Auburn State Recreation Area

Update (December 11): California has issued a Regional Stay at Home Order to stop the surge of COVID-19 cases and prevent a strain on the health care system. This action will help protect critical care for patients. While the order includes the closure of campground sites in impacted regions, the state also recognizes that mental health is physical health. As such, day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public will remain open. Members of the same household are encouraged to stay local and recreate responsibly in the outdoors. Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.

What is open now?
Auburn State Recreation Area is open to vehicular traffic and parking at the following areas:
  • The Confluence (best access to Lake Clementine Trail and Dam Overlook)
  • Lower Lake Clementine Road Lake access.
  • Quarry Trail Parking Lot.
  • Auburn Staging Area.
  • Mineral Bar day-use areas.
  • Robie Point.
  • China Bar.
  • Cool Staging Area.
  • Drivers Flat Staging Area.
  • Mammoth Bar OHV Area.
  • Murphy's Gate.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
Closed at this park:
  • Mineral Bar Campground.
  • The Sector Office.
  • Upper Lake Clementine (Seasonal Closure).
  • Please note there is no water, soap, or hand sanitizer available for hand washing anywhere in Auburn State Recreation Area.
  • Sliger Mine Road/Cherokee Bar (Seasonal Closure).
  • Driver’s Flat Road/Ruck-a-Chucky Campground (Seasonal Closure).
  • Lake Clementine Boat-In Campground (Seasonal Closure).

Statewide:
  • Many campgrounds across the state remain temporarily closed until further notice or will be temporarily closed in accordance with the new Regional Stay at Home Order. More information here.   
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?

Yes, State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
  • Stay LocalStay close to home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Do not travel if you or someone in your household is sick.
  • Plan Ahead The COVID-19 pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. As such, information on this webpage may change. Prior to visiting us, please check this webpage again right before you visit the park to find out if new guidelines are in place.
  • Stay Safer at 6 feet – No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings, picnics or parties. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distance.
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean – Be prepared. Not all restrooms are open to the public. in some cases, restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
  • Stay Covered – The state requires you wear a face covering when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

Statewide, California State Parks continues to work with locals on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. The need for Californians to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the outdoors remains critical.

For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.
Closure of Ponderosa Bridge
The US Bureau of Reclamation will be closing Ponderosa Bridge to vehicular traffic over the North fork of the American River on July 15th, 2020 due to structural deficiencies.  The area will remain accessible by vehicle, however vehicles will not be able to cross the bridge.  Please review the BOR press release.

Phone Number

(530) 885-4527

Park Hours

Day Use - Sunrise to sunset
Auburn Sector Office hours 8am to 4pm M-F excluding holidays

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Dogs allowed, with the exception of Lake Clementine, where no dogs are allowed. Mutt Mitts are availble at various locations to help pick up after your dog. Mutt mitts are to be disposed of in trash cans, not left on trails.

Driving Directions to Auburn SRA

The park (which is 20 miles long on two forks of the American River) is situated south of Interstate 80, stretching from Auburn to Colfax. The main access is from Auburn, either on Highway 49 or the Auburn-Foresthill Road.

Camping and Lodging

Visitors will be able to reserve campsites and lodging six months in advance from the current date. Bookings may extend from the arrival date to the desired departure date – based on availability and the park’s maximum stay rules.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

BOATING
Boating
OVERNIGHT FACILITIES
Family Campsites
Primitive Camping
Boat-in/Floating Camps
TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
Horseback Riding
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Exhibits and Programs
Fishing
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Off-Highway Vehicles
Beach Area
Swimming
Vista Point
Family Programs
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms

Seasonal Access

Upper Lake Clementine- Closed for the season.

Lower Lake Clementine Boat-In Campground- Parking lot and launch ramp open. Camp ground closed for the season.

Ruck-A-Chucky Campground/Driver's Flat Road- Closed 10/15 for the season.

Mineral Bar Campground- The campground is currently closed due to the Regional Stay at Home Order.  The day use areas remain open.

China Bar- Open Friday through Monday 8 am until sunset.

Cherokee Bar/ Sliger Mine Rd.- Closed 10/15 for the season.

Location

The park (which is 20 miles long on two forks of the American River) is situated south of Interstate 80, stretching from Auburn to Colfax. The main access is from Auburn, either on Highway 49 or Foresthill Road.

In the heart of the gold country, the Auburn State Recreation Area (Auburn SRA) covers 40-miles of the North and Middle Forks of the American river. Once teeming with thousands of gold miners, the area is now a natural area offering a wide variety of recreation opportunities to over 900,000 visitors a year.

Major recreational uses include hiking, river access, boating, fishing, camping, mountain biking, gold panning, limited hunting, equestrian/horseback riding trails and off-highway motorcycle riding. Whitewater recreation is also very popular on both forks of the river, with Class II, III, IV, and V runs. Over 30 -private outfitters are licensed to offer whitewater trips in Auburn SRA.

Auburn SRA is made up of mainly federal lands. California State Parks administers the area under a Managing Partnership Agreement with the US Bureau of Reclamation.

Seasons/Climate/Recommended Clothing

Summer temperatures here average from high~80s to mid~90s, and winters are wet, with highs in the mid~50s and lows in 30s and low~40s. Dress in layers, and bring rain gear between October and April.

Natural Resources

Auburn State Recreation Area has richly varied natural habitats.
Riparian habitat- White alders, willows, Fremont cottonwoods and creek dogwoods line the rivers and stream banks.
Chaparral and foothill woodland- South facing upper canyon walls support chaparral-small, drought resistant trees and shrubs. Poison oak grows in the foothill woodlands community, as well buckeyes, interior live oaks, blue oaks, manzanita, deer brush and toyon.
Mixed conifer- Ponderosa pines, Douglas-fir, California black oaks and madrone cover the north facing upper canyon walls.
All habitats bloom in spring with acres of wildflowers such as monkey flowers, fiddleneck, Indian paintbrush, larkspur, lupine and brodiaea.
Park Wildlife- Black tailed deer and rabbits can be seen during the daylight hours, while raccoons, opossums, gray foxes and coyotes rule the night. Black bears, rattlesnakes, mountain lions and bobcats live in the park. The riparian habitat host California quail and canyon wrens. Red tailed hawks and bald eagles soar overhead, seeking their next meal.

Gold Panning Regulations

The Auburn SRA allows gold panning using the “hands and pans” method. Please abide by the following regulations when collecting minerals:

Panning for gold is considered to be “rockhounding” as the term is applied in the Department. The goldpan is the only exception permitted to the exclusion of tools from rockhounding in a unit (T-14 CCR 4611 (i))

Rockhounding is the recreational gathering of stones and minerals found occurring naturally on the undisturbed surface of the land, including panning for gold in the natural water-washed gravel beds of streams (T-14 CCR 4301(v)).

Tools and equipment may not be used in rockhounding, except gold pans. Rocks or minerals gathered may not be sold or used commercially for the production of profit. One person may gather no more than 15 pounds of mineral material per day. Historic and prehistoric or archeological specimens may not be gathered. In state recreation areas rockhounding is limited to beaches which lie within the jurisdiction of the Department and within the wave action zone on lakes, bays, reservoirs, or on the ocean, and to the beaches or gravel bars which are subject to annual flooding on streams. Rockhounding is limited to within the wave action zones of lakes and streams. Muddy water from panning must not be visible more than 20 feet from the panning operation (T-14 CCR 4307, 4308, & 4611).

If you have any questions, please call the Auburn SRA office for more information.

Please Remember

Carry a trail map, and be aware of the park's steep canyons and extreme heat during the summer.

All natural and cultural features of the park are protected by law and must not be removed or disturbed.

Do not hike alone. Wear long pants and be alert for ticks.

Watch out for mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and black bears.

Poison oak grows throughout the park.

Pets must be under control and on a leash no longer than six feet. They must be enclosed in a tent or vehicle at night.

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