EL DORADO TRAIL January 14, 2001

Seeking to take advantage of the current, excellent, winter weather, I left for Placerville and the new El Dorado Trail. This starts in town from north of the U.S. 50 freeway on Mosquito Flat Road. There is some haphazard parking here.

I have been trying to stay in condition using the American River Parkway's Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail. I completed a 29 mile walk a week ago, then a 25 mile walk yesterday the 13th.

Researching the Net, and reading from articles in the local Placerville paper, I determined that a new trail has been built and opened, apparently only a few months ago. There are plenty of signs and a doggy poop station. The eight foot wide, striped pavement heads east, paralleling the freeway, and first passes through a large tunnel. A narrow bridge is crossed, then the trail ascends gradually and constantly, through pines, oaks, firs, incense cedar, toyons, manzanita, and plenty of other trees and plants.

The trail has many a memorial plaque dedicated to various deceased persons. It then parallels Smith Flat Road, and after some two miles, comes to Jacquier Road. A hundred yards north, the route comes to a large, paved, parking lot, signed "El Dorado Trail," with a outhouse. The paved bike path continues up and eastward, then looping around to the pedestrian overcrossing of U.S. 50. The pavement ends after a few hundred more yards, to eventually, someday, continue to Camino. It is some three miles to this point. The gain is some 500' total.

It took me a bit over an hour to return to Mosquito Flat Road. Many users were enjoying the fine sunshine on this pleasant but cold day. I then took a short walk about downtown Placerville, noting older and newer businesses.

I motored back west to about Cameron Park, where I checked on Pine Hill (2,059'). Once somewhat accessible, this point offers a fair viewpoint of the area, being a prominent local highpoint. A closed, wrought iron gate prevents current entry. It was noted for being an ecologic "island," with many species which do not grow anywhere else.

A drive along Green Valley Road, to turn to Blue Ravine Road, revealed views of vast development where once, I cycled through endless green hills. From the old part of the town of Folsom, I walked over the Old Truss Bridge spanning the American River, and finally enjoyed a hot cider along Sutter Street.