Sweetwater Trail & The Hidden Bridge

Location: Pilot Hill, CA; Near Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

Distance: 5 miles (Sweetwater Trail); Hiking to the Hidden Bridge is an additional 1 mile.

Type: Day-hike; Out-and-back. NOTE: This is a multi-use trail for hiking and mountain biking.

Rating: Easy

Dog Friendly?: Yes! However, many hikers have reported ticks being an issue on this trail, so be aware!

Permits & Fees: $10 parking fee.

Driving Directions to Trailhead: Click HERE. Note: If driving north on Salmon Falls Road, the entrance to the parking lot will be a very sharp left. Keep an eye out for a sign that reads “Folsom Lake Recreation Area: Salmon Falls”.

Preparation: Water and sunscreen!

The Hike:

After parking at the Salmon Falls parking lot and paying the $10 fee, locate the following sign. This is the start of the Sweetwater Trail:

  • trail sign

Continue on the trail. Note: The majority of the trail is very narrow, so be aware of other hikers and mountain bikers. The trail follows along the South Fork American River, which can be seen on the right-hand side during the first mile of the hike:

At around to 1.5-2 mile mark, the Hidden Bridge comes into view off in the distance on right side of the trail. This historical bridge can only be seen during certain times of the year (I had no idea that there was a hidden bridge until I saw it on the hike! Read more about it HERE). I decided to hike to the end of Sweetwater Trail before checking out the bridge:

Continue for another mile until the end of the trail is reached (the Sweetwater Trail ends at a small, unmarked parking lot off of Salmon Bridge Road. Completing the hike in the opposite direction is also an option):

After reaching the end of the trail, turn around and make your way back towards the Hidden Bridge. There is a small trail that leads towards the bridge (about a half mile walk):

Walk towards the Hidden Bridge. After walking across the bridge, there is a small hill with several piles of rock formations (I’m still not exactly sure what this is):

After checking out the bridge, hike back towards Sweetwater Trail. Take the same trail back to the parking lot to complete the hike.

Note: The Sweetwater Trail was not very busy, especially for a weekend, but there were many people exploring the Hidden Bridge. It’s best to start this hike early. Enjoy!