The Middle Creek Trail is a three-mile paved trail that features beautiful nature views and a rich history. It follows an old rail bed to the river, winding through a network of old mining sites and a canyon pass that many travelers used during the Gold Rush era.
A trail marker designates the site of an 1892 stagecoach robbery by the Ruggles brothers. Legend has it that in the messy aftermath of the deadly heist, John Ruggles hid stolen loot nearby. While a mail pouch was later recovered from the Middle Creek area, the treasure was never found. Perhaps your pup will use their tracking skills and lead you to the hidden gold, or perhaps they'll just find some squirrels. Either way, you'll enjoy the day you spend out here.
There is no dedicated parking area for the Middle Creek trailhead. The trail begins at the end of Middle Creek Road off of Eureka Way. You'll immediately see the gate as you pull off the road, but will find no parking spaces or trail information signposts. A better option lies a little further down Eureka Way, where you'll find the Middle Creek Connector Trailhead Parking Lot, which offers a small dedicated lot and a short connector to the main trail.
One local guide recommends parking at the Keswick Dam Trailhead for the Sacramento Rail Trail on Keswick Dam Road and following that trail for 2.5 miles to connect to the eastern trailhead of the Middle Creek Trail. This will make your hike a total of eleven miles total round-trip. It's probably worth doing a little research in advance to scout out the best route and parking option for your needs.
The trail is quiet and lightly trafficked, ascending gently through an oak, pine, and manzanita forest laden with blackberry bushes. If you're itching to extend your adventure, you can continue on the Sacramento River Trail, which connects with this trail at its eastern endpoint.
Take a walk through history on the Middle Creek Trail with your pup and you'll head home with visions of a bygone era.