Hidden Falls Regional Park is a whopping 1,200-acre park, located between the communities of Auburn, Lincoln, and the Ophir/Newcastle area and offers 30 miles of multiple-use trails, two observation decks allowing close-up views of 30 foot waterfalls, picnic areas, and fishing access.
Why we love it: In the park you really feel like you’re getting away from it all, and can take on as much as your family is capable of hiking. We’re always fans of getting to a goal, and everyone loves getting to a goal as awesome as views of waterfalls!
For the Young Ones (ages 0-10): Little ones will be blown away by the magnificence of the falls and will love the water access points along the trails. If you’re familiar with Family Trail Time, you know our 4 year-old loves to throw rocks into water and we spent a fair amount of time just letting him go after it!
For the Big Kids (ages 10+): There are SO many trails in this park! Big kids can plan an adventure entirely their own that’s completely different than the hikes you’d take young ones on. This makes Hidden Falls a fantastic location for your family to return to over the years as the family’s hiking skills grow!
- While there is a good amount of parking, this park is extremely popular. (Once you go, you’ll see it’s with good reason!) As such, the parking fills up fast and early. As with most hikes, your best bet is to start early. It is strongly recommended you do NOT park outside of designated parking, as locals have grown increasingly frustrated with street parking, etc. and you never know when there will be ticketing. (An alternative parking location, about 5 miles away, is available at the Placer County Government Center, 3091 County Center Drive. From there you can ride your bike or hike to Hidden Falls, if the parking lot is full.) UPDATE: You now must reserve your parking spot in advance online here.
- Bring lots of water! It’s easy to want to keep going in this park and what you need more than anything else is H2O.
- The observation decks are a great place to take a break and have a snack, but there’s very little to no shade, depending on where you sit.
- Print out this map in color on a good printer and take it with you (while some trailheads will have printouts, at popular parks they’re often out).
Around the Area: In Auburn, pop into Wings Grill and Espresso Bar. After a decent hike, you’ll be plenty hungry and kids will love watching planes take off and land from the Auburn Municipal Airport.
Difficulty Level: Moderate.