Location: Colfax, Ca
Features: Hiking trails, gold panning, river access, wildlife, bluffs, abandoned mine, caves, swimming hole, dog friendly, bathrooms at trailhead.
Parking: Large paved parking lot, with signage and bathrooms. (Don’t worry about this section unless you specifically find info about the parking situation).
Stevens Trail is 8 miles out and back. From the trailhead at 2,400ft, the trail drops steadily to the American River at about 1,200ft. Footing is solid when it’s not raining, but the trail is narrow in certain spots and drop-offs are fierce. When it’s wet don’t cross the creek – people have died attempting.
Turn around and hike back about 20 yards, at where you’ll see an alternate trail around the creek. Part way down this trail, is a divide: The upper route is for hikers and leads to the creek crossing we just mentioned, and a series of waterfalls. It continues back down and around to rejoin the main trail.
Stevens Trail is the last great hike before Tahoe area. Originally built as a toll road for pack mules between Colfax and the gold fields of Iowa Hill. It offers stellar views of this wild and scenic section of the river canyon. Be aware, the hike back up, is much more grueling as you’re going up the entire way.
Top 3 Adventure Hacks
1) Bring A Gold Pan to Stevens Trail
There’s access to creeks and river banks that have been known to produce gold.
2) Don’t Forget A Towel
If you’re hiking during the summer, you’ll want to jump in the pristine pools once you reach the river.
People love our premium outdoor Microfiber Towels.
3) Carry A Flashlight During The Day
There’s a neat abandoned mine on this trail, and a flashlight allows you to truly explore it.
This is our favorite Tactical Flashlight.
This trail is in Mountain Lion territory. Cougar sightings are rare, but they are definitely out there: NEVER hike or ride this trail alone. Keep your pets and children nearby.
Poison Oak – You CAN get poison oak in the winter, even without leaves. Stay on the trail. If you come in contact with poison oak, use cold water to rinse, and shower with dish soap as soon as you get home. Dish soap thins the oil.
Abandoned Mines – such as the one beside this trail are dangerous to enter. Unless you are trained and equipped for it, resist the urge to go exploring. That said, I’ve gone in this mine every hike 😉
Trail Dropoffs – Certain sections can be dangerous. Do not cross the creek if the water is high. People have died doing this.
Drinking Water – must be carried with you. Not only does this trail catch people of guard because of how easy it is during the initial downhill, the hike back is more grueling and you will get tired and thirsty. Creek and river water aren’t safe to drink. Unless you have a lifestraw.
Use the comments section to share your experience or ask questions.
To your next adventure!