El Dorado Trail

Chugging along in the recent trend to transform our old abandoned railroads into new multi-use trails, the El Dorado Trail travels along the old Southern Pacific Railroad and Michigan/California Railroad and accommodates foot, bicycle, equestrian users. It is also wheelchair friendly in sections.

This well maintained, partially paved, partially dirt trail runs from the Sacramento County/El Dorado County Line to Camino in the Gold Country foothills, along the historic National Pony Express Trail leading up to South Lake Tahoe. Although it's a perpetual work in progress, lots of the trails are open and ready to be explored.

Click here for the trail map where you can find the location of the Class 1 bike paths with the parking areas and access points. These areas are in and around the city of Placerville. Most of the El Dorado Trail is unimproved and remains with the rails left abandoned. Over twenty-three miles of this natural trail weave throughout El Dorado County‘s foothills, all open for nature walks, horseback riding or mountain biking. Basically, the trail connects the National Pony Express Trail Route and the Sacramento-Placerville Rail Trail, linking the communities of South Lake Tahoe and the Sacramento Valley region.

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Latitude: 38.824602 Longitude: -120.028962 Elevation: 7209 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Natalie Yanish

Vertical Gain or Loss

Approximately 2,500 feet

Trail Distance

31 miles

ADA Accessibility Notes

The Trail in the areas of Smith Flat and Missouri Flat Road is ADA accessible and wheel chair friendly.

Pet Friendly Notes

Dogs on leash are welcome on the El Dorado Trail.


The rails west of Missouri Flat Road in Placerville (historically Diamond Springs but now addressed for Placerville) are not abandoned. About eight miles of track are currently being used between Shingle Springs and eastward to the end-of-track at Missouri Flat Road. The El Dorado Western Railroad gives train rides each Sunday, alternating Sundays between Single Springs and El Dorado. Hikers, equestrians and bike riders should use caution in and around the tracks. They could encounter a train any day of the week, not just on Sundays. For everyone’s safety, it's best to use the dirt trail alongside the track.

Steven Karoly, 2/23/2016

The El Dorado Trail is a wonderful multi-use trail running from Camino West to the County line. You can hike, bike, ride horses and ride with the El Dorado Western Railway in El Dorado and Shingle Springs. Work is underway to connect trail rides from Shingle Springs to Folsom for longer excursions. There is a bike shop located on the EDT in Shingle Springs called Sam's Town Cyclery serving as a Welcome & Information Center for the trail and providing rental bikes and other bicycle services.

Chris Cockrell, 6/7/2018

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