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Upcoming adventures: The best way to honor our trails? Take a hike

Celebrating National Trails Day in Northern California is easy because of the proximity, variety and number of trail systems.

This Saturday marks the 14th observance of National Trails Day, a day when millions of Americans take to the outdoors to enjoy trails on foot, bike or even horseback. Events across the country include trail maintenance, educational workshops and trail dedications.

The organizer of the observance -- the American Hiking Society -- hopes that, one day, a nationwide network of trails will link communities much like the interstate highway system.

While that dream is a ways off, some very dreamy trails are ready now. Though parts of it still have snow, the scenic 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail is a good place to begin experiencing the magnitude and scope of the existing American trail system.

Hikers can use the day to get up to speed, so to speak, for the Tahoe Rim Trail Association's 165-Mile Anniversary Hike, which kicks off Aug. 25.

This hike will take place over 11 days, covering an average of 18 miles a day. It is a fundraiser for the association and part of its 25th anniversary celebration from June to November.

That special hiking group is limited to 20 people (and each participant is asked to raise or donate $1,500 to help the Tahoe Rim Trail Association maintain the trail), but that shouldn't stop you from making this the year you explore this jewel. To sign up for the anniversary hike, or for more information: (775) 588-2603 or www.tahoerimtrail.org.

This weekend, get to know the Tahoe Rim Trail in a California State Parks event at Emerald Bay-Rubicon State Park on Saturday. Activities will include trail maintenance; an easy-to-moderate six-mile day hike with a lunch break at Emerald Bay; and a moderate, two- to three-mile evening hike. Campsites are available for the night. Bring your own gear and food. For reservations and more information: (775) 298-0012 or e-mail marloweb@tahoerimtrail.org

The Coloma-Lotus Chamber of Commerce is hosting its third annual American River TrailFest fundraiser, "Extending Trails, Connecting People," next week.

The event is from 6 to 10 p.m. June 12 at Earthtrek Expeditions Camp, River Park Village, Highway 49 at the bridge over the south fork of the American River in Coloma. Attendees will enjoy live performances, food and beverages, a silent auction and arts and crafts activities. Proceeds will go to the American River Conservancy's trail construction projects and land purchases along the American River.

The cost is $35 general, $10 for ages 16 and under. You can purchase tickets at Sierra Nevada House, at the corner of Lotus Road and Highway 49 in Coloma, or at the American River Conservancy Nature Center, 348 Highway 49 in the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park in Coloma. The Nature Center is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. For more information: (530) 621-1224, www.coloma.com/trailfest, or e-mail trailfest@coloma.com.

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