Stevens Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"A walk in the footsteps of the forty-niners leads to a long cascade and a great overlook of the North Fork American River. The Stevens Trail dates back to the California gold rush, built and managed as a toll road by a pair of enterprising miners, one with the surname of Stevens. The trail linked Colfax with the boomtown of Iowa Hill and was well traveled in the late 1800s. When the boom went bust, the trail fell out of service—and essentially out of sight. It began its renaissance in the late 1960s, when a Boy Scout from Sacramento rediscovered it."
--Tracy Salcedo-Chourré, Hiking Waterfalls in Northern California (Falcon Guides).
"This descent to the North Fork is enjoyably easy. Of course, the hike in is easier, but the slope on the hike out is gentle enough for hikers of any age to enjoy. One attraction here is the wall-to-wall view of the North Fork of the American River, from above Iowa Hill Road and the bridge at Mineral Bar to the extreme close ups of the crystal-clear water at trail’s end. The Stevens Trail descends about 1,150 feet to the North Fork of the American River. Created nearly a century and a half ago as a foot- and horse-trail between Colfax and Iowa Hill, this vista-packed walk must be the easiest route down to the beautifully wild and scenic North Fork of the American River. Chinesebuilt railroad beds, hardrock-mine shafts, waterfalls and cascades, crystal-clear pools, and a flock of leopard lilies are all within easy reach of this historic trail."
--Jordan Summers, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Sacramento (Menasha Ridge Press).
"The Stevens Trail is one of the most popular Sierra foothills hikes for Sacramentans. Even though it is a path rich in history, it was virtually unknown until the late 1960s, when a Boy Scout rediscovered it. Now maintained and managed by the BLM, the trail provides year-round opportunities to visit the North Fork American Wild & Scenic River. Starting in the pines near Colfax, the trail drops more than 1000 feet down into a rugged canyon clothed in live oak and chaparral, providing magnificent views of one of California’s most scenic Wild Rivers. This former Gold Rush toll road once connected the mining town of Iowa Hill with the railroad town of Colfax and is on the National Register of Historic Places."
--Steven L. Evans, Top Trails Sacramento (Wilderness Press).
"This trail is very narrow and exposed. You must have well-developed skills. In particular, you need to be able to instinctively move your weight toward the cliff edge whenever your bike is getting too close to it. If you try to move your weight away from the cliff edge, your bike will probably turn toward the cliff and might run right off. You also need to be able to ride over rocks without getting thrown off the trail: There is little room for error on this ride. There are a number of class 4 maneuvers that caused me to get off and walk my bike, but each was very short, allowing me to ride perhaps 90 percent of trail down and 80 percent on the way back up. I’ve rated the first section at 2–3, meaning that it’s mostly class 2, but alternates with class 3 sections; and the second section at 3–4, meaning that it’s mostly class 3, but alternates with class 4 sections. The views of the river below are constant and impressive, but I suggest you stop riding when you look at the scenery! Highlights: A narrow singletrack perched on the side of a cliff overlooking the North Fork of the American River; a multitude of wildflowers in spring, especially yellow sticky monkey flowers; great swimming holes at the river. No motorcycles are allowed on the trail."
--Roger McGehee, Mountain Biking Northern California (Falcon Guides).
Sign in/up to upload photos.