Shirttail Canyon

Total Miles
24.7

Elevation

911.39 ft

Duration

3 Hours

Technical Rating

2

Easy

Best Time

Summer

Trail Overview

The main attraction of this route is a popular swimming hole below Colfax-Foresthill Suspension Bridge. Our round-about way of getting there follows a paved road through historic Iowa Hill, then continues on a narrow, winding dirt road through the forest. Take a picnic lunch and inner tube to enjoy the crystal-clear water of the American River inside Auburn State Recreation Area (fee area). Street-legal vehicles only. To go direct to swimming hole, use reverse directions.

Photos of Shirttail Canyon

Shirttail Canyon
Shirttail Canyon
Shirttail Canyon

Difficulty

Easy: First half is a twisting paved road, narrow in spots. Watch for bikers. Second half is an easy dirt road. Four-wheel drive recommended.

History

Gold was first discovered in Iowa Hill in 1853 and mining continued off and on into the 1930s. A few mines have been intermittently worked in recent years. Most mining has been hydraulic, scars of which you'll see along the route. One spot along Iowa Hill Road has sheer cliffs on each side of the road due to hydraulic undercutting.

Technical Rating

2

Status Reports

Colton Franey
Mar 23, 2024
4x4
Open
This "trail" is mostly paved and can be accessed by pretty much any vehicle that isn't slammed to the ground. The road is narrow in spots, drive slow and be courteous to other drivers. I never clicked into 4x4. What it lacks in rough terrain and obstacles it makes up for with absolutely stunning views for California's gold country. Be mindful you do pass in and out of private property. If you like seeing the sights I highly recommend it.
Garrett Mellow
Feb 18, 2024
4x4
Open
Muddy/Wet
Xavier Bailey
Jan 27, 2024
4x4
Open
we went in through Yankee hill. few cars. lots of bikers. once we got to the first bridge crossing there were a ton of kyackers the congested the road. was fun and super easy though. does get sketchy when having to pass cars on Yankee hill though.
Ken Tam
Jan 20, 2024
4x4
Open
Normal

Access Description

Take I-80 to town of Colfax. Take exit for Highway 174. Westbound exiters must cross over freeway. Follow Canyon Way south along east side of freeway 0.3 miles to paved Iowa Hill Road on left.

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