After completing Sweetwater Trail the rain had abated so we decided to continue our ride on Salmon Falls trail. Salmon Falls (Also called Darrington Trail) is one of the most popular trails near Sacramento. There is plenty of singletrack, a bit of climbing, and some fun technical sections.
The Salmon Falls trail forks in several places and as a rule of thumb the route which follows closest to the shoreline is the easiest route. This makes this a great trail for mixed groups, you can split at the forks and regroup when the trail merges back, allowing everyone to have a great ride.
Take Highway 50 East out of Sacramento to Eldorado Hills Boulevard. Exit on El Dorado Hills North and stay on El Dorado Hills for about 12 miles you reach Salmon Falls Bridge (Eldorado Hills Turns into Salmon Falls Road at Green Valley Road). Cross the bridge and turn left into the parking lot. The trail head is on the West end of the parking lot.
Salmon Falls - On a cold December morning I hooked up with the _trogs_ for a great kick butt ride that pushed all of our limits a bit. We started at Falcon Crest and rode all the way through Sweetwater, out Salmon Falls to Mickey Mouse and back. About 25-27 miles of up and down fun.
The trail starts out with a short moderately steep climb over loose rocks. When the trail forks we took the higher fork which includes more climbing and more technical riding. The short climb was particularly tough because the trail was slippery from the rain earlier in the day.
Pictured here is a short section of the trail seen from the opposite shore of the American River.
Ogre -=- May 27th 2003
Kevin Josh and Liz at the start of the ride
This photo shows almost the entire ride route. We started on the far shore in about the center of the photo. We headed East, away from the camera, to Salmon Falls Bridge which is just beyond the hills in this picture. After crossing the bridge we turned West and followed the shoreline to the base of Flagstaff hill.
When you hit the base of the hill you have the choice of either taking a left immediately after the the creek crossing to stay on the shoreline or biting the bullet and climbing straight up the face of the mountain. Today we went straight up without even slowing (I didn't even see the fork).
After the trail merges back with the lower trail the trail is fairly flat and winds in and out along the cliff face. This section of the trail is plainly visible from the road and from Salmon Falls Bridge.
The trail continues along the clifface for about 1 1/2 miles and eventually starts to curve away from the river/ lake. The trail descends a bit down to an old roadbed. The trail follows the roadbed for about 1 mile and ends at a short rutted climb which returns the trail to singletrack.
The next portion of the ride is a hilly/ wooded section with about 4 creek crossings. The creek crossings are almost always dry but they are challenging for beginning riders due to steep banks and lots of rocks. Today even though things were a bit slick from the rain we didn't even slow down for them.
After the last creek crossing there are some meadows (with cows today) then a small hill. From the crest of the hill we could see the old Salmon Falls Bridge. Here was our chance to bail. If we cut across the bridge it was only about 1-2 miles back to the car.... Hell no, it was still a bit chilly and the chance for rain was still there but we both wanted to go "just a little further".
We skipped the small trail off to the left which would take us to the old bridge and headed across the meadow. There is a moderate hill at the base of Flagstaff Hill (Mountain?). We took the right fork which goes up over the hill. This is the longest climb so far, but is really only about a 150' climb.