North Fork American River - Stevens Trail (attempt) and Codfish Falls

Stevens Trail/Codfish Falls Trail Map

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Stevens Trail (attempt)

This weekend, I had in mind to do a less strenuous hike with my 7yr old and I wanted to start looking over Ron Gould's North Fork Trail guide, so I settled on Steven's Trail just outside of Colfax. I even wanted to get an earlier start which I did, however, we didn't get very far on Stevens.

We reached the parking lot about 10:45am with the plan to take our time and hike as far as my 7yr old could tolerate (I was hoping most of the way 6-8 mi). We ambled down the trail about 0.5 mi just past an old road coming in from the right when we spotted a bear (sorry, no pictures on this one). Luckily, he turned our way, took a look, then headed up the hill from the trail.

I decided to turn around and leave the trail. So our all day hike on Stevens turned out to be short lived.

On our way back we ran into a couple hiking with the same idea in mind. I told them of the bear siting. They decided to turn around as well. Back at the car, they asked me about other hikes in the area. Being a new hiker in the NF and a recent contributor to the North Fork of the American River Alliance, I told them about Ron Gould's guide, the NFARA.org site and Russel Towle's North Fork blog and remembrance site and suggested that Codfish falls might be a good alternative, now that the time was approaching noon. Turns out that the woman of the pair teaches at American River College, like myself. They actually had this trail downloaded from the Internet. I told them we may meet up with them later after my daughter ate a bite.

Off we went to Codfish Falls...

Codfish Falls

Using Ron's directions and taking the easier of the two ways to get to Ponderosa Bridge, I decided to take the Foresthill Road to the Ponderosa turn off and then take the 3 mi drive down, down, to the canyon and parked at Ponderosa Bridge. We did meet up with the pair we met on Stevens and they were just getting ready to head out. The commented on the drive down that it was a lot rougher than they expected. I replied that at least they did not take the 6 mi drive from Weimer. I told them that many of my "scouting" adventures to check out trail heads along I-80 to the NF had been met with driving very "questionable" roads and that a high rise vehicle and possible 4WD would be recommended. I am glad I have one for these such adventures.

So on we went through the stifling heat and the very low NF. To me, its all good. Just getting out exploring these wonderful places with the seed planted from Russel Towle's blog posts and Ron Gould's guide. I definitely plan to revisit some of these places in the spring time when the water is high. I also plan to visit some of the more impressive adventure spots that is profusely described in Russel's blogs. They seem amazing and, checking other related posts and blogs (see above), the are truly amazing, especially earlier in the year.

The trail was not too long, but seemed longer than I would expect because of the heat and my 7yr old likes to talk more and walk less. Eventually, we reached what would have been the falls, except it is September and the falls are just a trickle, perfect for the little frog my daughter spotted and tried to catch. We hung out for a few and then did our return trip. On the side at the confluence of Codfish Creek and the NF, we pulled off to the right and dropped down to the bed of the NF to take some pictures and experience the NF right at its base. So awesome being in the canyon.

We finished off the hike with my daughter jumping in the pool just at the base of the Ponderosa bridge while I hung out on the shoreline and watched the crazy young-folk jumping in different forms off the bridge.

It was a good day. New adventure...more to come.



Loch Leven Lakes Trail

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Loch Leven Lakes trailhead is just off I-80 at the Big Bend Exit. The trail is mostly an uphill climb to to the Loch Leven Lake. From there you can hike about 1/4 mi to the Middle Loch Leven or about another mi to the High Loch Leven. On the west side, you can pick up the trail for Salmon Lake which is another mi or two. Loch Leven will make for a good day hike where one can experience some or all of these lakes in a day. Water is much lower in the summer than the spring.