Darrington Trail


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!)IMG_E3191

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 IMG_3292hiker 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! IMG_3233
  • 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).



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Caswell Memorial State Park Hike


Why we love it: There’s lots of shade and it’s super easy to just go whichever way your wandering takes you at Caswell Memorial State Park! Decent trail markers and with the park’s small size, not overwhelming for new hikers or those with little kids. There’s even a trail that’s wheelchair accessible (1/4 mi.)!


Two mamas taking it easy.

For the Young Ones (0-10): The trails are not difficult at all and lots of trail areas are clear enough to let the kids run ahead.


For the Big Kids (10+): If the big kids want to take off on their own, there are plenty of trails that are close but not too close, if you want to just make sure everyone meets back up where you started. (Note: make sure everyone has a trail map!)

Keep in Mind: Bring insect repellent! Some park delicato-tasting-2016employees were nice enough to let us use some of theirs, but I still wish I’d thought to throw mine in my backpack instead of leaving it in the car. Being along the Stanislaus River,  there was lots of standing water we went = lots of mosquitos! Also, all state parks have an entry fee (unless you purchase/have a state parks pass).

Around the Area: If your kids are well behaved (and, I mean it, because there are breakables), you can stop for a free wine tasting (and goldfish crackers!) at the Delicato Wine Tasting Room!

Difficulty Level: Beginner.

More posts coming soon!

I don’t know about your family, but once October hits, it may as well be December 31st! The final quarter of the year just flys by. In addition, I’ve needed a new computer for a long time and was delighted to have one waiting for me under the Christmas tree!

While we haven’t hiked as much as we like to, there have been a few hikes I need to post, as well as a couple of guests posts from contributors. With a few days off from my full-time job between now and 2017, I hope to catch up with Family Trail Time! I am pretty good at posting regularly to Instagram, so you can see hikes and other family activities there, in real time.

May you all have a wonderful close to 2016 and many hikes ahead!

Looking for Sacramento Area Contributors!

Dearest Family Trail Time community, I am seeking contributors to regularly submit hikes to support this resource for family hikers in the Sacramento area.

While our family will continue to hike and share those hikes, we have an uncertain future ahead. Our younger son, Grayson, has been diagnosed with Tay Sachs (http://www.ntsad.org/index.php/tay-sachs/classic-infantile-form). Please consider liking and sharing our Facebook page, Team Grayson Kemp, as we hope to find a cure for this terrible disease.

Thanks and love to you all.