Down and Up Trail at Cronan Ranch
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4.4 miles Loop
Know Before You Go:
Bring sunscreen, as there are many exposed sections. Bring swimwear for a cold plunge in the river.
Hit up The Farm Table (ourfarmtable.com) in Downtown Placerville for some locally-sourced bites from acclaimed Northern California chef, Frederick Reyes. The menu changes based on what is available locally, and they have a generous beer and wine selection. Stop in for lunch or dinner or even brunch on Sundays.
Why We Love It:
As the Sierras continue to thaw, this close-to-home trail offers some amazing March sunshine, flowers, thick forest sections, and direct river access for a Wim Hof style cold plunge for the daring. With enough elevation gain to feel you got your work out, this half-day hike is great to start training for the warmer months to come.
Dogs are welcome on a leash, bring layers, sunscreen, plenty of water and please practice Leave No Trace principles.
Setting Goals for Summer
With so many world-class hiking destinations in our back yard, making your hiking bucket list should be easy. Do you want to do a thru-hike of the Tahoe Rim Trail or backpack several days on the Pacific Coast Trail?
Getting in shape and knowing your gear is key for these longer trips. Here are some good recommendations:
1) Break-in your gear. Never start a long hike (more than five miles) or a multi-day trip with brand new gear. This is especially true for your shoes. Test out and break in your new gear on easier trails, like the Down and Up Trail.
2) Plan the logistics. On many longer hikes, you will need to leave a car at the endpoint and arrange a drop-off at your starting point. For multi-day trips, you may need to arrange food drop-offs at key points of the trail.
3) Hike with extra weight. On longer trips, you will be carrying significantly more weight than normal. Get in shape by carrying extra weight on shorter trails to prepare for the extra effort.
by Ryan Martinez
Do you have a favorite trail in the region you’d like to see featured? Tell us all about it at [email protected]
Hike photos by Jenna Britton, @jennabean916. The Farm Table photos by Taylor Gillespie.
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