Locaton: Colfax, CA
Distance: 8.2 to 9 miles
Type: Day-hike; Out-and-back
Trailhead Directions: Google Maps
Permits, Fees & Parking: Parking is located in a small lot. Street parking available when the lot is full. No permits or fees are required for this hike. Dogs are OK on a leash.
Preparation: Sunscreen and warm clothing if hiking during the winter months are required. Due to the length (and if hiking during summer months), it is extremely important to bring enough water. I usually recommend starting hikes earlier, but I started this hike at 10:15a on a Sunday and there was plenty of parking.
The Hike: After parking the car, the trail begins at the very end of the parking lot (map above). This is one of the many signs that indicate the start of the trail:
Follow the path until the creek crossing is reached:
Just beyond the creek is another set of signs indicating the correct trail to take:
After passing these signs, you will see the first of many forks in the trail. To the right is a steep, uphill trail. Continue straight instead until this sign is reached:
Follow the trail until you see a waterfall. Continue down the path (where it looks like the waterfall should be flowing) until another section of the waterfall is. Cross the waterfall and the start of the “ridge” portion of the trail begins. Views of the N. Fork of the American River can be seen from this section of the trail:
The trail follows the river along a ridge until about the 4-mile mark, where there is direct access to the river and the Secret Ravine. After taking a break here and cooling off, take the same trail back to the trailhead. During the summer, the second half of the trail is a little more rigorous since it is usually warmer and the trail is uphill going the opposite direction.