The Last Chance Trail to Swinging Bridge

Foresthill, California 95631

The Last Chance Trail to Swinging Bridge

The Last Chance Trail to Swinging Bridge Professional Review and Guide

"This rugged trail to a remote crossing of the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River traverses some of the wildest "foothill" country of the Gold Country, a region well settled a century ago with mining settlements but today virtually deserted of all but hikers, anglers, horseback riders, and subsistence or hobby miners."

The Last Chance Trail to Swinging Bridge Reviews

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6/2/2012
Did this as a day hike and added on the extra to Last Chance. Weather along here can get brutally hot but happened to hit a relatively mild day. This is one of my favorite sections of the Western States Trail in part because of it's history, the challenge of doing a particularly difficult hike and just the beauty of the canyons. Stopped on the way out to take some time in Eldorado Creek to cool off before the final trek up to Michigan Bluff. Two cautions: You'll need plenty of water so bring refillable water bottles, a filter and take advantage of the pump at Deadwood; this is a challenging hike and should only be attempted by people in good shape.
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4/9/2005
This is a very brutal hike. The description says formidable overnighter or strenuous 3-day and that's for sure. We hit the trail at 11am and got to the bridge at 5:45pm exhausted. We weren't alone on the trail at all as there were a lot of trail runners out. Those people are in amazing shape. Some of them made it out to Swinging Bridge and back in the morning! To the left of the Swinging Bridge (not very "swingy" at all, really) is a great camping area, but there is a lot of garbage there. We got a late start coming back and didn't get on the trail until noon. Either way you are going on the trail is hard. Neither way is easier. There was 3" of snow at Deadwood and over 8" at devil's thumb for our hike. We did see a bear far below devil's thumb. And there's plenty of water as well as a pump at the east end of Deadwood on the road.
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Trail Information

Foresthill
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
17
Distance
7,000 feet
Elevation Gain
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Difficult
Skill Level
A 2- or 3-day trip is recommended.
Duration
Especially pleasant in fall and spring. Dry days in winter can be good, despite occasional snow on the higher ridges. Summer is hot. Avoid the annual Western States Endurance Run, held the last weekend in June, and the Tevis Cup long-distance horseback trail ride, held in late July or early August.
Season
3,800 feet
Trailhead Elevation
4,350 feet
Top Elevation
Tahoe National Forest, Foresthill Ranger District
Local Contacts
USGS Michigan Bluff, Greek Store.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018