LENGTH: <11 miles (most guides give a range, but with added loops there’s even more trail)
DIFFICULTY: low-to-moderate, some hill climbs
DIST FROM SACRAMENTO: 45 mins, via 80E
DIST FROM GRASS VALLEY: 35 mins, via CA 49S
LOCATION: Right outside of Auburn = 15800 Foresthill Rd, Foresthill, CA 95631 (use this, NOT Google Maps’ location for “Foresthill Divide Trailhead”) BONUS: you cross over the tallest bridge in California!
NOTE: You have to pay $10 to park at the trailhead…so be sure you’ve got cash/check on you. I can tell you now…they patrol frequently and no finger crossing will spare you the ticket!!
Foresthill Divide is a single-track trail. For those of you still learning biking lingo, it’s slated for mountain bikes first and foremost, which is good to keep in mind. I wasn’t the only hiker when I went, but I could count on both hands the number of people I passed who weren’t on two wheels.
As long as you don’t mind stepping off the trail now and then, you’ll be fine. All the bikers I met were courteous and careful for my safety…to the point where my new name became “HIKER!!!” We played a strange game of tag where I’d catch up to a group of bikers resting for a minute, they’d see me and take off to avoid passing me again – hiker power, eh?
The trail is a loop, and if you’re feeling up for the long haul you can end up right back where you car started. I was more into exploring this first time around, so I started at the East parking lot (Grizzly Bear House Turnout, where the location above will get you to) and made it to the Rock-a-Chucky Trailhead and back. Rock-a-Chucky is on the map above Drivers Flat Road (and where there are bathrooms FYI). Between that stretch you’ll spot the American River, panoramic vistas rising above the dusty red trail and helpful mile markers to guide you along the path.
THUMBS UP: Shady for the most part, nicely marked trail, gentle hills, can get to the river if you want to swim.