Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This is open year round, but snow and landslides can prevent access. Rattlesnakes and poison oak are local deterrents.
Need to Know
There is ample water on the New River Trail. This area has a thriving rattlesnake population, especially during spring breeding season. Watch out on the trail, especially in open rocky sections with direct sunshine, and during the hottest part of the day. Consider avoiding May/June during rattlesnake breeding, use hiking poles, and possibly wear shin guards.
The trail is covered in poison oak in some sections making it hard to avoid, so pay close attention for it on the trail. Consider using trekking poles to push the poison oak out of the way, and wear long pants, shirts, and shoes that protect your skin. The weather can change at any moment in the Trinity Alps, regardless of a sunny weather forecast, so be prepared for rain, lightning, thunder, hail, and snow. Trail sandals for fording creeks safely and enjoying swimming holes are recommended.
The New River Trail (7E05) is a historic trail into the heart of the gold mining hub of the western Trinity Alps Wilderness. The 3-mile trail travels above the New River through semi-burned areas that have largely recovered, and ends at the confluence of Virgin Creek and Slide Creek, the headwaters of the elusive New River.
The trail has multiple warnings posted on the trail about the dangers of hiking in a previously burned area, such as flash flooding, falling limbs/trees, etc. The trail is best for more advanced hikers and older children, as it has significant dangers including extensive poison oak covering the trail, prolific rattlesnakes, and thin rocky trails on steep terrain with sheer drop-offs. The first creek crossing at Barron Creek has a fallen tree downstream that serves as a safe crossing alternative during high water. To continue hiking past the New River Trail, the trail crosses Virgin Creek, which may be too dangerous to ford before June. There is a quality zip line with bags for moving gear across the creek, a sandy campsite by the crossing, and a large horse camp flat just up the trail.
The payoff includes scenic views of the mysterious New River and surrounding mountains, jumping back in time, and excellent swimming holes on sandy beaches with clear cold water that bring you back to life. Wildflowers abound, along with extensive berry picking opportunities in late summer, delicious creek water for filtered drinking, campsites located on old mining flats, and numerous mining flumes expertly sculpted into the steep hillsides. The trail is also used by horse riders and miners who pan for gold, however this area is extremely remote, sees few visitors, and solitude is nearly guaranteed. At the confluence of Virgin and Slide Creeks is beautiful rocky and sandy beach with a surreal swim hole, backed by the remains of the old Virgin Creek Guard Station that has become a mining camp occupied on occasion and a beautiful rock art garden.
Paths continue on from the New River Trail end to form lengthy loops through the Green Trinities allowing one to possibly travel for days or even weeks without seeing another person. The trails in Green Trinities travel through old mines and ghost towns, but are minimally or not maintained, often hard to follow, and may offer excellent fishing, swimming, and camping. Some trails have ample water, and some have little to none, so plan ahead.
Flora & Fauna
Rattlesnakes, poison oak, lizards, ducks, kingfishers, blue jays, birds, deer, fox, bears, mountain lions, frogs, butterflies, blackberries, raspberries, thimbleberries, gooseberries, serviceberries, and more can be found here.
Shared By: Dara Zimmerman