“A steady descent through tough terrain that is hardily earned back on the return.”
— Eric Ashley
Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildlife
Much of this trail crosses on private land. Visitors are requested to observe the rights of the landowners.
Open from June through October.
The Palisades Creek Trail starts out with a mellow grade for the first two miles as it passes beneath Devils Peak and heads past several lakes and ponds. These granite surrounded pools provide lovely scenery and are popular places to cool down and swim - especially Long Lake.
The trail then begins to descend gradually for two miles, before steepening as it heads toward the North Fork American River in the valley below. A series of winding switchbacks brings hikers down the final mile to the Palisade Creek Bridge. Immediately downstream from the bridge is a charming waterfall that is best enjoyed when the snow is still melting off.
Although the trail continues across the bridge, for most this will serve as the ideal spot to turn around. If proceeding, the trail on the other side is a physically demanding three-and-a-half miles of steep and unmaintained switchbacks that end on a dirt road above Royal Gorge.
The trip in and out can be accomplished during a long day of steady hiking. But the presence of several choice camping spots along the way encourages an overnight excursion.
Flora & Fauna
The rare, and highly delicate, Kellogg's Lewisia can be found in the area around Palisades Creek Trail. The plant grows very low to the ground in decomposed granite in ridges or flats.
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