Beauty and majesty are two words most often used to describe America's Grand Canyon. There is no denying there is nothing else like it in the world. But did you know that there is a place in our own backyard that's equally deserving of that description? The American River Canyon, though not the same in size, or topography, as the Grand Canyon, is a place that must be seen to be appreciated. It’s also a place that has put Auburn on the map for being a world-class outdoor lover's paradise. The American River Canyon is a breathtaking place to visit; read on to learn how it will capture your heart and soul.
Endurance Capital of the World
Because it's home to more outdoor endurance events than any other community in the world, Auburn holds the prestigious title of being the endurance capital of the world. Thanks to the American River Canyon, Auburn hosts world-famous events such as the Tevis Cup, the Way Too Cool Endurance Run, and the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run.
The Tevis Cup is the oldest modern-day endurance ride. Since its first year in 1955, this equestrian ride has been the model for the most challenging endurance rides worldwide. It was organized by an Auburn businessman named Wendell Robie. With a few of his friends, Robie disproved the notion that a modern-day horse couldn’t cover the rugged trail beginning in Lake Tahoe and ending in Auburn. Oh, by the way, that’s 100 miles covered in a single day. Robie’s passion for this sport inspired others and became the catalyst for the Western States Trail Foundation to preserve the 100-mile trail and the annual Tevis Cup ride.
Since 1974, The Western States has been regarded as one of the ultimate endurance tests in the world. Equally as impressive as the Tevis Cup, the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run is the world's oldest 100-mile trail race. Starting in Olympic Valley, CA, it ends 100.2 miles in Auburn. When you visit the American River Canyon, it’s easy to see what these two endurance competitions hold the honors bestowed upon them. But before leaving the topic of endurance, we must talk about the Way Too Cool 50K Endurance Run!
Drawing more than 600 athletes from around the world, this race uses the famous Western States 100 course but finishes in Cool, Ca. rather than in Auburn. In addition to being one of the most popular races of its kind, it's also known for the effort its coordinators make so that it's as fun as it is challenging. Spectators, volunteers, and runners all have a great time.
All Forks Lead to Stunning Landscape
The American River Canyon, in the Auburn area, consists of three forks, all known for their breathtaking canyons, enormous rock formations, numerous trails, forested ridges, fishing opportunities, rafting, and gorgeous water. All three are very popular, drawing thousands of visitors every year.
The North Fork American River lies 2,400 feet below its canyon rim. The canyon walls are deeply chiseled and feature Ponderosa pine, oak woodland, and chaparral. When white water rafting, rafters gain access to the river near Colfax and end up in Auburn. However, because this is considered a Class V (experts only), this is not recommended for inexperienced rafters. Five trails provide access to this fork of the river, most three to four miles in length but dropping approximately 2,000 feet.
The Middle Fork of the American River Canyon is enormously popular with thrill-seekers and those seeking solitude. It draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It has impressive whitewater rafting for experienced boaters but has Class 11 sections perfect for family float trips without the high adrenaline factor. Several commercial whitewater rafting outfitters offer a variety of river experiences, from half-day trips to rafting packages that include bed and breakfast stays. The logistics of rafting on the Middle Fork are a bit tricky. Because cars can't be left at the put-in area of the river, it's important to arrange for a shuttle driver. This section of the river is also popular with hikers, horseback riders, fishing enthusiasts, and history buffs. Miners flocked the Middle Fork American River canyon during California's gold rush era. Today, it's reported that there are over 1500 remnants of the Gold Rush era along with Native American history. This section of the river is very popular with fishermen as large rainbow trout thrive here. Wildlife lovers can count on seeing river otters, bald and golden eagles, frogs, butterflies, Townsend Big-Eared Bats, and deer.
The South Fork of the American River is located above Auburn towards the town of Cool. This area is very popular for those wanting to camp in private campgrounds and on land owned by the Bureau of Land Management Department. This section of the river is the most popular introductory river in California because it's so suitable for beginners. Kayaking is second to none in this section of the river. As with the other forks of the river, this is also a wonderful place to hike and fish.
One thing that makes the American River Canyon so beloved is that it offers something for everyone. From driving through the canyon as a sight seeker to scaling steep terrain on a hike, the American River Canyon offers something for everyone. In terms of trails, just within the Auburn State Recreation area, more than 35 trails are popular with hikers, runners, horseback riders, and mountain bikers. If you want to meander along the river, there's ample shade and many places to enjoy a picnic. Should you wish to hike higher in the hills, you'll be treated to stunning vistas of the river winding through the rock formations and lush patches of green and yellow grasses. Trails range from easy to difficult in level. I love the Lake Clementine Trail because it's easy but has varied terrain. Situated along the North Fork, it not only offers panoramic views you'd expect at a much higher elevation, but it descends to a deep pool beneath the North Fork Dam. While the ease of the hike won't take your breath away, the scenery will.
No matter where you hike in the canyon, it's made possible thanks to groups like The Canyon Keepers and Friends of the Canyon. These tireless volunteers promote healthy recreation by providing trail guides, organizing hikes and guided history walks, conducting trail maintenance, and assisting professional ranger staff. Thanks to them, we all enjoy the many miles of trails while respectfully co-existing with the creatures living in the American River Canyon. Incredibly, a place world-famous for its recreation and beauty is situated just a short drive from Rocklin. Please put this outstanding destination on the things you much see soon list. I guarantee you that you won't regret it.
Stanford Ranch Self Storage
The equipment needed to enjoy places like the American River Canyon can be as simple as a good pair of hiking boots and comfortable clothing for hiking or as involved as owning a kayak for whitewater fun. Self-storage is the perfect solution for storing valuable outdoor equipment such as tents, inflatable rafts, fishing gear, and kayaks. Because these things are not always easy to keep at home, self-storage is the way to go. As your neighborhood self-storage facility, Stanford Ranch Self Storage has units of all sizes and is perfect for keeping your valuable recreation equipment in excellent condition and ready for your next adventure. Please come visit our state-of-the-art self-storage facility to see how we can partner with you in keeping the adventures going.
For activity-specific details, please see https://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/502/files/AuburnSRAFinalWebLayout062210.pdf .