it fun (would be great for trail running). We nearly stepped on a rattle snake sunning itself on the trail, so stay alert. We definitely will go back and take some different trails to make it longer.
I felt the trail was a nice easy hike. It was a little dry this time of the year. There are many different directions that you can take from the up and down trail which is a little more scenic and helps get your pulse up. To the Long Valley Trail that is almost flat the entire way. The river was great and I liked having a place to go to the bathroom, as well as picinic tables. However watch out for ticks if you have dogs. We bathed ours as soon as we got home, but they still got them. Easy to find and we are going back next weekend with friends. Don't let the the full parking lot scare you we hardly saw anyone since there are so many trails to take.
Very nice trails, give yourself about 3 or 4 hours depending on ability. You can do it faster but takes some of the fun out of this hike. The beautiful American Canyon Creek Falls are of the right side of the trail down towards the bottom. Trails leads down to small beach of North fork American. I was lucky enough to be on the trails during Red-Bellied Newt breeding time, which made the hike very interesting. Moderate traffic, ran into some horses and some other hikers on a tuesday.
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