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Passing through California’s historic Gold Rush country, the El Dorado Trail runs more than 35 miles from Camino west to the line between El Dorado and Sacramento counties, just south of Folsom. The route follows two former rail lines, the Southern Pacific Railroad and Michigan-California Railroad.
The rail-trail is a work in progress. For 8.5 miles on its eastern end—between Camino and Placerville, where the trail winds through the Sierra Nevada foothills—it is largely paved and can be enjoyed on road bikes. For the remainder—from El Dorado westward—the trail has a single-track, dirt surface best suited for mountain bikers, hikers, and equestrians.
A small section of the railroad tracks in the corridor are still in occasional use, although gravel has been placed between the ties to make mountain biking easier. The El Dorado County Historical Museum operates excursion trains on the El Dorado Western Railroad on Sundays between the Shingle Springs Depot (4241 Mother Lode Drive) and the El Dorado Station (6000 Oriental Street).
In Placerville, one can easily hop off the trail to enter downtown and enjoy the historical buildings and charms of an old gold-rush town. A highlight of the trail in this area is the breathtaking Weber Creek trestle that dates back to 1903 and towers about 100 feet above the creek; it lies just 1 mile east of Missouri Flat Road.
Farther west, trail-goers can take a break in Shingle Springs, where amenities can be found along Mother Lode Drive with several restaurants within a few blocks. On the south side of the street is Bradford Park, which offers restrooms and covered picnic areas.
From Shingle Springs to the county line, the views are pure wild west, where goats and cattle roam alongside the trail.
Future possibilities include extending the trail farther east from Camino to the Lake Tahoe Basin along the old Pony Express Trail.
On the east end of trail, parking is available in Placerville at the following locations:
On the west side of the trail, parking is available at the following locations:
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