Trails in Northern California

Trails in Northern California

Leave No Trace!

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February 11, 2016

Training Hill, Auburn, CA Feb. 2016

For a trail to get your cardiac workout on, and for now, a view of the snow-capped Sierras, this is your best hike in the Sacramento and surrounding area.

This sign is at the bottom of the Training Hill, but it isn't too late to take the easy trail to the left.  (WST is Western States Trail, also known as Wendell T Robie.)

Distance:  The Training Hill is 2.4 miles out and back from the trailhead.  You can extend this hike to much more using other options including the Olmstead Loop and Western States Trail.  Check Wikiloc or EveryTrail for GPS tracks.
Difficulty:  This one is short, but unless you are already fit, it is a hard one.  The trail is a rocky, washed out, mess.  Really fun for hiking-fitness enthusiasts!  This honestly is the best possible training hike near the valley. ASRA reports the grade at 16%-30% in 1.2 miles. You will LOVE the 16% breaks!

  • Poison oak in this area.  
  • Steep and has poor footing.  Take care to evaluate what you and your group are up to.  
  • Horses are allowed on these trails.  Please defer to them if you meet them along your way.  
  • Bears and cougars have been seen in the area in the past.  Keep your eyes open.  Keep your dog with you for safety.

Driving Directions: From I-80 take the exit marked CA-49S (toward Placerville) and 193E (toward Georgetown).  You will turn left at the signal just off the freeway onto Elm and at the next signal you will turn left again.  Follow the signs to CA49 and 193.  When you see the river, watch for the split where you can go straight ahead or across the river.  When you cross it, park along the right hand side (for free, while all other nearby parking has fees).  Park a bit diagonally as a courtesy to fit as many cars as possible along that stretch and to make it easier for everyone to get out back onto the road.
If you are coming from CA-50, you can use CA-49N, following signs to Auburn and Cool.  The road will have hairpin turns shortly before you reach the parking mentioned above, just before crossing the river.  (You can GPS from your location to Cool, then continue on 49 to this parking).
The "No Hands" Bridge, or "Railroad Quarry" Bridge
To Hike:  Go through green gate 150 near the parking along the highway, next to the river.  Head toward the Quarry Bridge, a beautiful historic bridge with classic arches. Look down into the river you see old mining remnants.
This shot was taken standing on the Quarry Bridge looking back to the CA-49 bridge.
 Just before the No Hands Bridge there is a narrow trail heading off to the left which has a sign marking mileage for Cool or Auburn, which points you toward the Training Hill and WST (Western States Trail, also referred to on some maps and signs as the Wendell T Robie Trail.)  The trail doubles back toward the road and through the trees and you can see the bridge and river.
This part of the trail is easy with some ups and downs.
 Arriving at the fork of the WST and the Training Hill, there is a sign you can't miss. You can get an idea of the difficulty, keeping in mind the trail rises sharply, but does have level sections.
WST is to the left and the Training Hill to the right. It is grueling going up until you are in great condition, and going down is....grueling.  If you see the Training Hill and get intimidated, you can hike up the WST.  It is beautiful and fairly easy.
Brace yourselves!
Some sections are wet, slippery at this time (February), with wet pine needles adding to slick footing.  There is significant water damage to the trail that helps me with footing.
The photos do not capture the steepness of the hill~just sayin'.  Be prepared.
This is a wonderful spot and in person the view is 
refreshing as you hike the mile upward.
A lot of the trail has stickers and shrubs beside it but there are 
some openings and small meadow areas to rest in.
Like I said, the camera can't capture what the eye can.  You can enjoy Sierra snow caps from this large meadow to the left of the trail near the top.
The fact that it was wet and slippery in some sections made me take small steps and traverse to avoid falling. This is hard on knees too so if you have even an older knee injury, at least bring a brace just in case.  Hiking poles help avoid slips too.
Olmstead Loop at the top of the Training Hill in Auburn, CA.
Olmstead Loop is, in fact, a loop that begins at the top of the hill which winds through trees but is a giant meadow area.  From it you can return to the cars following signs to the WST to Auburn (this way is 4.7 miles, and less steep) and by taking the first trail that forks to the left through the meadow. Its the shortest trail to WST that looks a bit narrow, very well traveled, still heading southeast, then nearer the trees will end up heading basically north. The WST will run parallel to the highway when it gets near the parking, but its up higher and in the trees. Or just hike down the Training Hill.
Wikiloc has tracks for this hike.

Happy Trails!
For more trails in the Auburn area:
Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA) and Surrounding Areas
2.4-4.7 mile keyhole
Very steep with poor footing.
3 miles
1+ miles
Easy trail with minor creek crossing
About 10 miles
Moderate due to distance and unclear markings
3-7 miles
Easy with a minor creek crossing
3+ (I did 9) miles
2.8 miles
5.75 miles
Up to 19 miles available trails
Easy +
4.5 miles
4.3-18.9 available miles
Easy - Strenuous
Mossy Rock Trail (starts at Stagecoach)
Under 2 miles

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Updated with links 06-2016