13 miles from Georgetown. Mostly easy. MAP
This hike is located in the Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA) on the west side behind the commercial center of Cool. Access to this area was hard fought. As the Auburn Dam project floundered many people petitioned the state to allow public access.
When the area was finally opened to the public, in the early 1990’s, users were only allowed on established trails and threatened with citations for going off trail. Since then, the rules have become relaxed with the entire area open for exploration.
Widely used by equestrians and mt. bikes, this trail makes a giant loop around the entire area where homesteads once thrived. You may wonder as you wander this vast area of abandoned orchards and farms, why the Bureau of Reclamation needed to acquire so much beautiful territory beyond the shores of the proposed Auburn Lake. It makes a great park and wildlife refuge, especially as the surrounding area gets gobbled up with homes.
Directions: Drive to Cool on highway 193 and turn R on Highway 49. Go a short distance to turn L on Saint Florian Way, then park in the gravel parking-staging area behind the fire station. Water is available for whatever animals you might bring.
The Trail begins just west of the parking lot going south along the perimeter of the recreation area behind Northside school, then west along the south boundary near the radio towers, then north along the rim of the canyon, where it drops down to cross the Knickerbocker Creek, climbs back up then reaches the paved construction road. From here you can either return to your car on the road or continue across to extend your loop on trail. (see map).
The area inside the giant loop that the trail makes was once all homesteads and ranches. They were condemned for the never built Auburn Dam. Old roads wander all over and beg to be explored. Look for the many abandoned orchards, fruit trees, and ornamentals scattered about. Great wildlife viewing here also.
Please close any gates you open, to keep the cows in their given areas.