Rain, sun, rain, wind, partial sun, rain … what’s a hiker to do? Go with the flow! Or rather, go to the flow. Hidden Falls Regional Park in the Sierra foothills near Auburn has 30 miles of multi-use trails, the most popular of which is the 2.5-mile (round-trip) route leading to Hidden Falls.
For an easy stroll, take the wide oak-lined service road toward South Legacy Way, which ascends the grassy hillside, with dramatic views of the valley beyond. At Deadman Creek, cross the bridge and head west onto the Hidden Falls Access Trail, a rocky path that creeps along the canyon’s edge.
You’ll hear the falls before you see them. Even pre-snowmelt, they’re at full gush thanks to steady flows from Coon Creek. A small observation deck will get you up close and personal, and a few hundred feet up the trail is a popular (i.e., crowded) spot for lounging on boulders, skipping rocks, and (in summer) taking a dip. It’s also a good turnaround point. Another option is to continue on, taking in the scenery from Canyon View Bridge or exploring the half-dozen other trails that converge here. Free flow.
BEFORE YOU GO: Parking reservations are required on all weekends and holidays, and passes sell out during busy times. No parking reservations are issued at the site. To reach Hidden Falls Regional Park, take Hwy. 49 north from I-80 in Auburn. After 2.7 miles, turn left on Atwood Rd., then right on Mount Vernon Rd. At Mears Dr., turn right and follow the signs to the parking lot. Parking is $8 for a full day and $4 for a partial day. Dog friendly!