Photo and story by Steve Schweigerdt/Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Trail advocates in El Dorado County, Calif., celebrated the opening of a new 2.75-mile stretch of the El Dorado Trail on October 17 at the County Government Center. Passing through California’s historic Gold Rush country, the newly paved section forms an important link between Placerville and Diamond Springs, including the Weber Creek trestle that dates back to 1903 and towers about 100 feet above the creek. The trail winds along the mountainside through mixed forest cover and is already heavily used by community bicyclists, equestrians and runners, or those looking for a quiet stroll.
The local group Trails Now has been pushing for the trail to connect all the way from the American River Bikeway and the Pony Express Trail that leads to South Lake Tahoe. Additional sections are planned in the near future to connect to downtown Placerville and to continue from Missouri Flat Road southwest to the town of El Dorado and Mother Lode Drive. The route will traverse the site of a historical lumber mill, and connect with the future site of a county railroad museum.
This sounds like a great place to hike, run, and ride bicycles. People that use the trails will see a lot of beautiful scenery on these trails.
Looks beautiful. Everybody check that one out!
Granted the trail is beautiful and another section in the works. But, there is no safe way to traverse Placerville between the Missouri Flat Trail section and the section on the east side of town. Additionally, according to the 2003 Master Plan rail removal can not be considered for 10 yeaars which will be 2013.
I'm a Placerville resident and wheelchair user. The roughly 8 miles of paved trails here offer excellent recreation and conditioning. I do a little handcycle racing and the hills in our region are a great way to stay ahead of the competition. If you're a walker, runner, biker, rider, wheeler or bird watcher - you'll love the El Dorado Trails.
There are two options for traversing Placerville between the Missouri Flat trail section and the section on the east side of town.
1. At low traffic times Forni Road is perfectly safe to ride between the trail and Main Street. Main Street is not perfect to ride on, but anyone who is accustomed to riding in traffic should have no problems.
2. You can catch an El Dorado Transit Bus at either end of the new section of trail or at the County offices and have the bus carry your bike to the beginning of the bike trail on the east side of town - for $1.
The future of extending the trail is in peril due to a possible excursion train. Please take the time to visit www.eldoradotrail.com to find out more and how you can make sure trails are the future.
I'm so jealous! I live in congested So.Cal where we fight for good places to ride. Sounds like an incredible place to ride.
Curious. Can one ride from the Sacto American River Parkway along the Placerville railroad right of way up to the existing trail now in place? Say with a mountain bike?
Zwirad, the answer to your question is a qualified yes. We were out chopping poison oak and clearing brush recently, and we have nearly completed a mountain bike route from Folsom to Placerville, nearly 40 miles. The trail is still primitive or non-existent in some places, but it is passable. There is a lot of poison oak though. The right-of-way is wide enough that where the track goes through cuts and over fill, the mtb. trail follows the natural contours of the land - a real roller coaster in some places. Kudos to Friends of the El Dorado Trail for the great work they have done!
Jim, another safe way is to call taxi to cut through town. Or a bubble suit.
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