Health & Fitness

Weekend Hike: American Canyon Trail

The American Canyon Trail has a few stream crossings, but the flow likely won’t be this strong at this time of year.
The American Canyon Trail has a few stream crossings, but the flow likely won’t be this strong at this time of year. Sacramento Bee file

So numerous are the Auburn State Recreation Trails that many, sadly, never step foot on the lovely American Canyon Trail in Cool, a path that parallels a creek with – gasp! – actual water flowing in this most parched of summers.

Need another reason to make the long drive to park just outside the gates of the private Auburn Lakes Estates? You also get to trod upon the colorfully named Dead Truck Trail, and, if you look hard, you can even see said rusting truck. And you get to complete a loop that has some climbing but is only about 5 miles, a nice change from the long, ultra-runner death marches on other Auburn recreation area trails.

Oh, did I mention there are a couple of stream crossings? Yeah, so, there’s that, too. But don’t be a doofus like your correspondent and slip on the jutting rocks in Hoboken Creek and wind up in the emergency room with six stitches on your typing fingers.

Weekend Hike: 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 right-hand 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 very 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 the junction with the American Canyon Trail. Retrace your steps, this time going uphill, back to the trailhead.

Toilets: No

Parking: Free

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