Sailor Flat Trail
The Sailor Flat trail is 3.25 miles long and follows an old mining road for the first 1/2 mile, then becomes steeper and more rugged on the way down to the North Fork of the American River.
American River Ranger District trail crew, conservation corps, and volunteer organizations have spent several seasons cutting back vegetation that made Mumford, American River, and Beacroft inaccessible due to overgrown understory vegetation and fallen trees across the trail. Although they have been cleared over the past three seasons and are noticeably better, the trails are within the 2008 American Complex fire perimeter and standing dead trees fall very frequently. Due to budget shortfalls for non-motorized trails, all of this project work in North Fork American River Trail Network has been funded through non-motorized grants. In 2020, another grant was recently awarded to connect Sailor Flat Trail towards Beacroft Trail along the river. Currently that section is very difficult to navigate through due to overgrown understory vegetation and fallen trees across the trail. Implementation is planned for possibly fall 2020.
At a Glance
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From Interstate 80, take Foresthill exit to Foresthill Road and proceed 15.5 miles to the Foresthill Ranger Station. Continue 26.5 miles on Foresthill Road and turn left on Sailor Flat Road. Note: Sailor Flat Road is rocky with waterbars and a high clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle is advised.
TRAIL DESCRIPTION: The first 1 ½ miles of the trail follows an old mining road and is relatively easy. The remains of an old gold stamp mill stand near the trailhead. The trail then becomes steeper, with many switchbacks as you drop down to the North Fork of the American River. Good fishing is available at times and limited camping is available along the trail. Campfire permits are required for campfires, backpacking stoves, BBQs, and lanterns. A popular trip for many is to enter via this trail and then proceed downriver to exit via the Mumford Bar Trail. This can be accomplished in one or two days, but would require the use of two vehicles or arranging for pickup. (Total distance would be 14.12 miles.)
DISTANCE: 3.25 miles one way
ELEVATION: 6415 to 3326 feet
DIFFICULTY: Most Difficult
TOPOGRAPHIC MAP: Duncan Peak, Royal Gorge
NOTE: Water is often not available along the route. Only water from developed systems at recreation sites is maintained safe to drink. Open water sources are easily contaminated by human or animal waste. Water from springs, lakes, ponds, and streams should be properly treated before drinking. You may wish to carry water with you. Another method of treatment is to use a backpacker’s water filter. However, the best way is to bring to water to a full boil for 5 minutes.