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Best Hiking Trails In Sacramento

The Sacramento region is rich with opportunities for outdoor exploration, and these are just a few of the excellent hiking trails in the area.
Cosumnes River Preserve
13501 Franklin Blvd.
Galt, CA 95632
(916) 684-2816

The preserve, located along the Cosumnes River, has over 11 miles of hiking trails, whether one enjoys walking with friends or prefers a quiet, serene experience without other people around. The riparian habitat offers the opportunity to observe wildlife in a natural setting, with more than 250 types of birds, 40+ species of fish and many four-legged creatures in the preserve. The River Walk Trail runs along raised levees for about three miles, round trip, among habitats such as a valley oak savannah, tule marsh, grasslands and thickets of buttonbush. The one-mile Lost Slough Wetlands Walk is fully accessible, and gets hikers up close and personal with birds, amphibians and others along a lush marsh and wetlands. There are also a number of other trails available for hikers of every level of experience.

Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail
Discovery Park
1000 Garden Highway
Sacramento, CA 95833
(916) 875-7275

The lovely 32-mile suburban trail is accessible through numerous Sacramento County regional parks, including Discovery Park, Paradise Beach, Rossmoor Bar and William B. Pond, and at several in Folsom as well. The easy, paved trail runs along the American River Parkway, through the Folsom State Recreation Area and ends at Beals Point. Jedediah Smith is a very popular trail for hikers, walkers and runners; horses are allowed on the path only in certain areas.

Related: Best Places For Your Dog To Enjoy The Day Outdoors In Sacramento

Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
1624 Hood-Franklin Road
Elk Grove, CA 95757
(916) 775-4420

Blue Heron Trail at Stone Lakes is a paved path which loops around managed wetlands for approximately one mile. The trail is relatively new and the trees are not yet tall enough to offer much shade, so be prepared with sunscreen and appropriate attire. The trail is an easy hike with stunning views of cranes, waterfowl, hawks and shore birds. It is open all year from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., and paths are fully accessible to strollers, wheelchairs and walkers. Check the website for accurate directions to the refuge, as other online directions are typically not accurate.

Auburn State Recreational Area (ASRA)
Auburn Dam
501 El Dorado St.
Auburn, CA 95603
(530) 885-4527

The trail, from the recreation area to the American River at the base of the Auburn Dam, is just over three miles. Much of the trail is paved and it typically takes a few hours; the trip back can be a bit of a workout, as some sections have a rather steep grade. California Department of Parks and Recreation manages the recreation area, which consists of 40 acres along the middle and north forks of the river. The park is dog friendly and is open year-round from 7 a.m. to sunset. To get to the trail, enter through gate 142 at the ASRA.

South Fork American River Trail
American River Conservancy
780 Salmon Falls Road
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
(530) 621-1224

There are numerous paths for hiking, biking and horseback riding along 25 miles of trails, with varying degrees of difficulty and inclines. The scenery, including river views, chaparral canyons, rolling hills and woodlands, is gorgeous. Nearly 1/5 of California's native plant types can be found along the paths; most of the trails are wide to discourage visitors from leaving the path and unintentionally harming the plant-life.

Related: Historic Walking Tour Of Sacramento

Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers business, employment, animal rescue, volunteerism and nonprofits. Her work can also be found at

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