Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park
Pedro Hill Road
Pilot Hill, California 95664
Local Phone: (530) 295-2190
Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park is 1,418 scenic acres laced with 12 miles of hiking and riding trails leading from two staging areas to the South Fork of the American River. The terrain is rolling and mostly open, with oak woodlands crowning the hilltops and providing shade along the river. The Long Valley Trail, part of which is a dirt ranch road, is perhaps the easiest route, although lacking in shade for most of its 2.2. miles. The Up and Down Trail, as the name suggests, rolls over hill and dale, while a pair of ridge trails offer sweeping views of the river racing through its canyon. A loop utilizing any combination of trails is about 5 miles with elevation changes of no more than 600 feet.
Cronan Ranch, long a private property, was acquired over a period of 16 years by the American River Conservancy and its funding partners. It was donated to the Bureau of Land Management and opened to the public in 2005. As on other BLM lands, it's OK to let your dogs off leash here. You'll share the trails with equestrians, mountain bikers, anglers, gold panners and families with small children, so good canine manners are important. Be sure to get a grip on your dog and move to the side of the trail when cyclists or equestrians approach. Also, be aware that cockleburs are prevalent and that this is prime rattlesnake habitat. Hunting for deer, turkey, dove and quail is allowed in season.
Cronan Ranch is open year-round and is especially delightful in winter and spring. It gets very busy at mid-day on spring and summer weekends. Please note that a large picnic area on the river is leased by rafting companies for group use during the summer season. This site is closed to the general public from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but there are plenty of other shady areas on the water for hikers and dogs to take an idyllic break. You'll even find picnic tables scattered here and there.
• Getting there: Two trailheads and parking lots are accessible from Highway 49 between Auburn and Coloma. The staging area for horses is a large lot on Pedro Hill Road off of Highway 49 in the community of Pilot Hill, 6.5 miles north of Coloma. Please park close to the information signs at the trailhead and leave the larger spaces in the back for horse trailers. The smaller Magnolia Ranch trailhead parking lot is on Highway 49 about 5 miles north of Coloma.
•Hours: Daily, dawn to dusk
•Tip: Bring plenty of drinking water for you and your dog, and don't forget pick-up bags for waste.
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