Get out on the trails

50 things to do on the 50 special section
By: Don Chaddock, The Telegraph
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The canyons of the American River offer trails for beginners and experts alike but for a nice easy walk with small children, the South Fork of the American River in Coloma is perfect. From the parking lot for the Coloma State Historic Park, there are clearly marked trails following the river. Well shaded, your children will get a clear view of rafters, small wildlife and flowers. There are also plaques along the route to explain the 1848 discovery of gold by James Marshall at Sutter’s Mill. As always, wear sunscreen, watch your step and bring water. Back across Highway 49, there are more small trails along the hillside overlooking the park. Children can see a replica Maidu shelter and what the natives used for food storage. About a half-mile of walking is good for small children while older kids may not appreciate it quite as much. For the more adventurous, there is Wright’s Lake and the desolation wilderness area east of Placerville along Highway 50. Folsom Lake State Recreation Area boasts numerous trails, ranging from easy to moderate in difficulty level. During periods of low water, some of the settlements flooded by the creation of the Folsom Dam begin to surface. These are best viewed in late fall or early in the year before the rainy season starts. --- Trail guide For trails along the North and Middle Forks of the American River, visit For trails near the South Fork of the American River, visit