BLM Area in California
On its journey to the North Fork American River, this 4.5 mile long (9 miles round trip) trail meanders along a canyon, presenting a series of spectacular views of the famous Gold Rush era river. You'll pass a high railroad bed, the infamous China wall built by Chinese laborers. Several mine shafts beside the trail help put you in touch with the canyon's storied past and warm you up for some recreational gold panning from the miners' flats along the river.
Follow I-80 East to Colfax then follow the frontage road (North Canyon Way) past Colfax cemetery to the trailhead. The trail is open to hikers, mountain bikes and horseback riding. Please remember to be courteous and yield to horses.
When to go: Year-round
The Stevens Trail was built in 1859 by Truman Allen Stevens, who ran a ranch in Iowa Hill and a livery stable in Colfax. He built the trail and a bridge crossing the North Fork and charged a toll to the miners. The bridge has been gone for many years so the trail now ends on the west shore of the North Fork.
This former livery trail is gently sloping and provides some stunning views of the Wild and Scenic American River. Along the way to your left above you is the railroad line on Cape Horn where chinese laborers built the railroad bed by dangling in hanging baskets from the cliff above. The trail now ends where Secret Ravine meets the North Fork.
You will also see other signs of early mining along the way. Stay out of any mine shafts you may encounter along the trail. These shafts are deep and extrememly dangerous.
Spring walks along the trail will reward hikers with some beautiful wildflower displays. Dogwoods and redbuds represent the larger flowering plants, while baby blue eyes, shooting stars, monkey flowers, and lupines brighten the lower plant canopies.
There has recently been a large increase in the number of hikers using the Stevens Trail. This high use has exceeded the capacity of parking for vehicles. To add to the parking shortage, private property which was available in the past is no longer open to use by the public. When parking along North Canyon Way be sure to park along side the road out of the thoroughfare. Do not block driveways and please respect private property rights. Vehicles parked on private property are being towed away.
Share this page on Facebook:
DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)
SEARCH THIS SITE
Click here to see current desert temperatures!