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Take a Hike to Browns Ravine South Shore Trail

Located In:
El Dorado Hills.

13.1 miles out and back.

Difficulty Level:
Moderate; heavily trafficked.


Know Before You Go:
This is a popular biking trail, so be aware of cyclists. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed. Also, there is lots of poison oak (and yes, it will still cause a rash even when the leaves are gone). Folsom Lake State Recreation Area charges a fee ($12) to enter.

Why We Love It:
Picture-perfect views of Folsom Lake and some serious but not terribly strenuous mileage to keep you moving through winter makes this a not-too-far-away favorite. When snow abounds and temps dip down in the Sierra, this hike is a great way to keep active. 


Trail Notes:
Respect the trail and practice Leave No Trace ethics.

Fuel Up:
The Purple Place Bar & Grill (, established in 1955, is El Dorado Hills’ original roadhouse. Their pup-friendly patio makes it a great spot to stop with your four-legged friend before (or after) a hike on Browns Ravine. With extensive offerings for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, plus menus for kiddos and even dogs, there’s seriously something for everyone.


Recognizing Poison Oak in Winter

It’s challenging to recognize poison oak this time of year, but here are a few signs that will help.
While you can expect the leaves to have already fallen, you may notice a few red leaves lingering. Remember: Leaves of three, leave them be.


Look out for bare, erect sticks protruding from the ground.  Poison oak in winter looks like a bare bush with long, whip-like stems.

Keep your eye open for cinnamon-colored branches.
Watch out for any plant that looks like climbing vines.

by Ryan Martinez

Top photo by Melissa Penwell. Two middle left photos and middle right bottom photo by Kassie Lee. Bottom right photo by Holly Hajdamacha. The Purple Place left photo by Zun-Jay Hou. The Purple Place middle and right photo courtesy of The Purple Place. Poison oak photo by Sundry Photography /

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