Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
347.00 ft (105.77 m)
Trail type
0.00 mi (0.00 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Running along the North Fork of the American River, the Lake Clementine Trail proceeds directly under the Foresthill Bridge and ends at the North Fork Dam that creates Lake Clementine. The dam was constructed in 1938 by the Army Corps of Engineers to mitigate the sediment generated by hydraulic mining operations upstream. Today the lake is used mainly for recreation, and in the warmer months you will often see kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders cruising the clear waters. The Foresthill Bridge is the highest bridge in California, the fourth highest in the United States, and ninth the highest in the world; it has also appeared in several films.

The large, concrete ruins from an old Steel Bridge that was used between 1911 and 1955 can be seen within the first quarter mile. You'll also encounter Clark's Hole, a popular local swimming area in hot summer months that offers a little cliff jumping and a sandy beach for relaxing. Roughly a mile down the trail you will notice large rock abutments that are the last remains of a toll bridge used between 1852 and 1875.  Crossing the wood covered bridge cost 6 cents per cow, 50 cents for a horsemen, and a dollar for a wagon and two horses. The last section of trail was originally used during the late 19th century as a stagecoach route connecting the city of Auburn with the Gold Rush camps located along the river.

Numerous chestnuts trees, oaks, madrones, and white alder acorns root in the hillside, and the trail weaves through manzanita, lupine, star thistle, California poppy, and larkspur. Throughout you will see plenty of squirrels and birds.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee


Great views. Swimming holes. Dog friendly. Historically significant.


Crowded. Hard to find parking. Dusty.

Trailhead Elevation

578.00 ft (176.17 m)


Historically significant
Bird watching

Suitable for




Rainbow Falls Lake Clementine. 10 dollar cash entry into the parking lot, but there are free spots before the entrance. A beautiful view this time of the year! Feel free to use my images for the update of the article.
There is free parking at Lake Clementine, just pass the confluence and travel to the end of Old Auburn/Foresthill road. Turn right on Foresthill Road, left immediately onto Lake Clementine Road. Park near gate at huge switchback. Leave room for boats, road extremely narrow, but paved. After heavy rain, the spillway at the lake is very impressive, and seasonal waterfalls flow down the steep canyon walls, making winter the best time to enjoy this trail, in my opinion.
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