Blue Wing Trail

(North Fork American River (N. Fk. Am. R)

Hike # 16

 Directions to trailhead: Follow I80 to Colfax and take the Grass Valley Hwy 174 exit. If coming from the west take a sharp right onto Canyon Way. (If coming from the east, take a right at the stop sign (Auburn St.), then right at the next stop sign and cross over I80 and turn right onto Canyon Way.) In about 1/4 mile turn left onto Iowa Hill Rd. Continue on Iowa Hill Rd 9 miles to the Iowa Hill Store. Continue 1.0 miles beyond the store (the pioneer cemeteries along the way are worth a visit!). Turn left onto a dirt road. You may park here or drive another 0.5 mile on a rough dirt road past old hydraulic diggings to a large clearing on the left. The trailhead (unmarked) is on the NW corner of the clearing.

Trailhead UTM: 10 S 06 86 016 43 32 259

Topographic map: Foresthill 7.5’

Elevation: 2983’ to 1363’ (1980’ total elevation gain)

Distance: 2.8 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderately strenuous

Jurisdiction: BLM

Trail description: This trail passes through groves of Douglas fir, bay laurel, Ponderosa pine, and black oak. Turn left at the bottom of the trail at a “T”. In about 1/4 mile you will find the cabin of “Shotgun Annie”. The cabin is one of the few old prospector structures remaining in this area. On the way to the cabin, you will walk through a sandy area. Notice unusual knobby black hummocks about 2 inches across embedded in the sand. This is cryptobiotic soil, formed of lichens, algae, mosses, and cyano-bacteria (one of the world’s oldest life forms, traceable back to 3.5 billion years ago).

Campsites: Several campsites exist along the river

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