No Horses on first 2.5 miles
This ride starts at the Skunk Hollow Parking area just across Salmon Falls Rd from the Salmon Falls parking area. The trail is scenic with both ridge and river views throughout the ride. The turn around point is an erie step into the past.
Need To Know
Parking area is $10 or you can park about 1/4 mile down road for free. On weekends, expect to pay as there is river access and many lake users in the parking areas.
Start at the NE corner of the parking area next to bathrooms. The clearly marked trailhead leads immediately to rocky switchback climbing to a ridge. Steep downhill leads to more climbing followed by more gradual and less rocky downhill. The ride is virtually never flat, you are either climbing or descending almost its entire length.
Several points along the ride offer great views of the American River. At about mile 4, the trail drops into a valley with narrow winding singletrack in amongst the trees. At this point the ride offers some great downhill and a few switchbacks. After passing through the valley the ride brings you back to the river with an area to stop and have a meal (picnic bench with dedication plaque).
The trail will gradually climb again opening up to a fire road and the Ridge Trail will branch off the SouthFork ART. Further down the fire road another trail will branch off, leading you back to the river (River Access Connector). Continuing past these trails leads you to a gradual downhill to a HUGE open valley with some old turn of the century ranch buildings. At this point you come to the turn around of this ride or you can continue on along one of two other trails, Long Valley Trail
or Cronan Ranch Trailhead.
History & Background
Originally a large portion of the land for this trail was owned by the Bacchi family who acquired some of the land from the Murphys and the Central Pacific Railroad. All of the land currently in use for the trail was purchased by the American River Conservancy and the BLM.