Day Use - Sunrise to sunset
Auburn Sector Office hours 8am to 4pm Sunday-Saturday excluding holidays
Auburn State Recreation Area
Due to the Bridge Fire, the following areas of Auburn State Recreation Area will remain closed to public access:
- Mammoth Bar including all trails
- Culvert Trail
- Connector Trail from Doc Gordon’s to Lower Lake Clementine Road
- Fuel Break Trail
- Trails between Grizzly Bear House and Mammoth Bar
- Foresthill Loop Divide on the Middle Fork side of the Canyon
COVID-19 Guidelines (June 21, 2021)
Protect yourself, family, friends and your community by following these prevention measures:
- Know Before You Go – Prior to leaving home, check the status of the park unit you want to visit to find out what restrictions and guidelines are in place. Have a back-up plan in case your destination is crowded. Stay home if you are sick
- Plan Ahead – Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer.
- Play It Safe – Find out what precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors, especially if this is your first time visiting the State Park System. Learn more at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
Be COVID-19 Safe– State Parks continues to follow guidance provided by the California Department of Public Health:
- Fully Vaccinated Persons: Face coverings are not required in public outdoor settings.For indoor public settings, such as museums and visitor centers, all vaccinated individuals are to self-attest that they are in compliance prior to entry.
- Unvaccinated Persons: Face coverings are required in indoor public settings such as museums and visitor centers.
- Leave No Trace – Leave areas better than how you found them by staying on designated trails and packing out all trash. Do not disturb wildlife or plants.
Due to unusually dry conditions, seasonal fire restrictions are now in effect throughout Auburn State Recreation Area. These restrictions prohibit all fires, barbecues and tiki torches. Visitors camping in legally occupied campsites may use portable cooking devices and lanterns within their campsite or on vessels on Lake Clementine. Additionally, portable, wood-less, propane fueled campfires are permitted in designated campsites. A violation of this order is punishable as an infraction or misdemeanor with fines ranging from $280 to over $2,100. Link to the Posted Order: 690-038-2021 Seasonal Fire Restrictions. We thank you for doing your part to keep Auburn SRA fire safe.
In an effort to reduce illegal parking and improve traffic safety, State Parks recently partnered with the Placer County Department of Public Works to install “No Parking” signage along various stretches of Old Foresthill Road in the Confluence Area. These newly signedareas have been the source of vehicles obstructing traffic, creating public safety hazards and resulting inincreased levels of citations and towed vehicles. Visitors to the area should be aware of the new regulations and the resulting decrease in parking availability as compared to previous years.
As an alternative to parking in this area, the City of Auburn recently launched a weekend shuttle service to the Confluence from several points in Auburn. We encourage those visiting the Confluence Area to consider using this service. Specific information about the route stops and schedule can be found in this link. Additional details can be found here City of Auburn (https://www.auburn.ca.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=138).
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.
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).
Ponderosa Road has been closed for the last few weeks to repair a washout and for road maintenance. The road is now open as of March 19th for public vehicle access on both sides of the 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.
Starting May 1st, 2021, Mineral Bar will require reservations to camp. It will no longer be a first come first serve campground. To make reservations please visit www.ReserveCalifornia.com https://reservecalifornia.com/CaliforniaWebHome/.
Update- May 17, 2021
Substantial progress has been made in the last two weeks on the replacement of the track and construction of the new road. All vehicles entering the area are now being directed along the new road alignment to park in the area of the 90cc track on the river bar. Eastside and River Bar Trails will be temporarily closed to OHV use until a new route from the staging area to River Bar Trail can be established. OHV Trail access remains available from Rocky, Ranch and Stonewall Trails. The trials area is being relocated beginning May 17th and will be unavailable until approximately late July.
During construction please stay out of the work zone and abide by all signage.
On May 3, 2021 State Park staff broke ground on the replacement/relocation project for the Mammoth Bar Motocross Track. This project will involve relocating the former motocross track to the area previously used as the staging area, trials area and access road, while establishing a new road alignment through the prior track footprint. Upon completion, the day use, track and trials areas will have been relocated and the 90cc track will be left intact. We expect this project to be completed in the summer of 2021.
During construction, access will be maintained via temporary routes and the staging area will be relocated upriver to the gravel bar area near the 90cc track. There may be times when the area is temporarily closed due to construction activities. Temporary closures will be posted to our website and the Mammoth Bar phone line at (530) 885-4527. During construction please stay out of the fenced areas and away from the heavy equipment.
Upper Lake Clementine- Open for the season.
Lower Lake Clementine Boat-In Campground- Parking lot and launch ramp open. Campground Open May 1st, 2021.
Ruck-A-Chucky Campground/Driver's Flat Road- Open for the season.
Mineral Bar Campground- Open for the season.
China Bar- Open Friday through Monday 8 am until sunset.
Cherokee Bar/ Sliger Mine Rd.- Open for the season.
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.
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.
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.
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.