Auburn State Recreation Area

Phone Number

(530) 885-4527

Park Hours

Day Use: Sunrise to Sunset

Auburn Sector Office: 8am to 4pm, open daily excluding holidays

Mammoth Bar, China Bar, Lower Lake Clementine: 8am to Sunset

Upper Lake Celementine: 8am to 6:30pm

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.

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

Park Advisories

Confluence Area Shuttle Service
The Confluence area parking can fill up quickly on any weekend.  Thanks to a partnership with Auburn Transit, there is now an on demand shuttle that will take you from any of 5 locations in the City of Auburn to the Confluence between 9:00a.m. and 5:00p.m., Friday to Sunday.  This shuttle will be operating April 1st through October 1st.  To make reservations please visit https://www.auburn.ca.gov/585/Confluence-RouteCheck and do your part to help reduce traffic on an zero emission electric bus!

Updated 9/3/2021: 

After the recent monitoring results from Upper Lake Clementine, additional samples were collected at 5 locations along the North Fork of the American River within Auburn SRA on August 31st.  Results from the analyzed samples were received on the afternoon of September 3rd. Water samples in at Upper Lake Clementine and in the area of the boat-in campground at Lake Clementine did not detect harmful toxins associated with harmful algal blooms. However, algal mat samples collected in the Mineral Bar Campground area, at Yankee Jims/Shirttail Creek, and just downstream from the Ponderosa Bridge all detected harmful toxins. For more details please refer to the HAB Incident Map.   

Due to the variable nature of harmful toxin levels, we recommend visitors to all sections of the North Fork of the American River (Mineral Bar to Rattlesnake Bar) assume that harmful toxins are present in the river as a result of algal mats. The toxins are especially dangerous to dogs, who are more likely to ingest the toxin-producing algae. Dogs should be kept away from the north fork at all times. We have received reports of dog fatalities likely resulting from cyanobacteria ingestion in 2020 and 2021 in the Oregon Bar area of Auburn SRA.  Swimming in the river or at Lake Clementine should be done with caution to avoid the slower moving side channels where algal mats tend to grow.  We have not received any reports of harmful toxin reactions in people.


Updated 8/25/2021: 

During monitoring for the State Water Boards pre-holiday assessment, an algal mat sample was collected at Upper Lake Clementine on August 16, 2021. On August 24, 2021, State Parks received notice that a high level of anatoxin-a (99.87ug/l) was detected from the algal mat sample.  If this level were detected in the water column (planktonic) rather than directly from the algal mat (benthic), the level would result in a danger advisory which would recommend no human contact with the water.  Because the sample was taken from a cyanobacteria producing algal mat, the concentration of anatoxin is likely to overrepresent the actual level of anatoxin in the water column. We are working with the Central Valley Water Resources Board and have posted signs throughout the Lake Clementine area advising that toxic algal mats are present in the water body.  We plan to conduct additional sampling in other areas along the North Fork.  Cyanobacteria anatoxins can cause illness in people and can be fatal to dogs.  Human and animal contact with suspected algal mats should always be avoided.  More information about toxic algal mats and HAB incident reports can be found here: My Water Quality: California Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

Beginning May 1, 2022 wake surfing is prohibited at Lake Clementine.  This new regulation was enacted due to damage to the shoreline, other vessels and the marina facility caused by abnormally large wakes associated with wake surfing.  The Posted Order defining wake surfing can be found here

The US Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) closed Ponderosa Bridge in July of 2020 due to structural deficiencies.  The Federal Highway Administration, in cooperation with BOR, have developed a project to replace the bridge with an anticipated construction date of summer 2022 to winter of 2023.  During construction, Ponderosa Road will be closed to vehicle traffic between Foresthill and Applegate due to construction on both sides of the river.  Updates to road closures and recreation will be posted here. For additional information on this project, the FHWA website can be found here.

Starting May 1st, 2021, Mineral Bar will require reservations to camp. It will no longer be a first come first serve campground from May 1st to September 15th. To make reservations please visit www.ReserveCalifornia.com https://reservecalifornia.com/CaliforniaWebHome/.

The Mammoth Bar Track relocation project has been completed.  The Mammoth Bar ride days (including the tracks and trails) are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Wet weather closure guidelines are in place for the entire OHV area.  These guidelines require the closure of Mammoth Bar after ½ inch of rain in a 4 hour period, 1 inch of rain in a 24 hour period or continuous precipitation below these levels that causes soil saturation.  After a wet weather event, the area will remain closed for a minimum 24 hour dry out period.  Information on wet weather closures can be obtained daily by calling (530) 885-4527.

Seasonal Access

Upper Lake Clementine- Opening for the season.

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

Ruck-A-Chucky Campground/Driver's Flat Road- Open for the season.

Event Advisories:

  • Equestrians will be crossing lower Drivers Flat Road Saturday July 16 at 6:00 pm to July 17 1:30 am for the Tevis Cup Ride

Mineral Bar Campground- Open for the season. 

China Bar- Open to vehicle access 7 days a week from 8am until sunset.

Cherokee Bar/ Sliger Mine Rd.- Open 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.
  • Bring your own drinking water, there is no potable water in the park.
  • 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.