Auburn State Recreation Area

UPDATE (July 24, 2020) - As California State Parks begins working 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, it is important for visitors to continue to practice physical distancing and avoid congregating with people outside their immediate household. Everyone has the responsibility to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Here are some guidelines for people visiting Auburn SRA:

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
  • Cherokee Bar
  • Mineral Bar day-use areas
  • Robie Point
  • China Bar
  • Cool Staging Area
  • Drivers Flat Staging Area
  • Mammoth Bar OHV Area
  • Murphy's Gate
  • The Sector Office
  • The Mineral Bar Campground is now open on a first come-first served basis with the exception of sites 2, 5, 8, 11 and 16.  All campsites are for registered campers only.  Day users are not permitted to use campsites.
  • The Ruck-a-Chucky campground is open on a first come-first served basis with the exception of campsite 2.
  • All sites at the Lake Clementine Boat-In Campground are open.  Reservations are available online

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?

At this Park:
  • Yankee Jims Road is closed to parking until further notice. For more information, read our press release.  
  • Upper Lake Clementine
  • Please note there is no water, soap, or hand sanitizer available for hand washing anywhere in Auburn State Recreation Area.

Statewide:
  • Many campgrounds across the state remain closed until further notice. Some campgrounds have started to reopen with modifications. For more information, please visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping.
  • 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, please see below:
  • Stay Local: Stay close to home. Walk or bike into the park. Parking is very limited. Do not take road trips to parks and beaches or to neighboring states.
  • Stay Active: Keep walking, jogging, hiking and biking. Watch for one-way trails.
  • Stay Safer at 6 Feet: Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Gatherings, picnics and parties are not allowed. Visitors will be asked to leave if there are too many people at the park, beach or on trails to allow for the required physical distance.
  • Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash.
  • Stay Covered: The state now requires you to wear a face covering in most indoor settings and public outdoor spaces when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more from people outside of your immediate household. For details, please visit CDPH’s guidance here. Visitors should also abide by their local county health orders.

Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors. For more information, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

June 22, 2020- Seasonal Fire Restrictions Now in Effect

Seasonal fire restrictions are now in effect for all areas within Auburn State Recreation Area.  This order prohibits all campfires, portable cooking devices and liquid fuel torches.  Portable cooking devices fueled by liquid or pressurized fuel may be used by registered campers in a campsite and on registered vessels.  The use of portable, wood-less propane fueled campfires is also permitted within a campsite if the device has a knob or similar valve that can be turned off and no embers or other burning debris can escape the flame.  Link to The Posted Order.


River Swimming

The North Fork of the American River has returned to normal low summer flows.  The Middle Fork of the American River will rise dramatically every day due to dam releases upstream. These releases cause the river flow to increase by a factor of 4 every afternoon (from 250 cubic feet per second to more than 1100 cubic feet per second)  between 1 and 4 p.m. in the Confluence area.   Wearing a properly fitted personal flotation device is always recommended when swimming anywhere in Auburn State Recreation Area. Please see the Superintendent’s Message regarding water safety and drowning prevention here.


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

PLEASE NOTE: Park Fees are payable by cash & check only at this time and no cards accepted.  Passes can be used as usual.

Upper Lake Clementine- Closed to vehicle access due to Covid-19
Lower Lake Clementine Boat-In Campground- Parking lot, launch ramp, and campground open. You can reserve campsites online at www.reservecalifornia.com
Ruck-A-Chucky Campground/Driver's Flat Road- Day use and campground open.  Campground is first come first served.
Mineral Bar Campground- Day use and campground open. Campground first come first served.
China Bar- Open Friday through Monday 8 am until sunset
Cherokee Bar/ Sliger Mine Rd.- Open for day use.

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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