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Stevens Trail - Colfax

7.5 mile trail near Colfax, California
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 7.5 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview :  Stevens Trail is about 7.5 miles long located near Colfax, California. The trail is great for hiking and normally takes a half day. ... more »

Tips:  Don't miss the lady bugs at Secret Ravine if you hike this trail during the winter.

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Points of Interest

1. Trailhead and Parking Area

The trail is said to be very popular and a good one for horseback riders and mountain bikers, but we only encountered hikers on our December day hike. In fact, at 9:30 am, there was only one other car in the lot, but there were several there in the afternoon when we got back. There is a restroom (one of those concrete port-a-potty types) in the... More

2. Slaughter Ravine

After about half a mile, you'll cross a seasonal tributary to Slaughter Ravine with a narrow (maybe too narrow for some) board to cross. After crossing it you'll see a trail sign directing you to the right.

3. Stevens Trail

Stevens Trail leaves the graded road and heads toward Robbers Ravine. Look for this metal post marked "TRAIL" and an arrow pointing left.

4. Hiker - Biker - Equestrian Junction

Bikers and equestrians will take the trail to the right (lower) here. Hikers should take the trail to left and head past Cape Horn toward the rocky gourge crossing at Robbers Ravine.

5. Union Pacific Railroad

Look to your left and up on this section of trail to see the 1000 ft cliffs of Cape Horn and the still active portion of the Union Pacific Railroad. According to the literature I've read, this wall was constructed by Chinese workers in the 1860's as part of the original transcontinental railroad.

We also saw many red-headed woodpeckers along... More

6. Robbers Ravine

This may be the trickiest crossing of the hike, so be careful, the rocks can be wet. In December 2011, when we hiked this, there was only a trickle of water. We passed some other hikers here on the way back and overheard them saying that this was the lowest they have ever seen the water level.

7. Gradual Decent

After the Robbers Ravine crossing, the trail climbs a little and then merges with the bike trail again. From here it follows the river and runs along the canyon side, gradually taking you down to the river over the remaining 1.5 to 2 miles. Also along this stretch is an abandoned mine, but we didn't see it (maybe next time). The mine is said to ... More

8. Secret Ravine

You'll have to cross the creek at Secret Ravine. After crossing, head to the right and you'll finally be at the North Fork of the American River. If you do this hike in the winter, check the nearby trees and plants for 1000's of lady bugs clustering for the winter.