Hike The Historical Stevens Trail

Lake Tahoe Stevens Trail, Colfax CA

Added by Xavier Salgado

Beautiful WildflowersFishing & SwimmingVery well maintained trail8 mile out-and-back hikeElevation gain: 3376 ft

Best known as one of the most popular hiking and biking trails to the North Fork American River, in part because of the easy access from Colfax. However, this is a remote trail, and hikers are advised to bring plenty of fluids as well as carry a whistle. The entire trail is primarily shaded, passing through oak, douglas fir, and large stands of manzanita. The wildflower displays are rarely matched elsewhere in the area, especially during April and May. Use caution as the trail is hot during the summer months and steep at times with narrow passages. The Stevens trail begins conveniently at a parking area on N. Canyon Way just north of Colfax. After a short walk, the trail intersects an unmarked firebreak road, turn right on the dirt road. Further along the trail meets yet again another firebreak road, veer to the right and look for a metal 'trail' sign a few steps further to the left. A trail sign will direct bikers to the right and hikers left. The trails will eventually rejoin after traversing the rocky outcropping that occurs. Further along the trail is a beautiful cascading waterfall, and shortly thereafter is perhaps the most distinctive landmark on the trail - an immense bed of shale cascading down the mountainside. You can also see the remains of a mine shaft, abandoned long ago. Right above the bed shale, is the Cape Horn section of the first Transcontinental railroad. The original railroad bed was cut into the steep canyon wall, by Chinese laborers suspended on ropes. After about a mile, look for a trail sign pointing to the left. From this point on, the trail enters the steep North Fork American River canyon and traverses the canyon up river. This part of the trail offers beautiful views of the river as well as the Iowa Hill Bridge. The trail will meet the river at Secret Ravine, and although the trail is fairly easy down to the river, take the opportunity to rest and cool off in the cold river before starting the more difficult trip back to the trail head.

Pack List

  • Plenty of water
  • Trekking poles
  • Swimsuit
  • Fishing pole
  • Gold pan kit
  • sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
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Chillin, Diving, Fishing, Fitness, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Photography, Running, Swimming

Skill Level:



Year Round



Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Swimming Hole

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How to Get There

4 months ago

Two Thumbs Up

Not too tough but worth the views! It gets pretty exposed so can get really warm but your reward is getting into the clear, cool water of the river!

4 months ago

5 months ago

This Has Been An Annual Hike For Me The Last 3 Years

This hike is a winner and everyone that has joined me on this hike loves it! Super amazing in springtime with all the wild flowers but can be enjoyed at other seasons. I would highly suggest to do this hike not on a super hot day! Not a lot of shade

5 months ago

11 months ago

Fun Day Trip

This is a great all-day adventure. The trail is fairly long, and the majority of the way back is uphill, so just be prepared for some burning leg muscles during the climb. There's an abandoned mine shaft that opens up right along the trail, and the BLM advises people not to enter the mine, as it is unstable and extremely unsafe. But it's not very deep, and we made it to the back wall without a problem. Bring food and proper shoes and hike up the rocks to the top of a beautiful waterfall to see a nice view of the valley!

11 months ago

11 months ago

Best Hike Ever!

we had so much fun on this hike! Plenty to see and so many different wild flowers. Lots of waterfalls to stop and hangout by. It's a difficult hike back but worth it!

11 months ago

about 1 year ago

Stay Hydrated!

Great hike! Make sure you bring a towel to dry off with.

about 1 year ago

Added by Xavier Salgado

It's not about seeing the obvious. It's about seeing the unseen!

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