North Fork of the Middle Fork

(North Fork of the Middle Fork American River {N.Fk.M.Fk.Am.R.})

Hike # 22

Directions to trailhead: Follow I80 to Auburn and take the Foresthill Rd. exit. Drive 17 miles to the Mosquito Ridge Rd. junction (on the right). Turn right and set trip meter to 0.0. The trailhead is 9 miles from this turn, and is signed just beyond the Circle Bridge over the N.Fk.M.Fk.Am.R.

Trailhead UTM: 10 S 06 97 378 43 47 779

Topographic map: Michigan Bluff 7.5’

Elevation: 1428’ to 1652’ (1122’ total elevation gain)

Distance: 2.4 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Jurisdiction: Tahoe National Forest

Trail description: This trail is used in season by placer miners to gain access to the river, and by hikers throughout the year. Wildflowers abound on this trail in the spring. The trail begins with a moderate upward grade, and then remains level until it drops to the river. Near the Circle Bridge is an old wire bridge on a trail which once led from Michigan Bluff to Ralston Ridge. It was built in 1898. It is thought to be the last remaining bridge of its kind in the region, and perhaps in all of California. It was used until the 1930’s to pack supplies to mines in the area. Today, the main cables are intact, but the wooden treads are gone. To reach this bridge, walk along the road toward Foresthill until you see the 7.5-mile sign (small white sign along the road). Take the steep trail down to the river. (Andrew Hallidie, an English engineer, designed the suspension bridges used in Placer County in late 19th century and early 20th century. His father held the patent for wire rope!).

Campsites: Limited suitable campsites exist.

2 Responses to North Fork of the Middle Fork

  1. loveGetOffYourGass says:

    How about a separate “Trail” listing for the “Old Wire Bridge” Trail? As now the information seems to distract from the actual North Fork of the Middle Fork Trail. More than 2/3 of the Trail Description is about another (unofficial, steep, poorly marked) trail 1.5 miles away which also happens to traverse at least one active mining claim?


    • Hi loveGetOffYourGass,
      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you! All the hikes on this site come from published hiking books by several local authors. This particular trail listing you mentioned comes from the book ‘Take-A-Hike’ by Robert J. Griffis & Evan W. Jones, which I believe is no longer in print. So, there probably won’t be any changes made to this listing. If you would like to tell about any experiences or tips you have on using this trail, we would be happy to add it to the page under “Trail Notes”. Thanks for your suggestion and interest in improving GOYG!

      Happy Trails!


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