780 Salmon Falls Road
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
Although the name Darrington has other origins, the trail could have earned it from the bit of daring needed by mountain bikers traversing it. Only experienced bikers need apply, as the trail includes narrow paths, plenty of baby heads, granite obstacles, diverts and roots, as well as cliffs that make passage quite treacherous at times. Down hills on the trail are also exciting, and the trail begins near Salmon Falls on the southern side of Folsom Lake.
1775 Creekside Drive
Folsom, CA 95630
No need to travel to the hills, as the City of Folsom Parks and Recreation Department offers skills courses for both BMXers and mountain bikers. Beginners can practice the basics, including those all-important methods to avoid wipe-outs, and riders on more advanced levels can get in the zone with features like a 15’ wooden wall ride. Riders on all levels can try the rhythm trails and learn to fly without pedaling on the tight terrain pump track. Helmets are required, and a $3 entry fee allows access to the bike and skate parks for an entire day.
Auburn, CA 95604
This single track and fire break trail is an 11-mile loop, running in part beneath the 750’ tall Forest Hill Bridge. Best for advanced or intermediate riders, as it is strenuous, requires greater technical skills and includes some steep grunts and drop offs. The views of the American River are spectacular, and riders must keep an eye out for hikers. From Sacramento, take Highway 80 towards Auburn and follow signs to Highway 49 South. Stay on 49 until it veers right at the confluence, then continue straight towards Foresthill; immediately pull to the right side for off-road parking.
15489 Latrobe Road
Sloughhouse, CA, 95683
On Mondays from early June through Halloween, experienced bikers take self-guided rides in the Deer Creek Hills Preserve. Although there is no limit to the number of participants, anyone interested in joining the 4:30 p.m. to dusk rides are asked to register online in advance. Rides are free, but donations to the Sacramento Valley Conservancy are appreciated. Granny gears are required for steep single track climbs, and the views alone are worth the ride. The preserve also welcomes guests to the 4th annual FATRAC demo day on Sept. 10, 2016; the special event with FATRAC (Folsom Auburn Trail Riders Action Coalition) includes brews from Bike Dog Brewery and Two Rivers, and bikes from Trek, Kona, Pivot and Specialized. Registration and discounted tickets are available on the website.
Behind the Cool Pilot Hill Fire Station
Cool, CA 95614
Also known as the Cool or Knickerbocker trail, the Olmstead Loop southeast of Auburn runs just under 10 miles long. There are fire roads and both single and double tracks, and is appropriate for advanced riders, intermediates and alert beginners. The trail has several streams and occasional cattle gates, which must be closed once passed; riders also need to keep an eye out for equestrians. Olmstead is home to one of the largest and most well-known races in the area, the Cool MTB Race, held each February.