Pony Express

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Trail Distance: 8 miles
Time Estimate: 3 hr 50 min+
Elevation Gain: 1020 feet
Leash Rule: On Leash
Difficulty: Moderate
Parking: Free
Route Type: Out-and-back
Restroom: Yes
Description

The backcountry that the Pony Express Trail explores features a beautiful landscape filled with blossoming vegetation and unique wildlife. Hikers can enjoy an abundance of sights and features along the 3-foot wide trail, made from compacted dirt and crushed stone.

The trail itself explores a small portion of forest that makes up the west side area of the Eldorado National Forest, an area that takes up more than 600,000 acres of land over California. The trail itself was made in the last 20 years, as a celebration to the Pony Express which was used by an older generation of mailmen to get mail across the country.

Today, the trail starts in many places along Lincoln Highway in multiple cities, but one of the best places to start with your pup is the El Dorado National Forest Ranger Station, which offers free parking to those looking to camp, hike, or just enjoy a bit of wilderness. The station offers access to the trail by a connecting rural trail on the north side of the station. Once you enter the trail, you'll find an abundance of wildlife and vegetation observation opportunities. Mule deer, badgers, bobcats, red foxes, wolverines, and porcupines can be viewed from different spots along the trail.

The trail follows along the South Fork American River, offering a number of bluffs for photography and access to smaller pools for fishing and swimming. Halfway along the trail, the path comes upon its first major landmark, Bridal Veil Falls, A beautiful waterfall shrouded in trees inside Ogilby Canyon. The trail continues through the forest and offers more views and spots along the river before it connects to the ending trailhead along White Meadows Road in Riverton. The trailhead offers a small parking lot, with a single trash can.

Fishing, camping, hiking, bicycling, and even horseback riding is allowed, and no matter what activity you and Fido decide to take part in, you'll be rewarded with an enjoyable time in this gorgeous space.

Trail Features
Ice, Loose Terrain, Muddy, Rocky, Beach, Forest, River, Diverse Landscape, Mountains, Grassland, Urban
Abundant Wildlife, Waterfall, Scenic
Cautions & Considerations
Larger mammals like wolves, coyotes, and grizzly bears roam the area, so beware of signs of them coming onto the trail. The trail is open in the winter, but can become icy and muddy due to runoff from the river. Eldorado National Forest has been under threat of wildfires, so stayed cautious and look out for alerts and warnings before entering the trail.
Address
El Dorado National Forest, 7887 US-50
Pollock Pines, CA 95726
Hours
Mon Sunrise - Sunset
Tue Sunrise - Sunset
Wed Sunrise - Sunset
Thu Sunrise - Sunset
Fri Sunrise - Sunset
Sat Sunrise - Sunset
Sat Sunrise - Sunset
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Address
El Dorado National Forest, 7887 US-50
Pollock Pines, CA 95726
Hours
Mon Sunrise - Sunset
Tue Sunrise - Sunset
Wed Sunrise - Sunset
Thu Sunrise - Sunset
Fri Sunrise - Sunset
Sat Sunrise - Sunset
Sat Sunrise - Sunset