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.