Salmon Falls Trail

Official and less known name is the Darrington Trail
Technical Level: Beginner Plus
Strenuous Level:  Intermediate (just because its long and hot)
Altitude Gain: Minimal -- Up and Down a lot, but no major altitude change
The Ride: 10 miles one way, 20 miles round trip Mostly wide single track
Where:  Salmon Falls Road north east of Folsom.
When: All year, but its really hot in the summer

To get There:

 Map marking Trail Head

From Sacramento:  Take Highway 50 East towards Lake Tahoe to Folsom Blvd.  Head North East on Folsom Blvd. towards Folsom for about a mile.  Turn Right (East) on Blue Ravine Road.  Continue on Blue Ravine several miles to Salmon Falls Road in Eldorado Hills (Note that Blue Ravine turns into GreenValley road at the Albertson's shopping center).  Salmon Falls road is the first left after Fransisco Road.  Take Salmon Falls road about 5 miles to the American River.  You will pass a sign on your left pointing to the Folsom Lake SRA, and immediately after this sign, you will see the bridge crossing the south fork of the American River.  Just before the bridge on the left is free parking in the dirt.  There are 3 paved parking lots near the bridge but they cost $2.  Park that 4 wheeled beast, and get out the bi-wheeled destroyer.  Cross the bridge, the trail head is on the left hand side of the road on the North West Side of the bridge.  Just after crossing the bridge, there is a paved parking lot on the left hand side (North West side).  At the end of the parking lot closer to the bridge is the Salmon Falls Trail Head.

The Ride

The Trail follows Folsom Lake and ends up in Peninsula Park.  At the very beginning there are several turns, but they all quickly rejoin.  The first few miles are treacherous!!  There are big drop offs, and it is pretty strenuous, but it gets easier!  There are lots of possible courses on this trail, but they all end up in the same place (except the 4 way intersection described below).  Several miles into the trail, you will ride down into a small valley on nasty rutted fire road and cross a small creek (that may or may not have water in it).  You will ride across a small open plane and then the trail will Y.  Both directions rejoin in a few miles, but you wouldn't know that unless I told you!  Try one direction on the way and the other on the way back.

Critical Turns:
At the very end of the trial, there is a 4 way marked intersection on fire road.  Go straight through this intersection towards Peninsula Park.  In about a mile you will come out on a paved road.  Turn right and stay on this road, you're now in Peninsula Park.  In a half mile or so, there is a really nice grassy area with some trees and water.  Take a break and get ready to head back!!  All the other turns on this trail are either marked or obvious.  You won't have any trouble!

The Trail

This trail has many faces.  The first part is on red dirt with lots of Manzanita.  The first few hundred yards is straight up, GREAT climbing!!  Good area for an after work hill training session.  I do it 10 times for a good workout.  The rest of the trail is rolling, but there aren't any big climbs.
ITS EXTREMELY HOT on this trail.  I saw one guy get so dehydrated he was foaming at the mouth!!  There is water available at Peninsula Park, but its a long way to get there.  This trail is not covered very well, and the red amplifies the heat, so I'd be very careful if its hot!

Trail Details:

 Thanks to John Foss, the unicyclone for the pictures!!
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