Auburn State Recreation Area

Gold Country

This is a park of deep gorges cut by the rushing waters of the North and Middle Forks of the American River, which converge below a bridge on Hwy 49, 4 miles south of Auburn. In early spring, when waters are high, this is immensely popular for white-water rafting, as the rivers are class II to V runs. Late summer, calmer waters allow for sunning and swimming, especially around the confluence. Numerous trails are shared by hikers, mountain bikers and horses.

One of the most popular is the Western States Trail, which connects Auburn State Recreation Area to Folsom Lake State Recreation Area and Folsom Lake. It’s the site of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run (, and the Tevis Cup (, an endurance race on horseback. The Quarry Trail takes a level path from Hwy 49, just south of the bridge, along the Middle Fork of the American. Several side trails reach the river.

For camping, there are three basic sites: a boat-in-only campground on lower Lake Clementine (closed in the winter; reserve in advance at and two hike-in, first-come first-served campgrounds on either side of the North Fork American River. Mineral Bar is open year-round; Ruck-A-Chucky is closed in the winter.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Gold Country attractions

1. Placer County Museum

0.97 MILES

The 1st floor of the domed 1898 Placer County Courthouse has Native American artifacts and displays of Auburn’s transportation heritage, including a…

2. Gold Country Museum

1.03 MILES

Toward the back of the fairgrounds, the Gold Country Museum includes a reconstructed mine and gold panning, both great for kids.

3. Joss House

1.09 MILES

Built by the Yue family in the 1920s, this clapboard residence stands on 'Chinese Hill,' one of many Chinese communities established during the gold rush…

4. Bernhard Museum Complex

1.11 MILES

This museum, built in 1851 as the Traveler’s Rest Hotel, exhibits depictions of typical 19th-century-farm family life. Volunteers in period garb show you…

7. Maidu Museum & Historical Site

15.1 MILES

This museum of tribal history is built on the edge of an ancient Maidu village, where families thrived for over 3000 years. Exhibits of beautiful…

8. El Dorado County Historical Museum

17.25 MILES

On the El Dorado County Fairgrounds west of downtown (exit north on Placerville Dr from Hwy 50), is this complex of restored buildings, mining equipment…