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Windy Point Trail

Hiking Trail or Trailhead
Windy Point trail, poppy field – Evan Jones

ADA Accessibility Notes

Not accessible to wheel chairs.

This is an old miner's trail which provides access to the American River Canyon in the Sierra Nevada. In the spring, over 100 species of wild flowers can be observed along the trail, including an entire field of tufted poppies at 0.8 mile. Other flowers to be expected include goldfields, larkspur, dudleya, blue dicks, harlequin lupine, Kellogg's monkeyflower, fairy lanterns, and Pacific starflower.

Shortly beyond the first creek crossing (George Creek) at 1 mile, and before a second crossing (One-arm creek), a fork to the right allows river access. Another nearby fork to the left, offers access at 0.5 mile to beautiful falls and to a spring. Great horned owls, Swainson's hawks, red shouldered hawks, western pond turtles and California newts can be observed in season.

From the Windy Point Trail, one is treated to awesome views of the North Fork of the American River 1,800 feet below the rim of the canyon. You will not see crowds on this trail, even during the spring flower season. The hike ends at the first creek if high water makes crossing hazardous.

For a unique three-season hiking adventure (NOTE: summer afternoons can be hot), take I-80 east from Auburn for 10 miles and exit at the Colfax offramp. Make a sharp right turn onto Canyon Way. At 0.25 mile, turn left at Iowa Hill Road(signed). Keep alert on this paved but narrow road. You may see glimpses of the old stage road(in use from 1851 until the mid-1920s) as you drive down to the river. At 3.0 miles, you will see a wire bridge(built in 1928) across the North Fork American River. It is just to the left of the present bridge. Continue 0.5 mile up to the trail head on the right at a turnout marked by four large boulders. This is where the road turns sharply to the left, away from the river. Park at or slightly downhill from the trail head, on the right.

Eco-Friendly Notes

No bicycles are allowed, and no camping.

Pet Friendly Notes

Bring your well-mannered pet!

Trail Distance

3 miles round trip to first creek.

Vertical Gain or Loss

800 feet

Nearby Places