Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
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Lying at the river crossing at the bottom of the steep, winding Iowa Hill Road is the Mineral Bar Day Use Area. The area feels very isolated, sitting amongst the 42,000+ acres of Auburn State Recreation Area. 

Set along the North Fork of the American River and reachable from the town of Colfax, Mineral Bar Day Use Area is set at a scenic river crossing where the sounds of the flowing water mix with the rumbling and whistles of freight trains that weave high above on the hillsides.

The area presents an appealing alternative to the much more crowded areas of the park closer to the town of Auburn.

The day use area contains a walk-in boat launch area, which is reached down a terraced set of steps from a small parking area with a single spot and is restricted to loading and unloading only. Parking for the area is available inside the campground gate on the south side of the bridge, with overflow parking in a large gravel shoulder.

In addition to the boat launch, there are several day use areas located within the campground, with a cluster of picnic tables specified as day use beside the historic bridge. Deeper into the campground, visitors will find a path that leads down a hillside to a table and fire ring, with a small walkway that will take them to the riverside.

Another trail continues from the far end of the campground turnaround, heading a short distance before dropping onto the boulders at the water's edge. Swimming holes abound along the river, and a little exploration will lead further away from the weekend crowds.

The Pennyweight Trail begins about 300 feet north of the bridge on Iowa Hill Road, and leads down to the river.

Mineral Bar Campground offers 16 sites on a first come, first serve basis.

There is a $10 day use fee, payable at the self-pay stations adjacent to the parking areas. Day use hours inside Auburn State Recreation Area are 7:00 AM to sunset. There are vault toilets located at the campground and in the boat launch parking lot.

There is no water available at Mineral Bar, so visitors should carry their own in.


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Day Use Parking

Open Year-round



Solitude. River access.


Not accommodating for RVs and trailers. No drinking water.


ADA accessible
Vault toilet
Family friendly
Picnic tables
Near lake or river



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