In the heart of the gold country, the Auburn State Recreation Area (Auburn SRA) covers 40-miles of the North and Middle Forks of the American river. Once teeming with thousands of gold miners, the area is now a natural area offering a wide variety of recreation opportunities to over 900,000 visitors a year.
Major recreational uses include hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, camping, mountain biking, gold panning, equestrian/horseback riding trails and off-highway motorcycle riding. Whitewater recreation is also very popular on both forks of the river, with Class II, III and IV runs. Over 30 -private outfitters are licensed to offer whitewater trips in Auburn SRA.
Auburn SRA is made up of the lands set aside for the Auburn Dam. California State Parks administers the area under a contract with the US Bureau of Reclamation.
FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES OVERVIEW
Four primitive campgrounds are available in the Auburn State Recreation Area. Camping is limited to 14 consecutive days, with a 30 day total camping limit per year. Camping is only allowed in the following designated areas:
MINERAL BAR - (off Iowa Hill Road)
On the east side of the North Fork American River, where the Colfax Iowa Hill Road crosses the river. There are 18 designated campsites with tables, firepits, and dry toilets. No drinking water is available. A narrow paved road serves the campground. There is a 14 day camping limit. From Hwy 80 in Colfax exit at Canyon Way, head north on Canyon way turn right onto Iowa Hil Rd. 3 mile paved road to sites and river.
RUCK-A-CHUCKY - (Drivers Flat Rd. off Foresthill Rd.)
Five primitive campsites are located on the north side of the river on the Placer County side. Toilets and trash cans are provided. No drinking water is available. The campground is at the end of a 2.5 mile gravel/dirt road. Vehicles with high clearance are strongly recommended. The road can be closed during inclement weather. From Hwy 80 exit at Foresthill Rd. Going towards Foresthill turn right onto Drivers Flat Road, a 2.5 mile dirt road down to the site and river.
BOAT-IN CAMPING AT LAKE CLEMENTINE - (Lake Clementine Rd. off Foresthill Rd.)
Boat-in camping in 15 primitive sites with pit-toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings. Directions: From Hwy 80 exit at Foresthill. Follow Foresthill Rd. 3.5 miles, then turn left at Lake Clementine Rd. Follow 2 miles down to the boat ramp. There is no vehicle access to the camp areas, which are accesible only by boat. No drinking water is available and dogs are not allowed. There is a 14 day camping limit.
Permits are available for camping in some areas outside of the designated campgrounds for those rafting the American River only from October 16th to June 31st. River Permit camping is prohibited July 1st- Oct. 15, due to high fire danger. Information and permits are available at the Auburn SRA Ranger Station, 501 El Dorado Street in Auburn.
Over 100 miles of hiking and horse trails wind through the steep American River canyons and along the North and Middle Forks of the American River. The most famous trail is the Western States Trail, which runs 100 miles from Lake Tahoe to Auburn, with over 20 miles in park. A map showing the trails is available from the park office. See the Mountain Bike category for more information on mountain bike trails.
The major trail heads are as follows:
Pleasant Avenue in Auburn City. This trail head and horse assembly area is at the end of the Western States Trail and connects with trails going to Cool, Foresthill and other park trails in El Dorado County. Traveling west, the trail connects to Maidu Drive and the Auburn-Folsom-Sacramento trail system. Plenty of horse trailer parking.
Maidu Drive (off Auburn-Folsom Road), Auburn. This trail connects to the Auburn-Folsom-Sacramento trail system. Limited parking.
Highway 49 at the North Fork American River and the Old Foresthill Road. Known as the "Confluence", due to the meeting of the North and Middle Forks, this area is the main trail head area for hiking & mountain biking. Trails from this area lead to Lake Clementine, Mammoth Bar, Auburn (Russell Road) and along the North Fork. Nearby is the Quarry Road Trail, on Hwy. 49. Roadside parking is available. Often very crowded on summer week-ends.
Quarry Road Trail, Highway 49, 1/4 mile south of the North Fork American River. Connects with Western States Trail and all trails in El Dorado County (south of the American River). Limited parking in a small lot.
Cool Fire Station Trail Head. Behind the fire station is the parking and trail head for the 10 mile Omstead trail and connector trails. Plenty of parking, including horse trailers.
State, County and Park roads open to motor vehicles, are also open to bicycling under the conditions contained in the Vehicle Code. The maximum speed on all trails is 15 MPH. The maximum speed is 5 MPH when passing pedestrians, equestrians, and when approaching blind curves. Mountain biking and other bicycling is allowed on certain roads and trails in Auburn S.R.A.
The following areas are open to bicycling:
Stagecoach Trail which runs from Russell Road in Auburn to the Old Foresthill Road Bridge on the North Fork of the American River and connects with the fire road to the west end of the big Foresthill Bridge.
Old Lake Clementine Road Trail which runs from the Old Foresthill Road Bridge to Lake Clementine Road.
The Fire Break Trail which runs from Lake Clementine Road to the Auburn Foresthill Road near the Foresthill Bridge, with the connecting Culvert Trail to Mammoth Bar.
Trails and roads in the Mammoth Bar off-highway vehicle area located off the Old Foresthill Road.
Mammoth Bar to the Confluence trail.
Quarry Road Trail, from Hwy. 49 to Poverty Bar on the North Fork American River.
The Omstead Loop trail, starting behind the fire station in Cool, on Highway 49, El Dorado County.
The park (which is 20 miles long on two forks of the American River) is situated south of Interstate 80, stretching from Auburn to Colfax. The main access is from Auburn, either on Highway 49 or the Auburn-Foresthill Road.
Auburn, CA - Latitude/Longitude: 38.8967 / -121.0758