Hike to the North Fork Dam of Lake Clementine

Lake Clementine Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Clayton Herrmann

Walk under a 730ft bridge spanning +800ft on the N. Fork American River. See a stunning waterfall and swimming holes.

Located only roughly 40 minutes from Sacramento. This trail will allow you to view and walk under the 5th largest bridge in the US as well as enjoy the waterfall spectacle of a top releasing Dam. Once reaching Old Foresthill Road from the town of Auburn, drive over the smaller bridge spanning the width of the North Fork American River. Park on the right hand side, near the Restroom and Day Use parking area. This is a State Park area so be sure to bring $10 for the Day Use Fee.

Walk down the road to the gate with a sign stating Lake Clementine Trail. Stay on this wide trail that follows the North Fork waters. You will stay on this trail until reaching the Dam. After only a few minutes from the trailhead, you will be walking under the sky-scrapingly tall Foresthill Bridge. In the heat of summer, the cool river water will be a great remedy. There are numerous swimming holes located along the trail. Be cautious of flows and dangers underwater and downstream.

Roughly a mile later after walking under the bridge, you will pass yet another gate for which vehicles may drive down for the boat ramp to Lake Clementine. Continue down now towards the sound of the cascading falls. Pretty soon a waterfall and calm lake will be in view. Once arriving at the Dam site be cautious. The mist from the waterfall causes the rocks to be extremely slippery. Set up a picnic blanket and enjoy the falls or continue hiking to check out the lake.

It is important to note that it is never advisable to play in and near Dam Sites. Swimming in a river has its dangers. Be aware current strength and both underwater and downstream dangers. Dogs are not allowed on the trail.

Many choose to mountain bike this trail, as well.

The North Fork Dam was constructed in 1939 to prevent gold mining debris continuing downstream. Many Dams are no longer purposeful. It is important to be aware of the environmental impacts that Dams have on watersheds and the local flora and fauna.

Distance

4 Miles RT

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Photography, Mountain Biking, Hiking

Lake
Picnic Area
River
Waterfall
Swimming Hole

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Kid friendly hike

This is an easy hike and great for little ones. My 6 year old got tired here and there but for the most part, pretty east for kids. You hike to the Dam and then turn around and go back so you'll see lots of people coming and going.

Easy hike

Thank you for info

Easy Hike

This was an easy hike. Easy enough for our kids too. I would love to do this one again in the future. We walked to the dam and walked back. It’s over 5 miles but you don’t notice that because the views are great and the walk is easy.

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