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Organization Title

Auburn State Recreation Area

Contact Information

(530) 885-4527

Park Hours

Day Uses - 7am to sunset, year round

*$10 Day Use Fee (per vehicle) is required in most areas.

Vehicles Gate Access - 8am to sunset
- Mammoth Bar OHV (temporarily closed)
- Upper Lake Clementine (Open Saturdays and Sundays 8am-7pm, closing for the season after October 15)

Seasonal Road Closures, weather permitting
- China Bar - Road open Fridays through Mondays 8am to sunset. Dirt road to Oregon Bar closed in inclement weather. 
- Drivers Flat (Open Now)
- Ruck-A-Chucky (Open Now)
- Sliger Mine Road (Open Now)
- Upper Lake Clementine (Open Saturdays and Sundays 8am to 7pm. Closes for the season after October 15, 2017)

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.

Mammoth Bar Motocross Track and Trails Update (January 2018)

 The Mammoth Bar Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) area within Auburn State Recreation Area continues to be closed to OHV use. Heavy rains and flooding shut down the area one year ago in early January 2017. Since then, State Parks along with partner agencies and stakeholder groups have been developing a range of options for the future of the Motocross Track (MX Track) and a plan to reopen the trail system.

Last February, approximately 15 percent of the Motocross Track was washed away by high flows from the Middle Fork of the American River. When the high waters receded, State Parks conducted an initial conditions analysis of the trails, worked with FEMA and Cal OES representatives, and received assistance from the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division. Partnering with a specialist from the California Geological Survey, a drone survey was conducted in order to topographically map the area. This data was used to provide a range of options for rebuilding the MX Track. 

Auburn State Recreation Area Sector Superintendent Mike Howard recently convened the Mammoth Bar Task Force to discuss the future of the MX Track and surrounding area. The Task Force includes representatives from the American Motorcycle Association (AMA), the Sierra Club, the Mammoth Bar Riders Association, Friends of the River, the OHMVR Division, and the US Bureau of Reclamation. The Task Force is analyzing future actions related to the 2017 flood events, which include mitigating public safety hazards created by the flood and four options for rebuilding the MX track. These options range from taking no action to four alternatives for rebuilding the MX Track.

State Parks is concurrently working with the OHMVR Division on a project to reopen the following trails: River Bar, Stonewall, Rocky, Ranch, Hillside, Squaw Flat, Castle Rock and the 90cc Kids Track. To better facilitate movement throughout the area, the Squaw Flat Trail will be changed from a one way trail to a two way trail. 

At this time, there is no projected date for reopening. Updates will be posted to the Mammoth Bar OHV web site.

Ponderosa Road Closure

Ponderosa Road from the Foresthill side down to the bridge is CLOSED due to weather. The Colfax side is open and high clearance vehicles are recommended. 

Lower Lake Clementine is now OPEN for boat launching.

The boat ramp at Lower Lake Clementine has been repaired and the road is now open as of November 7. 2017. Be advised that the dock will be repaired and placed within the coming weeks. 

*The Lower Lake Clementine campground is still closed for the winter season and will re-open through reservation in May of 2018. 

China Bar is now OPEN year round Friday through Monday 8am to sunset and fourth of July.  Vehicles not removed by sunset are subject to citation and being locked in.

Seasonal Access

  • Upper Lake Clementine *Closed for season.
  • Lower Lake Clementine Boat-In Campground *Closed for season - Reservation Only starting in May 2018
  • Ruck-A-Chucky Campground *Closes for season on Sunday October 15.
  • The back half of Mineral Bar Campground *Closed for season. Front half still open for first come first serve. 
  • China Bar *Now Open Fridays through Mondays - 8am to sunset
  • Cherokee Bar/ Sliger Mine Rd. *Closed for season. 

Birdsall Road and Boat Launch Closed Indefinitely

Due to a landslide on portions of Birdsall Road and boat launch area, the area has been closed to all public entry. The closed area is approximately .58 mile east of the beginning of Birdsall Road to the North Fork of the American River and includes vessel launching and take out. The next available river take out is approximately 1.25 miles downstream at Oregon Bar. 


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.

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 partner 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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Available Activities and Facilities at Auburn State Recreation Area

Family Campsites
Primitive Camping
Boat-in/Floating Camps
Hiking Trails
Horseback Riding
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Off-Highway Vehicles
Beach Area
Vista Point
Family Programs