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Quarry Trail

Walk along the river where the historic railway once traveled and end up at a stunning amphitheater of carved limestone
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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 3.5 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview:  This great hike along the Middle Fork of the American River ends in a spectacular amphitheater of sheer limestone walls rising around... more »

Tips:  You can view a display of fossils from the Hawver Cave, including a replica of a saber tooth tiger skull, at the Placer County... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Parking

There is a parking lot just off to the East side of Hwy 49. Make sure to leave your CA Parks Poppy Pass or your day pass visible on your windshield, the trailhead is downhill at the end of the parking lot.

2. Trailhead

Start the walk here. There are 2 rest stops with picnic benches along the trail and a few more at the end. Mountain bikes are allowed as are dogs on leashes.

3. Water Flow Gauge site

Notice the small grey hut on the opposite side of the river? Inside the hut there once was equipment for monitoring the volume of water passing by at any given moment. Upstream, pipes issue a controlled release of the water in this river. Water levels vary from about 100 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 1000 cfs. These conditions change the... More

4. Railcar loading station

The cement structures you see here were used to load the limestone from the quarry above into railcars for transport out.

5. Trail to Quarry and Hawver Cave

Head up here to see the quarry and the cave.

6. Hawver Cave

Discovered in 1906 by Dr. John C. Hawver, Auburn Dentist and Paleontologist, this cave was the site of many fossil discoveries and geological interests. Later it was co-opted for the quarry operations as an easy way to transport out material. Now it is closed for public use however it may be opened up for scheduled guided tours in the coming... More

7. Quarry

This limestone quarry represents the efforts to mine one of the purest limestone deposits in the US. Limestone originates from old coral reefs that have been metamorphosed by pressure and heat and solidified. This particular limestone was used primarily as an ingredient for cement.

Listen as Eric Peach from Protect American River Canyons (PARC)... More

8. Canyon Foliage

The plants found along the quarry trail are representative of what can be found throughout much of the American River canyon. You have oak trees of a few varieties including Canyon Live Oak and Interior Live Oak and California Black Oak. There are Big-leaf Maples, Willows, Foothill Grey Pine, Ponderosa Pine, plentiful Buckeyes, Toyon, and even... More

9. Rest area

10. Rest area

11. Canyon Animals

Be aware of River Otters you might see playing in the river down below. They enjoy feasting on Crayfish, an activity that often leaves the crustacean's empty shells strewn along the banks. Merganser River Ducks, Pipevine Swallowtail Butterflies, Praying Mantises, Dragonflies and butterflies are sometimes seen along this stretch of river with... More