Trails in Northern California

Trails in Northern California

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September 12, 2011

Auburn/Cool, CA "Training Hill" and WST

A new article has been written, with updates for 2016.

An excellent training trail for equestrians, runners and hikers, climbing 1052 feet in about a mile.   Located at Highway 49 at Foresthill Road.

"No Hands Bridge"

At the Confluence there is $10 fee now for parking. It isn't alongside 49 yet.

Elevation Profile graph for perspective about the trail's challenge! 
ASRA reports grade at 16%-30% in 1.2 miles. 

Distance: 2.4 or more out and back miles, or you can make it a longer loop but easier, using other trail options.  Training Hill returning by WST is 4.7 miles.  Links for GPS tracks posted just above included maps at the end of this article.
Difficulty: Very strenuous, steep

Ascent: 1052 feet to climb in .9 miles per my GPS; starts at 607 feet elevation.

That doesn't count the beginning of the hike from Gate 150 to the start of the Training Hill itself.  The greatest reward of this hike is the fitness and is used by runners, equestrians, and hikers for conditioning. There are some views, but you can find better ones with less work! There are no bathrooms or water supplies along the way, although the Quarry Trail across the highway has vault toilets.

The American River was especially low that day.

Update: Sept. 8th, 2012 same low water levels.

This is the fork to look for; head toward Cool, to your left, leaving the old road. The trail looks narrow but widens out shortly.  It will traverse to the left until the next fork.
"1.4 miles to the Olmstead Loop".
 The following photos do little justice depicting how steep the trail feels as you ascend the 1,000 feet or so in a .9 mile space!  If you do not turn uphill here, you will be on the Western States Trail also known as Wendell T Robie Trail.  It is a gradual uphill that parallels Highway 49 partway.

It is particularly grueling going up through all this rugged track,

but going down is...just as grueling.  FUN for challenge seekers!

I have met people on the trail who just carry water and are fit enough to barely break a sweat and still converse.  But note there isn't much of any resting place and the ground is covered in those burly stickers and very dusty dirt!  Shady relief comes and goes.  I enjoy the ragged footing and can make use of it like stairs rather than avoiding it for the flatter trail sides

Whenever I have hiked this trail, (September 9th, 2012) I have avoided looking ahead and pushed forward, glancing up only for planning the next few feet of climbing or descending!
If an equestrian comes along, please move aside and let them pass.

As you get to the top, you capture views and it opens out
into a large meadow if you keep going ahead.


There are numerous options for your return. 

  1. You can hike out the way you came. If you return on the Training Hill, you can see some pretty views of the Foresthill Bridge and the river canyon.
  2. Follow the Olmstead Loop to Cool, and back down WST.
  3. Take WST also known as Wendall T Robie Trail to your left and make a longer than Training Hill descent but an easier grade and trail.  It will follow along the highway and you do get some road noise.  In spring you get some pretty mini waterfalls and creeks.

 The trail is sometimes quiter narrow, but always visible.

 This is a memorial to a Tevis Cup Rider of days gone by.

The trail is deeply cut by years of use, especially by equestrians.

 In the spring and winter there are creeks and waterfalls to enjoy on the Western States Trail.

This is the American River near the Confluence as seen through the trees, across Highway 49,

 along the Western States Trail (Wendell T Robie Trail).

Map of Training Hill / Western States Trail Loop Option 3:  4.7 miles

Wikiloc has a posted tracks for GPS users out and back:
or the WST loop option and some great springtime photos.


The Training Hill out and back option map:

Peachy Hiker's Table of Contents including nearby Georgetown and Coloma.
Related Articles:
ASRA ~ Auburn State Recreation District

BLM ~ Bureau of Land Management
Near Auburn, CA
Happy Trails!
updated 9-2012