20 miles from Auburn Courthouse. Easy-steep 15 miles, one way.
If you enjoy hiking where you aren’t likely to see anyone except during the Western States run this is the place for you! This is one of the most remote sections of the entire trail and because it is more difficult to access, seldom used. With 15 miles of trail between Foresthill and Ford’s Bar you get great views of the Middle Fork Canyon with some easy walking stretches high above the river, but it does drop 2000 feet overall. Southern exposure means hot and dry in the summer but it also crosses some creeks that run wet all year. The trail can be reached as an extension of Driver’s Flat, from Foresthill, or from Todd Valley estates. You could also camp at Ford’s Bar and stay for days or, until State Park rangers notice you.
Directions: Go 20 miles from Auburn to Foresthill. The trail is accessed from California street or from Mosquito Ridge Road right out of town. Otherwise you can get on it closer to Ford’s Bar from Todd Valley estates using Nugget to Alton Road. Or my favorite, go to the end of Oakwood, park and take the trail south that winds around the ridge to drop in 8 miles from Foresthill.
Imagine a fun afternoon hike around Mt. Baker. You’re enjoying the quiet of the forest, the dappled light shining through the trees, and the intoxicating smell of the leaves when thick fog rolls in unexpectedly at 4:00 p.m. In a panic, you follow the wrong trail for hours along a progressively steeper face until you’ve run out of daylight.
Imagine being on a snowmobile in the back-country with friends, zipping through the powder and chasing each other between the tree trunks when a blizzard sets in and the last snowmobile doesn’t show up at the rendezvous point.
Or imagine the mountain biking trip you’ve been daydreaming about for months, bombing down the mountain with the wind in your face. You get separated from your group on a tricky portion of single-track, and decide to press on when you come to an unknown fork in the trail. Feeling exhausted and dehydrated, you take a corner too fast and crash, tacoing your front wheel and breaking your collar bone.
Lost, hurt, stranded – these scenarios and others like them play out over three thousand times per year in the United States. Folks heading outdoors in search of adventure don’t plan on getting lost or hurt in the wilderness. It can happen to the best of us, and when it does, people underestimate the challenges of the wilderness and overestimate their own ability.
To help you avoid becoming a statistic by rightly explaining the dangers of the wilderness and ensuring that you are physically and mentally prepared for any snags during your adventures, we’ve put together this wilderness survival guide.