The El Dorado Trail is one of the longest trails in Placerville CA – over 35 miles long. Some sections are Class I and paved, making it easy to bicycle for the whole family. Other sections are dirt trails of medium and difficult grade. It has something for everyone! You can look at an online trail map. We share details below.
The El Dorado Trail runs along old railroad lines that used to take lumber from Camino down to Sacramento. The east section goes from Placerville CA uphill toward Apple Hill. It winds through tall ponderosa pines and incense cedars. The west section of the trail goes from Placerville all the way to Sacramento County.
Bike Rental Specials with the Placerville Bike Shop
Eden Vale Inn has a 2-for-1 bike rental special with the Placerville Bike Shop for our guests staying 2 or more nights. We recently rode the trail with the help of the friendly family who runs it.
The Placerville bike shop rents multi-purpose bikes for adults and children. They also rent side carts for small children and bike racks. Just ask, and they will loan you a helmet. They are required for children, and we adults always wear them. Safety first!
This week, we rode on the east section, a Class I paved multi-use trail. Matt in the bike shop told us that people love the views of the meadows and oak trees, and its peaceful quiet. There are not a lot of people on the trail, and it is conveniently close to the bike shop. Here are three places to start you ride, and some intersections to be aware of.
Parking Choice #1 – in Downtown Placerville
We chose to pick up the trail close to central downtown. We exited the bike shop, turned right on Broadway, then left at the T on Mosquito Road. We went just ¼ of a mile farther west on what becomes Main Street. We parked in the Ivy House Lot at Clay Street. The lot is across from the Cozmic Café where you can have a light lunch or beverage before or after your ride. Parking in the lot is free for 2 hours, and $1 thereafter for a maximum charge of $6. You can ride your bike out of this lot heading north, and pick up the trail on your right almost immediately.
Parking Choice #2 – Mosquito Road Station Lot
We cycled the trail to the Mosquito Road Station lot. You can also start from there. Parking is free and there are many spaces. You can leave your car there until 11pm. A restroom is available. To drive there, turn right out of the bike shop on Broadway. Travel 0.4 miles to the T intersection at Mosquito Road and turn right. Just beyond the overpass is a gravel parking lot on your left at Locust Ave.
You can ride your bike right out of the lot onto the trail heading east. Here is the trail entrance from the lot – just bike across the street and head onward onto the trail.
At this point, you are in the trees! It is a beautiful ride. We went through the round underpass, and along the quiet trail to Jaquier Road. Pay attention at this merge onto the street, below. If you have children with you, you might want to dismount at the “x” you see below, and cross the street at the crosswalk that is there. Adults can continue to the stop sign and ride across the street, continuing forward.
You just have to ride on a right shoulder for a minute or so and then you are back on the trail at the large trailhead on Jaquier Road at Camellia Lane.
Parking Choice #3 – Trailhead on Jaquier Road at Camellia Lane
The Jaquier Road trailhead has a large paved lot with portable restrooms. It is a good place to park if you want to ride from there to the east trail end, another 4.5 miles uphill. There is ample space for horse trailers. Keep in mind that walkers, joggers, dogs and equestrians may be on the trail. Trail etiquette is to greet a horse and its rider, to reassure the horse. Dogs need to be on leash.
We rode a little farther. Then we had a nice rest and looked at our trail map.
When we turned around and went back, we whizzed downhill at a great speed! This is a great little stretch for a family or a casual ride as part of a busier day.