If you’re looking for an easy going place to stretch for five minutes, explore the short but sweet new path that stretches from near the corner of Hwy 49 and Lotus Road to Henningsen Lotus Park right along the river. Several pull-outs along Lotus Road allow easy access. From the off-road parking lot, there is wheelchair accessibility for about a hundred feet to several picnic tables and benches.
If you need a more structured exercise routine, Henningsen Lotus Park also features a .42 mile-long loop concrete sidewalk, along with a parcourse with six specially designed stretches. Dogs are welcome. On the south side of Lotus Road, the park also includes a great play area for children, plus soccer and baseball fields. There are admission fees; gates close at sundown.
The Dave Moore Nature Area, on the south side of Highway 49 about .8 mile north of the junction of Highway 49 and Marshall Grade, features an easy 1.1-mile loop through the shady forest with some wheelchair accessibility. A fine river beach is one of the highlights of this pleasant walk. Springtime wildflowers can be spectacular.
Coloma itself offers some fine walking/running opportunities. Just ambling around the park and savoring the historic structures can be good fun. For a bit more exercise, however, consider heading by foot up to Marshall’s Monument, which stands on a hilltop overlooking the town. Reach it either via a short but steep trail from the picnic area behind the museum or via the narrow zigzag road that drops down from the monument; a trail parallels the road for part of the way. For even greater exercise, continue from the Marshall Monument parking lot on up along Monroe Ridge; this lovely but heart-thumping trail ends across Highway 49 near the North Beach picnic area (at the northern edge of the state park). The effort is well worthwhile, as you’ll enjoy spectacular views of both the Coloma and Lotus valleys.
Click here for a current Cronan Ranch Trails Map & here for Marshall Gold Discovery Park Hiking Map
For another great walk, start at North Beach, following riverside paths upstream to the Sutter’s Mill replica, then follow Highway 49 for a short distance around the Grange Hall and go across the one-lane bridge that leads across the river toward Coloma Resort. For an easy stroll, go right on Bayne Road; the reward here is a fine view of Troublemaker Rapid. More ambitious sorts can continue up Bayne Road, which becomes very steep and turns to a narrow chip sealed road after about half a mile. If you choose not to turn on Bayne Road, keep going up steep and rugged Mt. Murphy Road. After about half a mile of steep climbing, you’re rewarded with beautiful views of the town. Uphill from here, the views dwindle, but in spring you’ll encounter beautiful fields of wildflowers all the way to the top. A trailhead for Dutch Creek Falls awaits you just off Bayne Road just past the end of the campground, in the spring you will enjoy the 3 sets of waterfalls surrounded by wildflowers.
When exploring the wildlands in and around the valley, keep a few common-sense precautions in mind. Dress comfortably and in layers; the weather can change quickly. Bring water, a hat, sunblock, insect repellent, and perhaps a light snack. And, as in the rest of rural and wilderness California, be aware that mountain lions and rattlesnakes–rarely seen–make this region home, too. Travel in groups, watch where you’re stepping, keep track of one another and be alert.
Most of all, have fun!
For more places to hike in El Dorado County, see the El Dorado County Visitor’s Authority.
Hikers, runners, horseback riders, and bicycle riders have access to 25 miles, including loops with 700 feet gain/loss of trails on the 1414-acre Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park, once privately owned and now open to the open to the public under administration by the Bureau of Land Management.
From the Pedro Hill Road entrance just off Highway 49 about 4.8 miles north of the junction of Marshall Grade/Highway 49, hike 1.1 miles through sweeping meadow vistas to the river, or explore some of the other trails on the old ranch. The river’s edge trail system now connects recreationalist to Salmon Falls at the upper end of Folsom Lake.
7310 Hwy 49, Lotus, CA 95651
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5461 Bassi Rd, Lotus, CA 95651
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1006 Lotus Rd, Lotus, CA 95651
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3782 Winding Creek Ln, Garden Valley, CA 95633
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331 CA-49, Coloma, CA 95613
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