Auburn, CA

4 Picture-Perfect Trails You're Going to Love in Auburn State Recreation Area


In the low mountains just northeast of Auburn and Sacramento, there's a state recreation area unlike any other. With waterfalls, public beaches, great hiking and more, Auburn State Recreation Area will give you whatever kind of adventure you're looking for - and then some.

Whether you're just looking for a picturesque day in nature, or you really are doing it for the 'gram, these four trails in Auburn State Recreation Area will give you plenty of stunning views to enjoy:
Beautiful rivers and towering trees: a perfect setting for some awesome nature photos.Jon Flobrant | Unsplash

1. Calcutta Falls

The most popular trail in the park, Calcutta Falls is an easy 2.2 mile out-and-back hike that leads to a rushing California waterfall. It's well worth the easy trip to see the water plunging over the cliff. This is a great trail to take the whole family on.

The name Calcutta Falls sounds edgy, but the trail is picturesque and very safe. On this trail, you'll cross over a wooden bridge that offers a perfect photo opportunity. You can also take a short trail from the end of the hike to reach the water itself. Why not take a dip under the falls? It's a fantastic way to make a day trip out of this short hike.

Looking to get away from the crowds? There are multiple small trails that branch off of the main trail to Calcutta Falls. These lead to various smaller waterfalls along the river, where you can snap photos, enjoy a picnic, or even take a dip to cool off.

It's best to hike this trail sometime between April and September, because that's when the waterfall will be strongest.

2. Clark's Pool

If you're looking to beat the heat this summer, Clark's Pool trail is a fantastic place for it. This easy 4.4 mile trail will give you plenty of places to take a dip. It's also a great place to take your pup, as they can splash around and really enjoy the hike.

The Clark's Pool trail will also give you some absolutely stunning views. From this trail, you'll get perfect angles on the Forest Hill Bridge (the tallest in California), and the Clementine Dam.

If you do decide to take a dip, be sure to swim with caution. The operators at the dam upstream regularly release excess water - sometimes more than once a day. Keep an eye out for sudden changes in water level, and swim at your own risk.

That being said, the pools along this trail are a fantastic place to while away a summer's day. Remember to bring plenty of water - or even a beverage or two to enjoy by the shore.

3. American Quarry Trail - Middle Fork

Want to blend some history into your next hike? Check out the American Quarry Trail - Middle Fork. This trail follows what used to be a rail line that ran from a limestone mine. In WWII, the rails were torn up and melted down into metal to use in the war effort. Since then, the old rail bed has been transformed into a multi-use trail.

Because it used to be a train line, this trail is relatively flat and straight as an arrow for much of its length. If you're looking for a hike deep into the woods, this might not be the trail for you. Nevertheless, this trail gives you plenty of nature to experience as it follows the shoreline of the American River.

If you want, you can bring a full picnic to make a day trip out of this hike. There are plenty of picnic areas along the way. You can also choose to eat at the limestone ampitheater at the trail's end. You can even check out a small limestone cave on this trail.

4. American Canyon Trail

If you'd like a trail that has it all, the American Canyon trail is just what you need. Combining views of the river, the canyon, and even a waterfall, this 6.4 mile loop trail will give you a full dose of natural beauty.

If you're looking to take a dip, this trail also has plenty of spur trails that lead down to the water's edge. Remember to swim carefully.

One note of caution: This trail tends to get plenty of Poison Oak around the edges during the summertime. It's a great idea to wear pants, just to avoid a very itchy (and painful) situation.


Ready to snap some amazing photos of all that California has to offer? These four trails in Auburn State Recreation area won't disappoint. Which of these trails made it on your next hiking list? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Hiking, my friend.

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I am a travel writer and sustainable lifestyle blogger. As a world traveler, I love giving others tips on budget travel, new cultures, and how to see the planet in a sustainable, ethical way. I also write on being a digital nomad, hiking and outdoor activities, as well as living an adventurous lifestyle.

Santa Fe, NM

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