Hike to the North Fork Dam of Lake Clementine

Lake Tahoe Lake Clementine Trailhead

Added by Clayton Herrmann

Walk under a 730ft bridge spanning +800ft on the N. Fork American River. See a stunning waterfall and swimming holes.

Located only roughly 40 minutes from Sacramento. This trail will allow you to view and walk under the 5th largest bridge in the US as well as enjoy the waterfall spectacle of a top releasing Dam. Once reaching Old Foresthill Road from the town of Auburn, drive over the smaller bridge spanning the width of the North Fork American River. Park on the right hand side, near the Restroom and Day Use parking area. This is a State Park area so be sure to bring $10 for the Day Use Fee.

Walk down the road to the gate with a sign stating Lake Clementine Trail. Stay on this wide trail that follows the North Fork waters. You will stay on this trail until reaching the Dam. After only a few minutes from the trailhead, you will be walking the sky-scrapingly tall Foresthill Bridge. In the heat of summer, the cool river water will be a great remedy. There are numerous swimming holes located along the trail. Be cautious of flows and dangers underwater and downstream.

Roughly a mile later after walking under the bridge, you will pass yet another gate for which vehicles may drive down for the boat ramp to Lake Clementine. Continue down now towards the sound of the cascading falls. Pretty soon a waterfall and calm lake will be in view. Once arriving at the Dam site be cautious. The mist from the waterfall causes the rocks to be extremely slippery. Set up a picnic blanket and enjoy the falls or continue hiking to check out the lake.

It is important to note that it is never advisable to play in and near Dam Sites. Swimming in a river has its dangers. Be aware current strength and both underwater and downstream dangers. Dogs are not allowed on the trail.

Many choose to mountain bike this trail, as well.

The North Fork Dam was constructed in 1939 to prevent gold mining debris continuing downstream. Many Dams are no longer purposeful. It is important to be aware of the environmental impacts that Dams have on watersheds and the local flora and fauna.

Pack List

  • Water
  • $10 Day Use Parking Fee
  • Backpack
  • Snacks
  • Camera
  • Picnic Blanket
  • Swim Trunks
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Hiking, Mountain Biking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



4 Miles



Picnic Area
Swimming Hole

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How to Get There

3 months ago

Awesome Hike

Super easy hike if you're into pretty views and a easy walk! Just went here today and it was a blast! We walked all the way to the dam, turned around and walked back. We had lunch right on the river then swam under the bridge. We thought the walk to the dam would take us to the lake but it cuts off and you have to go back up and around, and there isn't a beach area for people to use for the lake. But we had a blast! Highly recommended!

3 months ago

Added by Clayton Herrmann

| Photographer |

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