Back to index Cronan Ranch to Salmon Falls Hike
Trip Date:  12/18/2014

: 8.5 Miles

Vertical Gain: 700'

Group Size: 2
Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate   Hard   Strenuous
Cronin Ranch Hike
Download GPX GPX for this trip
Cronin Ranch to Salmon Falls Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 49.573, W 120 59.344     End Coordinates:   N 38 46.613  W 121 01.517 
Car Shuttle Req'd:   Yes Parking Directions:   Starting location:  Take Highway 49 to Pedro Hill Road.  Turn south on Pedro Hill road into the western side parking area for Cronan Ranch.   As of 2020 there is no fee to park here.
Ending location: Take Salmon Falls road just to the north of the Salmon Falls bridge, parking at the Skunk Hollow parking area to the northeast of the bridge.  There is a State Parks fee or Pass required to park here.
Hazards of Note:   Rattlesnakes, ticks, mountain lions. Crowd Factor:   Moderate to busy.  On the weekends especially this is a popular hiking, mountain biking and equestrian destination.  
General Notes:
The hike is mostly along the South Fork of the American River as it winds toward Folsom Lake.  There are three options from the trailhead, as you can take the main trail, turn right at the first junction to take the ridge trail, and off that you can also take the west ridge trail.   They all end up back at the same area, and you want to continue south of the South Fork American River Trail (SFART) to wind up in Salmon Falls at the end of the hike.  The Lollipop Tree is a good visual marker of your journey as you progress along the way.   There is some early elevation gain up the ridge on that route, then a good downhill section toward the river, followed by more elevation gain as you head up the side of the ridge away from the river nearing the end at Salmon Falls.

The parking area at Cronan Ranch full of orienteering students on this day. South Fork along the trail
Yep, just what it looks like.  Tracks from a GPS-using bear right in Cronan.
Bear tracks
View to the east from the ridge trail, including the "Frog Legs" hill across the river. View to the east
Trail  signs along the way for the unfortunately-named SFART trail. SFART Trail marker
Using the Lollipop tree as a guide for our progress along the river.
Headed toward Lollipop tree
Along the way we stopped to explore an interesting metallic structure on a tributary of the South Fork American River. Mark in the metal
The trail gained a lot of elevation over the river, and some of the edges of it were pretty steep all the way down to the water. Looking far down
An interesting old tree we found along the trail closer to the Salmon Falls end. Old tree
Near the end of the trail there is a nice overlook view of the Salmon Falls bridge and the start of this section of Folsom Lake. Finishing up at the Salmon Falls bridge
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike