Back to index El Dorado Trail - El Dorado to Placerville Hike
Trip Date:  04/28/2015

: 7.9 Miles

Vertical Gain: 350'

Group Size: 2
Hike Rating:  Easy   Moderate   Hard   Strenuous
El Dorado Trail El Dorado to Placerville Hike
Download GPX GPX for this trip
El Dorado Trail El Dorado Elevation Profile
Start Coordinates:   N 38 41.017, W 120 51.031     End Coordinates:   N 38 43.986, W 120 47.372
Car Shuttle Req'd:   Yes Parking Directions:   For the parking area in Placerville, take Highway 50 to the Broadway exit if heading east.  You will get off and turn right, then right at the stop sign and then you will turn left after crossing back under the freeway.  The parking area will be on the left.  If travelling west on 50, exit Mosquito Road, turn right at the first turn and the parking area will be on your left.  
For the El Dorado Parking area, take Pleasant Valley Road into the town of El Dorado.  Turn north onto North St. just a little west of the intersection of Pleasant Valley and Highway 49.  Head up this street and turn left at the T intersection.  Park near the old El Dorado trail station.
Hazards of Note:   Rattlesnakes, mountain lions, ticks, poison oak. Crowd Factor:   Minimal to Heavy.  The section from El Dorado to Missouri Flat, about the first third of the hike is very lightly used and still running along the old train tracks.  From Missouri Flat on the trail is paved and is heavily used by bikers, walkers and even some equestrians.
General Notes:
From the trailhead in El Dorado follow the tracks to the east as they bend almost immediately to the north.  You can walk along the tracks or use the dirt trail just to the right of the tracks on this section.  After about a mile the trail will cross Blanchard Road, and then head due east again.  After this point the trail will start to head back north, will cross over the moderately busy Forni Road adn then continue north and east past the Diamond Springs business park on the right.  
As you near the very busy Missouri Flat Road, the trail will benc east again, and you need to cross Missouri Flat at the light (Golden Center Dr) just on your left as you face the road.  Walk back to the parking area across from where the trail hit Missouri Flat, and pick up the bike trail here.  This is a well-used section of the trail, with the impressive Weber Creek Trestle about halfway along this section.  This section of trail will end at the El Dorado County Jail, and you will need to walk west on Forni Road for about 1/4 mile until you reach Ray Lawyer Dr and the start of the bike trail section again.  There is a helpful sign here that will guide you through Placerville on the trail, which disappears for about a mile along Main Street.
In Placerville stay on the right side of the road, until you pass the courthouse at Bedford Ave.  Cross the street here, and pick up the trail again just past the pedestrian bridge entrance across the highway.  This will take you all the way to the parking area in Placerville at the bus depot, and the end of this section.

This hike is rated as Moderate only due to the distance of it.  The elevation change and the flat, wide surface would otherwise rate it as Easy.

The trail signage as you leave El Dorado and cross over Blanchard Rd. Trailhead sign
A way across to the other side of the tracks built over 100 years ago.
Old waterway 
Great colors on the trail in the springtime.  This is along the section past Missouri Flat on the way toward the trestle. Color on the trail
Approaching the trestle from the south side.  Amazing what a structure this is when you get up close to it like this. Approaching the trestle
There were over 100 locks attached to the viewpoint on the middle of the trestle.  Upon closer inspection they mostly were engraved with marriage dates and anniversaries.
Locks galore One example
Looking back at the trestle that we had just crossed and the old structure directly under the new path. The trestle
A closer look at the impressive superstructure built over 100 years ago. Underneath
A stunning meadow with amazing greens just past the trestle area. More color 
More of the section of trail near Ray Lawyer which looks to have just recently been paved and worked. More of the trail
This map at one section of trail near Ray Lawyer Dr is very helpful for navigating through town as there is not trail through a good section of it. Helpful map
The area of the trail just to the west of the town of Placerville is surprisingly pleasant even being just about 100 feet from the highway. more trail
Not a typical view from one of my treks through mountain trails but you can certainly find lots to eat along the nearly mile path through Placerville. trail through town
Another newly paved section of the trail just to the east of the pedestrian crossing over Bedford Ave.   Last part of the trail
Finally, the end of the section of trail is marked at the Placerville Depot for busses and Amtrack shuttle service.  A nice place to finish up either this direction or coming west from the end of the trail up by Camino. Placerville depot
GPS Track of the full hike. GPS Track of Hike