This short 1/4 mile trail is located at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery, just east of Sacramento in Gold River, California. The best time to come is in the fall, when the salmon are jumping up the ladder at the hatchery, but we had a nice visit smack in the middle of summer.
Why we love it: The trail itself isn’t much, but it’s a nice stroll along the river with some educational signs. Honestly, I’d only do this trail if I’m already at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery for the Visitor Center and to see fish. While the signs say it’s a loop, we took it to be an out-and-back trail because at a certain point it seems like it might narrowly head away from the river and through thick brush. We turned around and, while I forgot to track the distance, it’s at most it’s a 1/2 mile total this way.
For the Young Ones (0-10): If your little one can walk, they can do this easy trail. It’s all exposed, so sun protection is key. Add it on to exploring the Visitor Center and feeding the fish (we fed trout!), and you have a lovely little outing!
For the Big Kids (10+): Big kids might find the Visitor Center briefly entertaining and enjoy feeding the fish. For more of a challenging trail, the American River Parkway trail is immediately adjacent to the parking lot. We didn’t get on the trail and I don’t know much in terms of safety of the trail, but we did see a handful of cyclists going along the trail. Since it’s a really long trail, you can make your hike as short or as long as you’d like!
Keep in Mind: Essentially, just keep in mind that the path is exposed, so you will want sun protection.
Around the Area: The Sacramento State Aquatic Center is close by, so you can always plan to go down to the water after your time at the hatchery!
Difficulty Level: Beginner.