American River Trail- A New Way to Access the South Fork American River

Posted February 11, 2006 by Robyn Suddeth

South Fork American River Valley

Picture Taken By… me! View of South Fork from Hallelujah Road

Coloma, home base for boaters on the South Fork American River, is truly a beautiful town. Especially if you watch it change through the seasons, hillsides shifting from summer gold to a deep green in Spring. It’s the kind of place that might make one want to, say, take a stroll…. purple and yellow wildflowers on the sloping hills, river winding its way through the valley past oak trees and blackberry bushes.

It’s odd, then, that the last time a few friends and I decided to do such a thing (stroll that is) we found ourselves climbing over a private gate marked “No Trespassing” in order to access a great view of Troublemaker Rapid. Supposedly the property belonged to a friend of a friend of a friend…. So there’s been a bit of a void in the area in terms of hiking trails and public access to those beautiful, stroll-inspiring hills.

Thankfully, the American River Conservancy decided 15 years ago to fill that void, and has since then successfully acquired 2000 acres of land along the South Fork American River. The goal is to create an 8 mile trail that would extend from Greenwood Creek near Highway 49 down through the Lower South Fork Gorge, and end on Salmon Falls Bridge at Folsom Lake.

The trail is scheduled for completion this coming summer (2006), but the Conservancy is still in need of funding for its construction. For a preview of what’s to come and legal access to some riverside views, check out the Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park next time you’re in the area. You can stroll freely, admiring the wildflowers and rolling river while munching on blackberries. Or wave at rafts as they go by and scare first-timers by yelling out warnings for “Killer Fang Falls” around the corner. (If being an outlaw sounds more exciting, have your people call my people.)

For more information on how to help this trail become a reality and keep my friends and I out of jail, go to:

Thanks to the Conservancy, The Bureau of Land Management, and El Dorado County for all their efforts in creating another way for us to enjoy this beautiful river canyon.


Back to Top

Email Newsletter

Get season updates, latest rafting videos & blogs, plus enter to Win a Free Trip for Two! Learn more