We did this trail back on March 31st, but I’m just now getting around to posting! Cronan Ranch is located in Pilot Hill, California, four miles north of Coloma on Hwy 49. We chose to do the Long Valley Trail to the river and back. Due to the high exposure of this hike, I would not recommend this on a high temp or sunny date. Our family originally attempted a hike here a few years ago and turned back after a half mile due to the direct exposure and heat.
Why we love it: It’s relatively flat and easy for kids and a great way to test out whether they can take on more miles. Once your kids easily conquer three-four mile trails, you can try this location for five-six miles. We always love a hike with a goal, and on this hike we make it a goal to reach the river. If you take the Long Valley Trail, once you pass the movie set and get to a fork in the trail, stay right to get to the water right away.
For the Young Ones (0-10): Once you get to the river, there’s a bit of shade and kids can spend hours throwing rocks into the river or splashing their feet! There’s even a bathroom not too far from where Long Valley Trail meets the water!
For the Big Kids (10+): There are many trails you can take at Cronan Ranch, and big kids might like to mix it up to see more. A family picnic at the water would be fantastic for the entire family.
Keep in Mind:
- The key thing to keep in mind here is sun exposure. As previously stated, it’s not a good idea to do this hike on a high temp sunny day.
- Bring plenty of water! We used the picnic tables by the movie set as a snack break before making it all the way to the river.
- Horses are often on these trails, so please remember that they have the right of way and watch where you walk!
- It’s helpful to print/screen shot this map ahead of time to use for reference.
- You could probably do the trail we did with a BOB-type stroller, but I wouldn’t recommend a typical lightweight stroller.
- Depending on tires, etc. of a wheelchair and the grade of some of the slopes, I would not call this trail handicap accessible. (Though I am no expert.)
Around the Area: Folsom Lake for more water fun!
Difficulty Level: Advanced Beginner-Moderate, depending on trails taken and experience.