Technical Level: Advanced plus
Strenuous Level: Advanced
Altitude Gain: 1200 ft
4.5 miles one way, 9 miles total
Colfax, off of Interstate 80
All year, but its hot in the summer and prone to washing out in winter
Recommended Hiking trail (although Mountain Biking is legal)
To get There:
marking Trail Head
From Sacramento: Take Interstate 80 North towards Auburn. Colfax
is about 15 miles North East of Auburn. Get off on the first exit past
Canyon Way. This exit is labeled as the "Grass Valley, Colfax" exit.
Exit to your right, and then immediately veer left (sharp left is back
onto the interstate). This road parallels Interstate 80 on the East
side of the Interstate. Take the road until just after it turns to gravel.
On the left is a dirt parking area and a sign marking the start of the
The Hike or Ride
The trail head is at the end of the dirt parking area. There are
a couple turns and several trails that T into this trial, but it is well
All the turns are marked, but one is easy to miss. About a mile
or so into the ride, there is a sign with a hiker telling you to turn right
(turn right here). The next 1/4 mile or so is on wide fireroad.
1/4 after the hiker sign there is a really steep fireroad going up to your
right. Immediately after, there is a small single track trail to
the left with a sign a few feet into the trail. Turn here, don't
get going fast down the hill, and miss this turn.
I don't recommend this trail for Mountain Biking. It is EXTREMELY
technical. The trial is almost all single track, really tight single
track. The trail is carved into the side of an extremely steep hillside
(actually its a cliff in some spots). The trial is only a foot and
a half or so wide for most of the steep parts. So on the way down,
there is a wall on your left, and a huge drop off on your right.
This combined with very rocky and steep trail makes it very difficult to
ride. But advanced riders could handle it. The reason I suggest
that you don't ride it is the number of hikers on the trail. This
area is very popular for hikers around the Sacramento area, with lots of
families, and lots of kids. I would estimate that on the weekends,
you will pass a hiker every quarter mile or so. There are parts of
the trail that are so steep that it is difficult to keep your speed under
control, and the chances of running down a hiker (especially children)
are pretty good.
OK, so I talked you out of riding it. How about hiking it?
This is trail has some of the best vistas in the Sacramento area.
It is a lot like the Clementine Loop in
Auburn, but its much prettier. The canyon is about 1000 feet deep,
but it is not very wide, which means really steep hillsides. At the
bottom there is a beautiful river with some great swimming holes.
When you get to the bottom you will come out on a sandy area that is great
for camping. Just a little ways down stream is some big rocks and
a cool swimming hole. I saw several other places along the trail
that would be fun to swim in.
This would be a fairly strenuous hike. It is 9 miles round trip,
and a 1200 foot climb. Remember on the way down that you have climb
That's me unicycling the trail!