After Dayle’s attempt to find Salmon Falls Loop Trail, I attempted to find it for myself. I was told by one person that there’s a loop when the lake is pretty dried up, but in a good Sacramento winter it’s typically pretty wet in this part of the country. I did see a sign for Salmon Falls on the way to the Darrington Trail parking lot, but I also heard that “Salmon Falls Trail” and “Darrington Trail” are used interchangeably, so that may help explain some of the confusion. In addition, after our hike I saw a post on Hike It Baby that said to do the loop, you start at the Monte Vista Trailhead, so maybe I’ll check that out at some point. (Feel free to comment if you have information further clarifying!)
Why we love it: This trail is approximately 16 miles long, with a campsite at the 8.5 mile mark. We did approximately 4 miles total, and it was a lovely hike to do in our small group of 2 parents and 2 kiddos. We liked the views of Salmon Falls Bridge, Folsom Lake, that the trail wasn’t all flat but not all at an incline, and most of all – playing in a creek that leads to the lake!
For the Young Ones (0-10): I would not recommend this trail for really little ones, or children who are not experienced hikers. While the trail itself isn’t difficult (aside from a short initial ascent), at times it is narrow with a steep drop-off, and there were many mountain bikers we had to share the trail with…without much trail to share. We did the trail with an experienced seven year-old hiker and a really well-behaved six-year old. They had opportunities to goof around at certain parts of the trail, but understood and responded appropriately when there was any slight safety risk. These two had a blast down at the creek and could have spent hours playing in the water.
For the Big Kids (10+): Big kids and adults looking for a longer hike can enjoy quite a few miles out on this trail. I’d suggest also looking into camping to spend more time in the area!
Keep in Mind:
- $10 Day Use Fee + remember to keep valuables out of sight! Bring cash and a pen.
- Packs of mountain bikers may pass you on the trail, but every single one of the bikers was courteous and friendly on our hike!
- Use the following on your phone’s GPS to get to the trailhead: Darrington Trail Parking Lot, 7288-7296 Salmon Falls Rd, Pilot Hill, CA 95664
- Cell service is intermittent along the trail, so don’t assume you’ll have a signal.
- To do about 3 miles roundtrip, turnaround at the signs in the photo on the right.
Around the Area: El Dorado Hills has lots of shops and places to eat, but for this hike we just enjoyed snacks on the trail.
Difficulty Level: Moderate (only because of steep drop-offs and the need to share narrow trails with mountain bikers).