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Windy Point Trail- plant I.D. hike


This is an old miner's trail which provides access to the American River Canyon in the Sierra Nevada. In the spring, over 100 species of wild flowers can be observed along the trail, including an entire field of tufted poppies at 0.8 mile. Other flowers to be expected include goldfields, larkspur, dudleya, blue dicks, harlequin lupine, Kellogg's monkeyflower, fairy lanterns, and Pacific starflower.
Shortly beyond the first creek crossing (George Creek) at 1 mile, and before a second crossing (One-arm creek), a fork to the right allows river access. Another nearby fork to the left, offers access at 0.5 mile to beautiful falls and to a spring. Great horned owls, Swainson's hawks, red shouldered hawks, western pond turtles and California newts can be observed in season.
From the Windy Point Trail, one is treated to awesome views of the North Fork of the American River 1,800 feet below the rim of the canyon. You will not see crowds on this trail, even during the spring flower season. The hike ends at the first creek if high water makes crossing hazardous.
For a unique three-season hiking adventure (NOTE: summer afternoons can be hot- bring enough water and a good shade hat!), take I-80 east from Auburn for 10 miles and exit at the Colfax offramp. Make a sharp right turn onto Canyon Way. At 0.25 mile, turn left at Iowa Hill Road(signed). Keep alert on this paved but narrow road. You may see glimpses of the old stage road(in use from 1851 until the mid-1920s) as you drive down to the river. At 3.0 miles, you will see a wire bridge(built in 1928) across the North Fork American River. Continue 0.5 mile up to the trail head on the right at a turnout marked by four large boulders. This is where the road turns sharply to the left, away from the river. Park at or slightly downhill from the trail head, on the right.

This is an easy hike, but it is still a hike and you will most likley be tired once we get back to the car. It is diffrent than a plant walk which are usually easyer, just a heads up for those that don't walk much but it will be a lot of fun and a beautiful day! The walk will be led by Heather. Bring a plant ID book or 2 if you have them.

Vertical Gain or Loss: 800 feet

Trail Distance: 3 miles round trip to first creek.

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  • David

    Hi Edward! When is the next Hike?

    October 10, 2012

  • Angela S. T.

    Greatest hike I've ever had! Mos def gonna be part of my autobiography!

    May 26, 2012

  • Edward R.

    The hike was beautiful and Heather did a great job looking at plants with us. We did have an accident where one of the members slipped off the trail and tumbled about 40ft in the ravine. No serious injuries and she walked out the rest of the way, trooper! We saw many wildflowers and had a really enjoyable time including picnic by waterfall/creek

    May 26, 2012

  • Edward R.

    Allow at LEAST a few hours could go a bit longer, have hiked the trail but not to the spring/waterfall. I think bringing a small pack with a lunch in it is a good idea and my rule is always bring water on a hike. For me the trail is moderate. An easy hike but it has a slight down grade on the way in so on the way out that slight upgrade can require some persistence. I was tired by the time I made it back to the car, but it is well worth it in my opinion. An amazing hike coming up! Can’t wait!!

    May 23, 2012

  • Christina M.

    Hey all....I've got a few questions being I'm a newby..............this is an all day hike? do we bring our own lunches, water, etc? Is the trail difficult to hike?

    May 23, 2012

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