This is one of my favorite hikes of all times. I would take Kasey here when she was only a few months old and would let her walk as much as she wanted to and then picked her up and carried her the rest of the way. Boating-wise, the confluence of the two rivers has somehow always been sacred to me...
Just on the east side of Auburn spanning over the North Fork of the American River looms the Foresthill Bridge. Erected in 1973 at 731 feet tall, it was then, the second tallest bridge in the world and today, is only dwarfed by four other bridges in the US. It remains the tallest bridge in California and stars in the opening sequence with Vin Diesel in the movie XXX
http://www.maps.google.com/ and cut and paste this coordinate in the search prompt field: 38.922441,-121.038716
Hiking, biking, boating and swimming activities abound here. This is how I recommend your day.
Start your day off by heading over to Auburn and exiting Maple Street to enjoy a brunch (closed on Monday and Tuesday) at Latitudes Organic restaurant: http://latitudesrestaurant.com/ They change the menu every year to reflect a chosen latitude of a country serving organic good stuff from menus around the world. It is always a fresh idea full with flavor and never a question for your artfully colorful, discerning, taster's pallette.
Then dust off the sneakers and go for a sight seeing tour by heading over to Foresthill Road, driving across the bridge and parking on the other side. Take a brief walk over the bridge for some spectacular sight seeing. Note all of the hiking and mountain biking trails that meander through the canyon below.
Then keep going in the same direction away from Auburn toward Foresthill and make the first turn to the right. You just turned off Foresthill Road and onto Old Forest Hill Road. Had the Auburn Dam been built, much of the confluence and valley of the North and Middle forks of the American River would have been drowned, taking the older road, bridge and trails with it. Follow the Old Foresthill Road down into the canyon where you will cross the older but still commanding bridge. The easier path is to the east of the bridge following the banks of the river upstream under the Foresthill Bridge and further upstream yet to more beaches, swimming holes and eventually Lake Clementine.
Lake Clementine is accessible via road also ( 38.920288,-121.003611 ) and the springtime overflow is not to be missed! http://www.waterfallswest.com/ . Upper Lake Clementine Road ends in a very big beach along side the river. I have come here on weekends and it is packed. The gravel roads will give you an excuse to find an ecologically friendly way to wash your car ( 38.967751,-120.974536 ).
Alternatively, you can just hike on either side of the bridge to go under the bridge and relax in the cool waters as it flows between the spans. The bridge itself provides a parasol for those that seek shade. The demarcation is obvious and those that worship the sun can sit on the other side of the line. All of these trails are clearly marked and difficult to get lost. (38.916268,-121.035495)
There is plenty of parking on either side of the bridge and overflow parking all the way to the Highway 49 (the third bridge in the area). There are more easy and difficult hiking trails here. Consult google maps for other nearby trails.
I also recommend Ikeda's in Auburn. http://www.yelp.com/biz/ikedas-california-country-market-auburn They always have the right hot sauces in the summer and the most perfect pies this side of the Atlantic.
Another nearby hike is Hidden Falls http://www.placer.ca.gov/Departments/Facility/parks/hiddenfalls.aspx
it is a park near Auburn (38.956022,-121.16405)
A large Mountain Biking and Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) or all terrain, mostly dirt bikes area is very nearby, http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1343 , ( 38.920288,-121.003611 )
Hikes in and around Auburn are easy look-ups with google and maps.google.com as well as images.google.com and of coarse via emailing me...
Have a great day! Get out there. Bring the kids!
Roz is two to three weeks from finishing her Indian Ocean Row. She will be the first woman to row across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. She will be making a guest appearance in mid-October in San Francisco Bay Area for a welcome back home party! Go to http://www.rozsavage.com/ and stay tuned.
If you like what you see on this blog, please share it with your friends. Or better yet, call up a friend and go for a hike!