You’ll hear the furious, highway-like roar long before you catch sight of Hidden Falls, a wide wall of water that explodes into a 50-foot ravine at the center of Hidden Falls Regional Park, a 1,200-acre preserve with 30 miles of trails in Placer County Gold Country.
Two observation platforms at the sides of the falls above Coon Creek provide great views and photo ops, while the 5.6-mile loop trail in, rated easy, offers panoramic vistas of hills that are velvet-green and specked with wildflowers in March and April. The falls flow year-round but are at their most thunderous now, following a wet winter.
Also in Placer County, Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park is a stunning, 1,418-acre destination for early-spring wildflowers, which splash the emerald hillsides with brilliant yellow and purple blooms. No waterfalls here, but 12 miles of hiking and riding trails lead to the American River, which offers its own awesomely raging rewards.
A caveat for DogTrekkers in both preserves: because the trails are shared by hikers, cyclists and equestrians, it’s essential to keep Spot on a leash, yield to horses and otherwise observe proper trail etiquette. Rule of thumb: If you see or hear a horse approaching, step off the trail on the low side and hold your dog close to let the riders pass. Never approach a horse unannounced from the rear.
For more waterfall hikes in Gold Country, click here.