Fresh Tracks: Three trail loops

Published: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3D

AMERICAN CANYON TRAIL TO DEAD TRUCK TRAIL LOOP

Cool

Length: 5.3 miles

Directions to trailhead: From Sacramento, take Interstate 80 to the Elm Avenue exit in Auburn. Make two lefts onto Highway 49. Drive 2.5 miles down to the American River Confluence. Turn right at the confluence to stay on Highway 49. After reaching the town of Cool, turn left on Highway 193. Go about 5 miles and turn left at Pilgrim Court. (The street sign is only on the righthand side.) The trailhead, marked "American Canyon Third Gate," is located before the entrance to the Auburn Lakes Estates. Park on the side of the road.

Route: From the trailhead, go 0.8 miles downhill on American Canyon Trail. Make a sharp right-hand turn, heading briefly toward Sliger Mine Road. At the next intersection with the Robie/Western States Trail, heading both left and right, go straight to stay on the American Canyon Trail. Cross two creeks and continue on a ridge to the Dead Truck Trail junction. Turn right uphill until the Dead Truck Trail intersects with the Robie Trail. Turn right and head back to junction with the American Canyon Trail. Retrace your steps, this time going uphill, back to the trailhead.


QUARRY/BROWN'S BAR/COOL LOOP

Auburn/Cool

Length: 12 miles

Directions to trailhead: From Sacramento take Interstate 80 to the Elm Avenue exit in Auburn. Make two lefts onto Highway 49. Drive 2.5 miles down to the American River Confluence. Turn right at the confluence to stay on Highway 49. Make a quick left into the Quarry Trailhead parking lot. Cost is $10 per vehicle. Or you can use a yearly state parks Poppy Pass to park.

Route: From the trailhead, go 3.5 miles on the Quarry Road (veering slightly right and uphill at a picnic area 1 mile in) to the signed Brown's Bar junction. Go uphill 1.1 miles to the Western States/Robie trail. Turn right and go 0.3 miles to the unsigned Goat Hill Trail on the right. (It's a noticeable switchback heading uphill.) Ascend Goat Hill and continue for about 2.5 miles on a technical single-track with distinct elevation gains and losses until you reach the upper Highway 49 crossing. Cross carefully and follow the trail to a meadow in Cool. Veer right and follow brown signs for the Robie/Western States Trail downhill about 2 miles to the confluence. You'll need to cross Highway 49 again to get to the Quarry parking lot.


QUARRY/AMERICAN CANYON/ ROBIE TRAIL, COOL LOOP

Auburn/Cool

Length: 21 miles

Directions to trailhead: Same as the 12-mile route

Route: Follow the Quarry Trail (which becomes the Western States Trail) beyond Brown's Bar to the junction at Maine Bar. Turn right uphill, then take a quick left, following by a right onto the brown-signed Waterfall/American Canyon Trail. Go 1.2 miles and cross a rocky creek to continue on the American Canyon Trail going uphill. At the Dead Truck junction, continue on American Canyon over two creeks for about 2 miles to the Robie/Western States Trail. Turn right and go about 7 miles. After crossing a wooden bridge, turn left (still on the Robie/Western States Trail) and go 0.3 miles to the Goat Hill turnoff. The rest of the route is the same as the 12-mile course.

Difficulty: Moderate (American Canyon); strenuous (12- and 21-mile courses)

Exposure: Shaded on American Canyon Trail and most of Western States/Robie Trail; sun exposure on Quarry Trail.

Toilets: At Quarry trailhead

Water: No

Parking fee: $10 at Quarry trailhead; free at American Canyon – Third Gate.

Poison oak possibility: Moderate

Probability of getting lost:Pay attention to signs.

Will there be blood? Some of the single-track is rocky, and it is slick after rains.

– Sam McManis

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