The 6 Best Ways to Enjoy the South Fork American River

Rafting on the South Fork American River with Eden Vale InnWhen you visit Eden Vale Inn, odds are high that you will want to visit the South Fork American River. It’s in our back yard, and we have water all summer long! Here are the six best ways to enjoy the flow.

  1. Go white water rafting! Eden Vale Inn offers a 10% discount on your trip with one of the many reputable companies in town. What’s great is that there are many options, from relaxing to thrilling! You can take a shorter, mellow “mid-river” trip that is suitable for children as well as the quiet-at-heart. Or choose a half-day trip with rapids for adventurous fun. For even more excitement, go on a full-day trip that will both soothe and thrill you as you raft through calm and white water! Longer trips include lunch for that full-day experience.
  2. Hop in a kayak! The South Fork American River is great for both new and experienced kayakers. We can direct you to private lessons, group classes, and local outfitters for your boat and gear. The nearby River Store even has an outdoor pool where you can take a kayak roll class.
  3. Walk and splash with your dog! Eden Vale is pet-friendly, and there are many riverside areas your pup can catch that stick or swim around with you. We have information about local parks, including Henningsen Lotus Park and Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, which have beach areas that allow well-mannered dogs.
  4. Wade with the kids! Families, anyone wanting a gentle stroll, and those in wheelchairs can all enjoy the Dave Moore Nature Area. Its path slopes gradually to the river under shady trees. Head back up after the splashing – or, if the kids have a lot of energy, you can do the whole loop once or more – it’s about a mile around.
  5. South Fork American River Hiking Cronan RanchTake a longer hike or ride! Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park borders the South Fork American River and has 12 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, picnicking and bird watching. Even longer, the South Fork American River Trail appeals to even the heartiest hiker. It’s 20 miles long, connecting Coloma-Lotus with the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. It always overlooks the river, and at places dips down to it for that refreshing splash.
  6. Be prepared! The South Fork American River is dam-controlled, which means its water is released on a schedule – and sometimes more often. Be alert at all times of the water level rising or falling, and learn about the schedule before you set out in your boat to have the best run possible. For your protection, life vests are required by law when floating in the river. Make sure to wear sun protection, too, and to bring drinking water and a snack. Those simple steps will help you enjoy the beautiful South Fork American River. Have fun!

Hiking Near Eden Vale Inn

5458531-pic_93If you’re looking for some good hiking, I have two trail suggestions this week. The first one is the hike to Black Hole of Calcutta Falls. This is an easy, leisurely hike of 2.1 miles through wispy forest that ends at the breathtaking Calcutta Falls. Calcutta Falls flows year-round and is an excellent place to take a stroll and have a picnic in the warm California sun.

For those of you who are looking for a more strenuous hike, I recommend . The hike is a lengthy eight miles filled with constant elevation changes, which make the hike so strenuous. The length of it runs along the Jenkinson Lake where you can take a dip if you get too hot. The hike can also be done on horseback.

Black Hole is about 12 miles  and Jenkinson Lake at Sly Park is about 20 miles from Eden Vale Inn Both are lovely places to spend your day while you have a romantic stay at Edenvale Inn.1778015-IMG_1020

Local Hiking and Mountain Biking

cronanAbout a 15 minute drive from Eden Vale Inn is wonderful foothill hiking and mountain biking.  The foothills don’t get any better, with the area offering views up and down the  South Fork of the American River and views of the Sierra Crest that divides the foothills from Lake Tahoe.  The Crystal Range (Sierra Crest in the area) is often covered in snow into May.   During the summer the foothill temperatures can be hot and you may prefer instead a High Country hike.  Foothill hiking is best October through May.   By December the area is green and accessible and stays free of snow all winter.  Spring is the prime time for a Sierra Foothills hike.   The the wildflowers come out and the foothills are a carpet of green.  More information is available at the inn including local maps.


Our favorite foothill hike at Cronan Ranch is the West Ridge Trail.  This easy 1 ½ hour walk offers great views of the American River and Crystal Range.


Click here for map

High Sierra Day Hiking

Ralston Peak above Lake AlohaHigh Sierra Day Hiking

These High Country Trailheads are around a 1 hour drive east from Eden Vale Inn, Placerville, CA. Elevation ranges are between about 5,000 feet and 9,000 feet.

These day hikes are a great way to escape the summer heat due to their elevation. These routes are chosen for the ease of access and scenery. You should not go unprepared. At a minimum have a good sun hat, sun block, sunglasses (it’s bright in the thin air) and carry water. A day pack with extra clothing, mosquito repellent, flashlight, matches, and some food is a good idea. There are several USFS ranger stations along the way where we recommend that you pick-up a map. Some of these hikes enter Wilderness Areas and day hikers can self register at the trailheads. 

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Snowshoe Hike Eden Vale Inn B&B near Coloma

Snowshoe Hike  Sat, Mar 6, 2010

The American River Conservancy (ARC) offers a unique opportunity to hike the snow-covered Sierras – weather permitting. Manny DeAquino will lead a 4+ mile trek (off Hwy. 50). Manny is an ARC volunteer. Please be sure you have the physical ability to make this trip enjoyable for all attending. Arrival time 9am.  All day. Meeting location & supply list available week before event. Reservations required. Some snowshoes available on a first-come basis. $10/members $20/non-members.  For more information call Julie Andert 530-621-1224.

Hiking near Eden Vale Inn Bed and Breakfast El Dorado County near Placerville

Coloma-Lotus News and Information
Monday, March 16, 2009
South Fork American River Trail Nears Completion

Imagine being able to travel on foot, bicycle or horse from the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area all the way to the rural beauty of the South Fork American River in the Coloma-Lotus Valley. Imagine doing so on a trail dedicated to recreation and the enjoyment of oak woodlands, conifer, chaparral, and the riverside.

That long-held hope is now on its way to being a reality. The final land parcel that completes the 20-mile route (see a PDF map) was sold by a couple who decided to protect its natural habitat for the public to enjoy. Funds that purchased it were provided by the State Wildlife Conservation Board, the State Resources Agency’s River Parkways Grant Program, and over 400 private donors. All this, plus the work that had been done on the rest of the trail route, was coordinated by the American River Conservancy (ARC).

The 20-mile trail has been 20 years in the making. Its completion is a source of great excitement for those who have been hoping and working for it since 1989, as well as the many who have come along since then and enjoy the prospect of traveling so far in the richness of nature in their own back yards.

Funds are still needed to bring the trail into reality. The ARC estimates it will cost $175K to complete trail construction and provide a few pedestrian bridges at stream crossings and interpretive signage at the trailheads. The official ribbon cutting is planned for the late spring of 2010. Contributions to the South Fork American River Trail Campaign can be sent to: The American River Conservancy, P.O. Box 562, Coloma, CA. 95613. For further information regarding trail project donations, please contact: David Morrill, ARC Marketing and Development Director at (530) 621-1224.

The completion of the South Fork American River Trail brings an even greater dream closer to reality. With regional coordination, it could become a key segment within a larger regional trail that would span the approximately 50 miles from downtown Sacramento (Sutter’s Fort) to Coloma (Sutter’s Mill). Parcel by parcel, this dream is moving to reality.