Hiking, Backpacking, Camping

Steven's Trail Hike - Colfax, CA

The Steven's Trail in Colfax, CA is an amazing hike! If you are up in the Sacramento/ Auburn area, I highly recommend adding this hike to your list! The views of the North Fork of the American River are wonderful, plus, you can reward yourself with a dip in the water at the river!


  • Date: 5.27.17
  • Miles: 8 mi
  • Elevation Profile: +/- 3,080 ft
  • Trail Type: Out-and-back
  • Cost: Free
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash


Definitely start out as early in the morning as possible on this one, especially in the summer! This area can get sweltering hot, and while the way to the river is downhill, your hike back to the car is a solid uphill climb! This trail is also very popular: getting to the trailhead before 9 am on the weekend is crucial. I got there at 7 am on Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend and I was the first car in the lot. Also, the parking lot has a pit toilet: definitely use it before starting your hike! There are very few places to do your business on the trail, and this trail could use some Leave No Trace Love, so don't be that person leaving toilet paper blossoms on the side of the trail near the river!

The trail starts off in as a nice, gradual downhill tree-covered trail. No views yet but a nice warm-up to the rest of the trail. You'll eventually cross a little stream and come to a clearing with a slight elevation gain. Stay to the right, going uphill, and you'll eventually end up under the trees again, getting your first views soon!


During this time of the year, the wildflowers were so gorgeous! I think it was a little late for the wildflower bloom at this elevation this year just because of the winter, but I was happy to see them!


There's no other trails to mistakenly wander onto: just stay on the beaten path all the way down to the river! The trail follows the counter of the mountain while steadily descending. 


As you descend towards the river, the river views will open up! It's a gorgeous sight: the river, the green mountains. Plus, having morning light is perfection!


Dogs are also allowed on this trail, on a leash. My pup had a great time, and the leash went on once we were joined by other hikers on the way out! Be aware though: there can be snakes around, and field mice, so keep your dogs close and be aware! Riley especially loved soaking in the Secret Ravine, where we ended our hike.


We turned around after the Secret Ravine since we had no intentions to hang out or swim by the river (this was a work-out hike!). We prepared ourselves for the 3,000 ft climb back to the car! Riley was running ahead on the way down, but lagging behind on the way back. Its another good reason to leave early in the morning. The trail is so exposed and it gets so hot in the summer, you need to make sure you have enough water for yourself and any other companions!


I actually had no expectations for this hike, and didn't really know what to expect, but it blew me away. So much prettier than I was expecting, and I definitely think the wildflowers helped with that. Definitely a must-do hike in Northern California!