Auburn State Recreation Area

Located in the heart of “gold country,” Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA) consists of over 35,000 acres that spans 40 miles, including 20 miles along the North and Middle Forks of the American River. This region used to be filled with gold miners back in the 1840’s through 1870’s. Nowadays, it’s an open range of recreational opportunities from whitewater rafting to hiking. Almost 1 million visitors explore this rec area each year. The ASRA is situated on the border of Placer and El Dorado counties. There are several towns located near or within the ASRA including Auburn and Colfax.

This region is one of my favorite places to explore. The ASRA has a wealth of beauty, adventure and history just waiting for you to experience. ASRA is open from 7am to sunset and is free to travel through, hike, etc. However, most of the day use parking areas have a $10 parking fee.

  • Hiking

    The Auburn State Recreation Area has over 100 miles of hiking, horseback and mountain biking trails. These trails vary in degrees of difficulty, wind through steep canyons, run alongside the American River and are typically well maintained. The following is a list of the popular trails in the ASRA (click on links to checkout my explorations):

  • Camping

    ASRA is also home to some wonderful campgrounds:

    Mineral Bar


    Lake Clementine

  • Gold Panning

    Because the ASRA is located in the heart of  gold country, gold panning is a popular activity. However, there are some regulations and restrictions that you can read about by clicking here.
  • OHV

    ASRA even has an off road area for those to ride. The Mammoth Bar OHV is located about 30 miles northeast of Sacramento and has been around for over 25 years. However, you must check with the ASRA office for the OHV rules and regulations.
  • Whitewater Rafting

    The North Fork and the Middle Fork of the American River provides rafters with some very technical and challenging rapids. These portions of the American River can be very dangerous and require significant rafting experience. There are roughly 30 whitewater outfitters that are approved to take you rafting on the river. The North Fork has the following popular rafting trips

    The North Fork has the following popular rafting trips:

    • 4 miles from Iowa Hill Bridge to Yankee Jims Bridge
    • 4 miles from Yankee Jims Bridge to Ponderosa Way Bridge
    • 4 miles from Ponderosa Way Bridge to Upper Lake Clementine

    The Middle Fork has the following 1-3 day trips:

    • 15 miles from Oxbow to Greenwood
    • Seven Miles from Greenwood to Mammoth Bar
  • Special Events

    The Western States 100 mile Endurance Run – 100 mile run from Squaw Valley to Auburn. Roughly, 20 miles of this run is through the ASRA.

    The Tevis Cup – 100 mile horse ride also along the Western States Trail.

iowa hill bridge mineral bar (1 of 1)ASRA Bridges

 codfish falls lower (1 of 1)ASRA Waterfalls

Clarkshole1 (1 of 1)ASRA Lakes and Rivers



yjr signMore ASRA Content




For more info, check out the ASRA official site.

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