If you’re up for a challenge, these five hikes along the American River Canyon will test your limits.
Challenging terrain and steep elevations are part of the equation, but more than anything, these hikes showcase the best of the area’s natural beauty.
This difficult trail includes a 2,000-foot change in elevation along the 2.6-mile path. Whew! So it goes without saying that good physical condition (and plenty of water) is recommended for this adventure. Hikers can continue downriver for a shorter path or cross the river and travel upstream into Green Valley. The latter option will take you through private property. Once you catch your break, you can also enjoy a little fishing.
The Beacroft Trail is only 2.36 miles but it is often considered the “most difficult” in Placer County. The challenging hike will take participants through very steep terrain featuring numerous switchbacks. When hikers take to this trail, they will cross the Iowa Hill ditch and enjoy the views of ferns and small streams. As you approach the bottom of the trail, you’ll have the option of continuing upstream or toward the American River Trail. Good luck!
This very difficult trail provides two access point with opportunities for fishing, camping and swimming. Hikers will also enjoy parts of the trail that pass old mining ruin and abandoned equipment from the Gold Rush era. If you decide to journey on this exciting trail, be advised that part of it will take you along private property so it’s best to stay on the trail as much as possible. Near the end at the river, you may cross downstream at a footbridge and follow steep terrain up the canyon.
Miners used this old trail to reach the North Fork of the American River and now you can, too. You will encounter short sections with a 35 percent slope. As hikers being to start down the trail the views are breathtaking as one looks up the canyon. Warning, you could encounter poison oak about half way down the trail. This trail ends at the river, but it can also take you up and down the banks.
It’s only a mile each way, but the Mosquito Ridge Trail will push your limits. Steep terrain and switchbacks will get your blood flowing as you wind down to the Middle Fork of the American River. A cascade of water flowing down the canyon wall is sure to catch your eye along the way. But keep in mind, the trail is southern exposed and could be hot during warmer parts of the day. It is pleasant during the spring and fall, however. Please be advised that poison oak is present, especially at the beginning of the trail.
If you are up for a challenge, make sure you give these a try!