Trails in Northern California

Trails in Northern California

Leave No Trace!

Visit for more information about Desolation Wilderness. Visit or call 1- 877-444-6777 to make park reservations. Visit Campfire Permits to get a permit online. More about Leave No Trace principles.

June 17, 2013

Stevens Trail in Colfax, CA

The 7.5-9 mile round trip on historic Stevens Trail is conveniently located near Colfax off I-80.  It is well maintained, offers excellent canyon views, and is lavishly adorned with wildflowers in the spring! 

Parking is provided, and there is a bathroom at the trailhead.

As noted,  it is a 9 mile round trip, so well suited for a whole day hike.  You will hike down about 1200 feet and back up on your return.

After weaving through the shady woods, the trail opens out onto this old roadway.

You will soon find more wide woody sections.

Some sections are lush and lined with shrubby, riparian, wildflower dotted and narrow trail.  It is easy to follow though. 

As things get more of the western exposure, they dry up considerably, making it best to start your hike before the heat has set in.

This wonderful stream crosses the trail.  No wet feet necessary; rocks are there to step across.  Carry water in since this is not acceptable drinking water.

 There is poison oak and there are also cougar warnings.  Best hiked in groups making some noise to avoid surprising wildlife.  Keep kids close to adults.

At last, views of the length of the canyon open up.

Along this section, some turn back for fear of heights!  The trail is almost flat
but spooky views aren't for the faint of heart!

Far below is the river, your destination. 
The openness of the views can bring on vertigo!  (Chuckle)

Stevens Trail wildflowers are colorful distractions!

I started out a bit late in the day, and it gets HOT along the canyon walls.

On your return, it is a pleasure to re-enter the riparian, moist cool woods.

I found some great information for my hike at MVTA.

  • From I80, take the Canyon Way exit at Colfax and follow the frontage road east (to your left), alongside the freeway.  It will take you to the parking.
  • Do not park on the roadway please.  Use the provided parking for the trail.  The restroom is in the parking lot.
  • Again, take water and snacks.  Try to arrive early for parking and a cool hike.  Leave your plans with someone at home and allow enough time to hike out before sunset.

For a fabulous set of GPS tracks you can send to your iPhone, and a detailed description of the trail, go to Everytrail.
For more trail reviews by Peachy Hiker:   Trails by Location