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!
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 windes through tall ponderosa pines and incense cedars. The west section of the trail goes from Placerville all the way to Sacramento County.
Jeff and Andrew Molinare of 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 decided to ride the trail with the help of the friendly family who runs it. Bob Molinare opened the Placerville shop 38 years ago, and his sons Andrew and Jeff take a big part running it now.
The Placerville bike shop rents multi-purpose bikes at reasonable rates for adults and children, and side carts for small children. They rent bike racks as well. The shop staff make sure your rental is clean, well running, and properly inflated for a great ride. For a fee they are happy to do a safety check on your own bike. They also loan helmets. 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, the oak trees, and the quiet of this trail that goes into nature. There are not a lot of people on the trail, and it is conveniently close to the bike shop.
We had a choice of a couple of places to park at the beginning. We chose to pick up the trail a little closer 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 on the right 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 too, to the right, and pick up the trail on your right almost immediately.
We cycled the trail to the Mosquito Road lot. Go left, cross the street, and head onward onto the trail.
Then it got really beautiful! We went through the round underpass, and along the quiet trail until Jaquier Way. This is another merge onto a street, and then a right to get back onto the trail.
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 at Camellia Lane:
The Jaquier trailhead has a large paved lot with portable restrooms.It is another good place to park if you want to ride from there to the east trail end, another 4.5 miles uphill – or if you want to start your ride by flying downhill to Placerville. 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.
We rode a little past the El Dorado Trail lot on Jaquier Way. Then we had a nice rest and looked at our trail map.
When we turned around and went back, we just whizzed along at a great speed! This is a great little stretch for a family or a casual ride as part of a busier day.
Feel free to contact us to learn more about our bike specials and local trails. Happy cycling!