American River Links Added

I have added a separate link section for the American River for links that include other "forks." The Canyon Keepers link has portions of its trail book in PDF format for download, some with pictures.


Soil Born Farms

Soil Born Farms is an urban organic farm that exists near my home along the American River. I didn't even know it existed until I saw a blurb in the Sunset Magazine this past month. So now I venture there occasionally and volunteer once in awhile, too. It is so nice to have such a splendid place nearby. Soil Born Farms has inspired me to continue my ventures to organic farming at my home.

North Fork Shaded Relief Topo Maps

I just finished a set of 1:24,000 scale shaded relief topo mosaics (42" x 60") for the North Fork of the American River. The maps include a good portion of the Middle Fork as well to help me plan and prepare my hiking trips. Check out my website JenningsPlanet-->Gallery for PDFs of the maps and more. I will likely make some minor updates and post some pure shaded relief renditions of the area as well. I may prepare some smaller versions of these as well as post the actual 1:24,000 PDFs that come from the USGS for this area. All of the information came from the USGS National Map Viewer and can be downloaded for free. The trimmed topos without the collar can be downloaded from the Cal-Atlas (aka CASIL) site for free. I created the maps using ArcGIS 9.3.1.

If you decide to print them out, they will take about 15-20 minutes to spool to an HP Plotter 4500.


Onion Creek and Cascade Lakes

Went on another adventure with the kids to explore some more of the North Fork. Again, I didn't get too far because I have a 7yr old and the fact we did not leave until 11:30AM to drive over an hour to any trail head.

Onion Creek

Based on a recommendation from the North Fork of the American River Alliance, I took off for Soda Spring to see how far I could drive towards the Royal Gorge. We went a few miles in just past Ice Lakes Resort and were able to drive pretty much up to a precipice where I took some photos. We continued on down, down towards Onion Creek. When we reached the 1st significant hair pin, I decided to turn around. I didn't want to get much further, just in case I ran into trouble, plus I wanted to check out the trail head near Palisade Lake that would take me down to the North Fork.

Cascade Lakes

So we did make it to the Palisades Trailhead (it is now about 4pm) and I did want to get out of the suburban. We walked about 45 min to an hour. I did notice that the North Fork would be about 7 mi which I will keep in mind for another day. I definitely want to go back and will probably do so in the spring when the water is up and flowing. The Cascade Lakes are of course very dry during this time of year, very dry...

All in all, it was another good scouting adventure and will come back to fully experience the glory of this trail.

China Trail

Another post I came across in the NFARA blog was a description of a hike that Russel Towle and a friend did a couple of years ago that starts around the Emigrant Gap area and trails down the North Fork. I will need to do this on my own or maybe with my son (12), since there will be a lot of driving and hiking.

I am eager to get to the North Fork at some point in time.

I am working on an overall map of the North Fork piecing together the 1:24,000 topo maps to make a large poster size wall map. I will post pics when I get them. I also want to put together a nice hill shade of the are too from USGS DEM data.


True Story Images

This website is from a good friend of mine. Beautiful pictures and a great person. If you are ever in need of some photog, look her up.

True Story



North Fork of the American River

First of all, a few links for those who are as interested as I...

North Fork American River Alliance (http://www.nfara.org/). This is a non-profit that one can contribute to help protect the North Fork of the American River.

Russel Towle A remembrance of Russel and his life.

Links to Russel's writings and natural history of the North Fork of the American River

I will add more posts on this subject as I become more involved.

The Slide Show of this Adventure

Euchre Bar
From North Fork American River - Euchre Bar - Lover's Leap

I was looking for a place to take my kids hiking a few weeks ago, somewhere near my home in Sacramento. I had made a pledge to myself to do more hiking and camping than I have done in years past and take advantage of the wonderful place I live near (1-2 hrs from many hiking areas in the Sierra Nevadas) and 1-5 hrs to the Pacific coast, depending on how far I want to drive. I had just completed a hike off of Hwy 50 in El Dorado National Forest (almost to Raymond's Lake). I had done another hike a good ways up I-80, off of the Big Bend exit. (I can't remember the trail, but it was good and went from 7000-8200 ft). I had also purchased both the El Dorado Forest and Tahoe National Forest Service maps and had spoke to someone that I used to work with on some good places to go hiking. I spread out my Tahoe NF map and started looking around the American River area. I knew that there were a North, Middle, and South Fork and have talked to a couple of people who did kayaking down some of them. Once I got a descent bearing of the topography, I checked on-line for any basic information that people have recently put out regarding their favorite hikes etc. Little did I know, but a person, Russel Towle, had spent a good chunk of his life hiking and maintaining trails within the North Fork of the American River. After reading a few of his blog entries, I decided on taking my kinds down the Euchre Bar trail. It was interesting to get to the trail head and then once there, we hiked down about 1/2 way (it's all down going down, thus all up, going up!)....and then my little girl decided to be defiant and touch the poison oak. This ended our trip down to the River for the afternoon.

Emigrant Gap Area

Once washed up, we did another excursion down Emigrant Gap through part of the forest, just checking out the land and seeing what was around. I have some good ideas for another hike.

Adventure to Lover's Leap

From North Fork American River - Euchre Bar - Lover's Leap

From North Fork American River - Euchre Bar - Lover's Leap

It being late, we decided to head back to Sacramento. As we got close to the Dutch Flat, we took the exit and headed south. I wanted to see if we could get to Lover's Leap, since the pictures I saw, were very spectacular!

We drove a bit, and then some more. Passed some very interesting homes throughout the woods along Moody Ridge, then came up to Lovers' Leap Ln. Took this for a bit and finished at the end which was Lover's Leap! I took my two kids carefully down to a look out. Snapped a picture to the West and then went to a small little path that led to a 2000' drop off to the East. Awesome! A hawk flew circles below us hanging on the thermals. We hopped back in the SUV (burb with 4WD, recommended or at least a high riding vehicle) and took off for home. There appears to be part of Moody Ridge that goes East from Lover's Leap Lane, but since I was down at the Alta exit off of I-80 and found a gate closing off the road with what appeared to be a security vehicle, I decided to return the same way I came (to Dutch Flat exit).

A very good trip all in all...

When I returned home, I broke my map out again to check some places where we went to and read some more about Russel Towle and his adventures.

I also came across the North Fork of the American River Alliance, which I am expecting to make a contribution to from now on.

This is a magnificent place and a place that I can spend countless hours on and hope to be the primary place to do some hiking, show my kids some wilderness, and give back to the mountainous environment which I love so much.