Terrain Type - Mixed
Distance - 35mi
Elevation Gain - 4k
Difficulty - Intermediate/Advanced
Strava Route - https://www.strava.com/routes/3121526
Grab a couple of buddies, hop on your cross bike or adventure road bike and get to pedaling!
This ride covers some classic Northern California roads that have even been included in the Tour of California and fire roads and single track that traverse some of the most beautiful hillsides in the area.
Starting from the El Dorado County Library off of Silva Valley Blvd and Serrano Pkwy, head north towards Green Valley Rd and onto Salmon Falls Rd. Salmon Falls is one of the best climbs in the area and serves as the out and back portion of this route. S. Falls starts out with a few miles of rollers until you get the bridge where it crosses Folsom Lake. From "The Bridge to the Rhino" is about a 3.5 mile stair step climb where you can just picture life back in the Gold Rush times as you pedal along. Once you crest the top and see The Rhino at the entrance to Safari Estates, the descent begins all the way down to the entrance to Cronan Ranch.
The descent is roughly 4 miles and puts you onto one of my favorites roads in the area, Pedro Hill Rd. It's a right hand turn off of S. Falls right before it meets up with HWY 49. It's a minimally traveled road that parallels 49 heading east. It has some great sweeping turns as well as some tight switch backs and will dump you right in to the entrance to Cronan.
At the entrance to the park, step through the horse gate and climb up the hill. Cronan has a few other small loops that can all be comfortably ridden on CX/Road bikes so feel free to check them out. But for this route you'll stay on the main fire road and descend the gravel for about a mile until you get to the old wood cabin and there's a fork in the trail.
Go right and begin to follow signs for the South Fork American River Trail (S.F.A.R.T.). It remains a fire road or double track for most of the way back to the Salmon Falls bridge. There are a few spots where it gets to be a bit rocky for a few hundred yards now and then, but take your time and you'll be fine.
Just keep following the signage for SFART. The route crosses some other access roads but stay on the main trail and you won't get lost. The last major climb will bring you from the the river side of the hill, up and over into the Pine Hill Reserve. You'll be able to tell that you're there by the switch back climb.
Cross through the gate at the top where you'll see signage for the Reserve. There a short light traverse with a few short steep ups and downs. This is one of the rockiest sections so again take your time.
This is where the trail gets its Intermediate to Advanced rating. Nothing is dangerous but the last switchback descent down to the bridge is chalk full of little "sniper rocks" where if you get caught going to fast you can easily pinch flat. It's a super fun descent; one where you'll get to the bottom and go "woohoo, that was wild!"
-One of the awesome switchbacks where you can see the bridge and the lake! It's a great little vista point so make sure to stop and check it out. When the lake isn't so low it can make for a great little picture!-
Once you're down to the bottom of the trail it will drop you off into a boat launch parking lot that leads right back onto Salmon Falls Rd. Hop back on and head south through the rollers back to the library.
It's a great little challenging route and I highly recommend getting out there!
1. Click on the route link to Strava.
2. Upload the TCX file to your Garmin.
3. Call the crew and GO!