The trailhead for Upper Clementine Trail, along with the
closest parking area, is located on a strip of private land that follows the
ridgeline, adjacent to Boole road and Cerro Vista road. The trail quickly
departs the private portion and traverses public lands controlled by BLM.
Trails leading from this trailhead are under constant
pressure from four-wheelers and dirt bikers. Concerned about liability
issues, fire hazards and trash problems, the property owner has attempted over
the years to block entry to motorized users. All efforts, including gates,
posts and concrete barriers, have been largely ineffective -- the targeted
users have simply forged new paths around every barrier.
Most recently, very large No-Trespassing signs have been
erected near the main entry points. In conversations with the lawyers
representing the landowner, it is apparent that walkers, mountain bikers and
equestrians are not considered to be part of the problem. Accordingly, the best
advice MVTA can offer is that legitimate recreational, non-motorized use will
not prompt an enforcement action.
Recreational use of this trail, as with all others listed
on this website, is at the user's own risk. If you encounter anyone who claims
you are trespassing or suggests you should not use the trail, please report the
incident at once to the
This trail decends the western slope of the American River's
North Fork canyon. It is one of the most beautiful in the region and also the
easiest to access. Views from the trail take in breathtaking vistas of the wild
and scenic river hundreds of feet below.
Click on map shown to view the full-size version. The trailhead
is by the green star; the parking locations are shown as circle-P icons to the
south and southwest of the trailhead. Access to Boole Road is from the
Applegate exit from I-80, top left.
Upper Clementine Trail is multi-use. The upper half is also used
by trail bikes and other motorized off-highway vehicles. During the rainy
season (usually mid-November thru mid-April) to avoid causing erosion, this and
adjoining trails should be used by hikers only.
The trail covers about 2.5 miles in all, 5 miles round trip. The
route is generally easy to hike or ride, keeping a gentle, constant slope as it
drops about 1,150 feet to the river. The footing is even and mostly free of
This trail traverses
Cougar Habitat. Cougar sightings are rare,
but use good sense: Do not walk or ride this trail alone. Keep small
children and pets close at hand.
Poison Oak grows along
much of this trail and hangs out into the trail in places.
Drinking Water must be carried with you. Creek and river
water are not safe for human consumption, no
matter how clean it looks. Drink it only in an emergency and consult a doctor
Directions to trailhead:
The trailhead is located on a saddleback that is only
about 200 ft from the side of Boole Road, but there is no parking at the
trailhead. The closest parking is about 1/4 mile away on Cerro Vista Road.
- From I-80, take the Applegate exit and follow the
overpass road East to where it T's into Applegate Road.
- Go left onto Applegate Road; the road passes through a
one-lane tunnel under the railroad.
- Take an immediate right after the tunnel onto Boole
Road. Boole Road is narrow and has poor shoulders, so drive with care. There is
a dirt access road to the trailhead about 1.5 miles along this road, on your
left. There is no signage, so don't be surprised if you miss it. Parking at
the trailhead is not available: The short dirt road to the trailhead, about
200 ft. away, is generally in very poor condition. Use one of the parking
alternatives described next.
Recommended Parking: There are two good parking locations
nearby. Continue on Boole Road past the trailhead access road to where the
pavement forks. Cerro Vista Road to your left; Boole Road continues to your
- Cerro Vista Road: Go left at the fork; less than a quarter mile
up the hill is a flat dirt area to your left. There is room for several cars or
a couple of horse trailers in the flat area. From here, you can reach the
trailhead by taking the graded road that follows the ridgeline.
- Boole Road: Go right at the fork; about 1/2 mile down, you will
cross a cattle guard. About 100 yards farther is a large triangular flat area
between where the paved roadway sweeps to the right and a dirt wagon road
continues straight. This area is private property, but the ranch owners are
friendly. Horseback riders should be aware that it is no longer possible
to skirt the cattle guard as you proceed between this parking area and the
Overview: This trail decends from the saddleback area,
and follows a graded fire road down into the canyon, ending on a wide sandy
beach just upstream from Lake Clementine. It is a wide, graded road for about
the first half and becomes more of a wagon road farther down.
Trailhead: The saddleback area is on the rim of the
canyon. There is no trail signage, so here is what to look for: From the
Cerro Vista Road parking area, follow the dirt roadway north, up and over
the hill and down to the saddleback area, about 1/4 mile. From the
saddleback, there are trails in five directions:
- South: This is the trail you arrived on, coming from
the Cerro Vista Road parking area, 1/4 mile away.
- East: The well-graded road that heads downhill is the
Upper Clementine Trail.
- Northeast: This single-track trail, sometimes partly
obscured by brush, is the Assassin's Trail.
- West: A short dirt road connects to Boole Road about
200 ft away. There is no parking available on this roadway or on Boole Road
- North: A wide dirt road follows the ridgeline steeply
uphill. This trail is mostly used by dirt bikers. It ends about a mile away at
a locked gate.
Follow the graded roadway for about two miles. Part
way, there is a natural year-round spring on the uphill side of the trail,
denoted on the map by the circle-w symbol. The water is suitable for pets and
stock animals only.
You will next reach a junction area where, in 2005,
Parks & Rec placed a number of Toyota-size cement blocks across the trail
to prevent vehicle traffic from reaching the river. 4WD enthusiasts have long
since moved the blocks aside, but they still serve well as a junction
- The Main Trail angles off downhill to your
- Straight ahead is a foot trail that leads out to a
beautiful viewpoint at the end of Long Point -- well worth the side trip. Bring
- To your right is a wide trail that decends slowly
toward upper Lake Clementine for about a mile, passing an old mining claim with
its brick furnace building largely intact.
- Behind you, up trail several yards, is the turnoff
to the Training Hill trail.
From the junction area, the Upper Clementine Trail
becomes more like the Gold Rush wagon road that it originally was: It becomes
somewhat steeper, but it is still fairly easy going. It rounds the end of Long
Point and continues its decent toward river level. It narrows to single track
in one place, about 1/4 mile from the river, where past efforts to discourage
4WD traffic have caved away the downhill shoulder. It then comes out onto the
wide sandy edge of the North Fork of the American River.
Across the beach, the river forms a large slow pool
that is safe for swimming. At the downstream end of the pool the river enters a
section of mild rapids before entering the upper end of Lake Clementine.
Across the river is the Upper Clementine picnic area,
which is accessible by vehicle from
Foresthill Road. You can ford the river (conditions permitting) just above
where the rapids begin. Use caution in crossing the river, especially
during the period of Spring runoff. (Allow for the possibility that the water
may be too deep and swift to cross safely.) Continue up the gravel access road
on the other side for about 1.5 miles to the Foresthill Divide Road at the top.
The Foresthill Divide Loop Trail
is a ten-mile multi-use trail that crosses the access road shortly before
it reaches the highway. At the far end of the trail loop, it passes through
the Drivers Flat trailhead area, which
offers access to the Middle Fork of the American River and the