Sweetwater Trail


On New Year’s Day, my 6 year old (who hadn’t wanted to leave his Lego table since Christmas morning….) requested to go on a “hike in the woods”. So I loaded him and his 4 year old brother into the car and headed for Salmon Falls Trail on the South fork of the American River in El Dorado. From what I was able to figure out, it seems that “Salmon Falls” is general area with several different trails. We were specifically looking for “Salmon Falls Loop Trail” which is supposed to be a very easy and short loop trail….but we never found it. Instead, we ended up on the Sweetwater Trail which is an easy to moderate 5 mile out and back trail.

IMG_6497Why we love it: Shortly after the trail starts there is a cool bridge over a nice little creek that is perfect for dipping your toes in and practicing your rock-hopping…..can be slippery though…..so exercise caution. We didn’t complete the full trail because it was a bit more than the kids were up for, but what we saw of it was great. Some mild hills and slightly rocky terrain kept it interesting but still manageable for the kids. Beautiful mountain and river views.


For the Young Ones (0-10):  Completing the trail would be pretty ambitious for very young ones and the trail is narrow and bumpy in many parts so not stroller friendly. But as long as the kids are up for a little bit of a challenge (and you bring enough M&M’s….) it’s a nice challenge and the creek is definitely a crowd pleaser.

For the Big Kids (10+): Big kids would likely do great on this trail as it has plenty of interest but is not overly difficult.

Keep in Mind:

  • This area can get pretty crowded on holidays and weekends so it’s best to arrive early.
  • This is a popular mountain biking trail so you need to keep your eyes open for cyclists, but the ones we encountered were very considerate and cautious.
  • There are several different trails in this area. If you’re prone to being navigationally challenged, as I am, you may want to be flexible in terms of having your mind set on any specific trail. The entire are is beautiful though, so it seems it would be hard to go wrong.
  • There’s a small picnic area and restrooms at the end of the parking lot (near the start of the trail) which is certainly handy. IMG_6495

Difficulty Level: Beginner to moderate, the trail has some mild hills and the terrain somewhat rough in spots but still not difficult.

Guest contributor Dayle lives in Sacramento with her husband and two boys and has a private therapy practice in midtown. Originally from San Francisco, she now enjoys exploring her new Sacramento home and all that it and the surrounding areas have to offer with her family and friends. 

Note from Felicia: Dayle and her husband make some delicious wines – you can check them out online here: http://www.tryphonvineyards.com/


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