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North and South Forks of the River

north fork with the foresthill bridge
One of our Spring Break days was filled with a delightful hike in the river canyon. The weather could not have been better for this trip. You can see at the top of the photo the really tall bridge that they built when they thought they were going to dam this area and fill the whole canyon with water. This area would have been flooded with water and this beautiful stretch of the river would have been gone forever. I know there are reasons for dams but for now, I am really glad that they haven’t built it so we all can enjoy this natural beauty.

The boys opted to ride bikes this day and my hubby and I walked. I am just now feeling confident to give the boys the freedom to take off on their own. I know we live in a different world than I grew up in, and it seems sad that I have to think twice about allowing them to have an adventure on their without worrying that something bad might happen. It feels better to allow a little more freedom gradually and build up my confidence and trust that they will make good decisions.

This particular hike along the confluence and then the North Fork of the American River starts off fairly level. It is then what we like to refer to the up, down, up, down kind of trail.

You hike up out of the canyon to the top of a small dam that holds back water to form a lake. You actually hike above the dam and then you hike back down again. This means when you turn around to go back you repeat the up, down, up, down process over again in reverse.

Here the trail comes out of the woods and out into the open at the spillway. If you look closely, you will see a rainbow above the mist.

This shows the lake behind the dam. This lake is a beautiful lake that we have spent quite a bit of time boating on as well as camping up at the upper end. You have to boat in all your stuff since there is no road access. It is quiet and peaceful and in the summertime the water is cool and clear. The boys made it up to the lake quite a bit faster than we did since they were on bikes. They spent some time exploring the boat ramp and the little marina.

They got tired of waiting at one point and here is where we met them on the road to the dam. We met only one other couple hiking and one other bike rider so we felt like we had the trail to ourselves which is nice.

The hike back down from the lake was very enjoyable and the trail meanders along the side of the river. The wildflowers were blooming in masses and we would take a break every now and then to just enjoy the experience quietly.

The sound of the river was pleasant and we heard lots of birds as well.

You might not believe me but we live about 30 minutes from this place and we have never hiked here before. I am always amazed that we have missed out on so many beautiful places just because I am too lazy to research new areas to hike.

I found a book that includes local hikes of all types and I am determined to find new and interesting places to try more frequently.

Here is a place we took a picnic lunch to this past Monday. We had rain all weekend but when the rain stopped late Monday morning, I prepared some sandwiches and drinks and loaded the car. It is the first time we hiked down to the river here although we drive by many times a week. We never knew there was a trail alongside the river, but now that we know about it, we will be here frequently to enjoy the water.

We took a short hike and found a great place on the shore that had rocks perfect for sitting on and watching the water flow by. This is a shot from my rock as I enjoyed my sandwich.

The river was really high and normally you can walk out to these rocks but not today. 🙂

This is a prime place for kayakers and in the summertime they boat this stretch of the river en masse.

If anyone is interested, this is the South Fork of the American River. The hike at the beginning of the post is the North Fork. Both hikes are on the same river but above where they meet at Folsom Lake.

I think I have one more hike to catch up on from our Spring Break romps but then I will have a treat for you next week…..Yosemite again. Can you hardly wait?

3 thoughts on “North and South Forks of the River

  1. One of these days, I’m going to have to venture to your side of the country. The area you live in is beautiful, & I’m glad you share with us so much. ♥

  2. Oh my goodness, what a beautiful hike! We lived out West for about a year and a half when we were first married, and I can still remember every step of the hikes we took through that beautiful part of our country. How I wish we had taken more – if I could do it over again I’d take a hike every day! But still, your posts inspire me to look closer to home to find the beauty that I’m sure is here, if I would only take the time to look. Sure miss the Rockies, tho’.

  3. I absolutely loved your pictures! Thanks for sharing them.


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