Best Hiking And Trekking Spots In Sacramento, California

hiking in sacramento
| 4 min read

Just in case you are not aware of the landscape of Sacramento, California, this place is home to a number of parks, rivers, wetlands, as well as hills. Thus, if you think about it, this city is the perfect go-to tourist destination for travelers who wish to experience a good old hiking or trekking session. All of the trails range from those perfect for beginners to those more suited to experts. Moreover, these are also scattered in and near Sacramento, which makes it more versatile to the needs and wants of each type of hiker, trekker, or camper. Continue reading to learn more about the best hiking and trekking spots In Sacramento, California.

1. Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail

One of the best hiking spots in Sacramento is Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, also known by its other name, American River Parkway Trail. This urban trail sits along the banks of the American River and is a popular destination among hikers and bikers. The trail is 32 miles (51 kilometers) long and runs between Old Sacramento’s Discovery Park and Folsom Lake at Beal’s Point. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a novice, you will love this completely paved, two-lane trail. Most of this trail is level and offers plenty of shade for you to rest and enjoy the scenery.

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Nearby hiking and trekking spots

2. Blue Heron Trail

Hiking trail
Source: Pixabay

Among the famous hiking and trekking trails in Sacramento, Blue Heron Trail is relatively new. It’s located in Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, in the protected wetlands of Elk Grove. The place is perfect for observing migratory birds like hawks, shorebirds, cranes, and even waterfowls. Only 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) long, this place is ideal for those with strollers and wheelchairs. Blue Heron Trail is also famous among schools for field trips and educational visits. This trail is open for all levels of expertise. You can go on a walk or go bird-watching since it’s accessible all year round.

Blue Heron Trail

Address: 1624 Hood Franklin Rd, Elk Grove, CA 95757, United States

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3. Auburn State Recreation Area

Auburn State Recreation Area
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Robert Cutts used under CC BY 2.0

Auburn State Recreation Area is a trail located to the south of Interstate 80, from Auburn to Colfax. The trail is accessible from Auburn, either through Foresthill Road or Highway 49. You will start from the recreational area at the base of Auburn Dam. Going on this trail is a bit of a workout, but the breathtaking views will be worth it. You can also do other activities such as boating, camping, fishing, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Limited hunting and gold panning are also allowed with a permit. There are private outfitters in the area for people who love whitewater activities.

Auburn State Recreation Area

Address: 501 El Dorado St, Auburn, CA 95603, United States

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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4. Quarry Road Trail

Griffith Quarry Penryn California - panoramio (1)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Noah_Loverbear used under CC BY-SA 3.0

About 30-minutes outside Sacramento is Quarry Road Trail in Auburn. This trail is smooth and paved, so it’s perfect for people who want to go on short walks with infants in strollers. The trailhead is a short walking distance from the parking, and you need to pay a 10 USD parking fee. The route in this trail was used for limestone mining, so caves and railroads are familiar sights. There is a picnic area where families can enjoy a weekend together over sumptuous meals. A rock quarry and the ruins of an old bridge can also be seen around here.

Quarry Road Trail

Address: 150 CA-193, Auburn, CA 95603, United States

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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5. South Fork American River Trail

South Fork of the American River at Sutter's Fort, Coloma, California
Source: Photo by user Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

11 miles (18 kilometers) of trails make up South Fork American River Trail. The paths on this hiking trail span from Coloma to Sacramento and is perfect for hikers of all levels. You get to enjoy the fantastic scenery in this area no matter which trail you take. The rushing river, the verdant hills, beautiful forests, and canyons offer great views for both cameras and the naked eye. The trail caters to hikers all year round. The paths are all paved and smooth to keep the plants beside the trails undisturbed and to preserve their beauty.

South Fork American River Trail

Address: Pilot Hill, CA 95664, United States

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6. Mormon Island Cove Trail

Anderson Cove Trail, East Sooke Regional Park, British Columbia, Canada 07
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Michal Klajban used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Mormon Island Cove Trail is one of the most favored trails among runners. The tracks are smooth and paved, making them a beautiful place for leisure walks or jogging. There is an oak woodland that provides shade along the path, so there’s plenty of places to stop, rest, and admire the squirrels and woodpeckers up on the trees. You can access the trail from two major parking areas: there’s Mormon Island Cove on the west side and Browns Ravine on the east. These trails are frequented by mountain bikers and hikers. The peninsula in Folsom Lake, known as Mormon Island, is accessible when the water level is low.

Mormon Island Cove Trail

Address: El Dorado Hills, CA 95762, United States

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7. Down and Up Trail

If you live near Pilot Hill in California, then Down and Up Trail is one that is easily accessible for you. It is a trail loop that’s 4.4 miles (7 kilometers) long and is a moderately trafficked area. The path is rated moderate for hikers and is primarily used for hiking and bird watching. You can bring your dogs on the trail, but they need to be kept on a leash. The excellent forest setting makes for a beautiful place for observing migratory birds, wildflowers, and other wildlife. When hiking, you will begin at the kiosk on Cronan Ranch Road, which is the “up” portion of the trail. You get to enjoy the view of the valley once you’ve reached the highest point.

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8. West Ridge Trail

hiking in sacramento | west ridge trail
Source: instagram

Near the Aliso Viejo area in California, you will find West Ridge Trail. It is a moderate hiking path that offers a scenic view of the Pacific Ocean as well as the canyons of Laguna Coast Wilderness. The 4.5-mile (7.24-kilometer) trail sees moderate traffic but is open for numerous activities all year round. The terrain consists of hard-packed dirt, and the path gains an elevation of 613 feet (186.8 meters).

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9. West Ravine Trail

Rogue River & Rainie Falls Trail (34837505522)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bureau of Land Ma... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

If there is one thing you can be sure of when hiking West Ravine Trail is that it offers travelers incredibly scenic views. One can view the area from the designated rest stops, making it worth the trip. Aside from hiking, people can also enjoy running and mountain biking. Be sure to check the weather here and avoid going when there is a high chance of rain. This loop trail is 4.8 miles (7.7 kilometers) long, with an elevation gain of 600 feet (182.8 meters).

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Find the best hiking and trekking spots in Sacramento, California

You can visit the amazing city of Sacramento, California for numerous things. California is truly a busy place and, more often than not, people here constantly seek a getaway to reconnect with nature. If you are one of these people, you’ll find that hiking or trekking in one or two of the trails mentioned here may give you the proper getaway you need.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Joyce Gonzales has always had the case of wanderlust. She was a former financial analyst who took a leap of faith and started writing about her travels. She is intrigued by the existence of...Read more

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