Nature June 09, 2018
This One Hike In Northern California Has A Little Bit Of Everything And You Need To Do It
When choosing a hiking trail to embark on, there are a few things to consider. Do you prefer trails with hidden waterfalls? Or ones that boast historical significance? How about trails that follow a river? What if we told you that you could have all of the above? The hike featured below checks off all those items…and then some. The Quarry Trail is the ideal hike if you want a little bit of everything, and it will absolutely blow you away. If you’re in the mood for a one-of-a-kind adventure that’s sure to become one of your favorites, then you’ll want to accomplish this one ASAP.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
You'll find the Quarry Trail in the Auburn State Recreation Area. The trail is recommended for hikers of all skill levels and contains a little bit of everything for a perfect day of exploring the Northern California outdoors.
Soon after departing the trailhead you'll delve into the beauty that is Auburn State Recreation Area. The trail actually follows a service road for park rangers so you'll find that it's very wide and flat. The hike is popular but you'll find that there's plenty of room on the trail for everyone.
The trail meanders along the stunning Middle Fork American River. You'll find several spots along the way that are perfect for stopping and relaxing while taking in the views of the river. Natural beauty is abundant on this trail, but that's not all that it has to offer.
It isn't long before you come across the trail's namesake: the remnants of an old rock quarry. Back in the early 19th century, hundreds of men worked in this region of the canyon gouging out the mountainside. The trail essentially follows the very same railway that was used to carry rocks from the canyon into Auburn.
You'll come across all sorts of abandoned structures leftover from when the quarry was in production. Huge concrete remnants have slowly been reclaimed by nature over the past century or so.
The highlight of the trail is the old Hawver Cave. It was discovered in 1906 and contained ancient fossils dating back 5.3 million years. There have even been 10,000-year old human skeletal remains found in the cave, along with underground rivers and waterfalls. How amazing is that? Unfortunately, it is closed to the public due to past vandalism.
Soon after continuing down the trail from the cavesite, you'll come across the actual rock quarry which consists of huge limestone walls. It's truly a spectacular sight to see. You might even spot some people climbing these magnificent walls.
This trail is just full of surprises. If you continue past the quarry you'll eventually end up on the American Canyon Trail. After about a mile, the trail leads you to a fantastic hidden waterfall and pool. It's the perfect place for stopping and relaxing before heading back.
There is a day-use fee for Auburn State Recreation Area of $10. However, you more than get your money's worth after seeing all there is to see along the Quarry Trail. With loads of natural beauty and historical features, this trail truly has it all.
Check out the trail map
for an in-depth look at the trail's path.
Doesn’t this hike look absolutely magical? There’s so much to see on this incredible trail. It definitely packs a punch. If you prefer shorter hikes than this one, then be sure to take a look at our list of
13 Incredible Hikes Under 5 Miles In Northern California.