American Canyon Trail
The American Canyon Trail is densely treed
along the first half, mostly with various species
of oak and pine. Laurel, blackberry bushes, and
poison oak can also be found along most of the
trail. After the first mile, the trail gets more
sunlight and will be hot in the summer – early
morning use is recommended.
This trail joins the historic Western States Trail
(WST) for a short distance about ¾ miles from
the trailhead (see sidebar). Take a right at the
first trail intersection with the WST, and a left at
the next intersection to stay on the American
About halfway down the trail is a plaque and
shrine erected by friends and fellow joggers in
memory of Barbara Schoener. The plaque
describes the 1994 tragedy when Barbara was
attacked and killed by a mountain lion while
jogging alone on this trail. Many joggers now
wear a small bell or whistle when they run on
mountain trails, or they run with a friend.
About 1¾ miles from the top, a small, very steep
and unmarked side trail on the left leads down to
a very nice waterfall and a great pool where you
can escape the heat on a hot summer day.
Returning to the main trail, just before it crosses
American Canyon Creek, the terrain levels out at
the site of an historic gold rush town, once home
to thousands of miners but now almost com-
pletely reclaimed by mother nature. If you look
closely, you may spot a 30-foot high rock dam,
hidden behind a pile of tailings, which was built
by hand during the gold rush. Nearby, the
confluence of the American and Hoboken
Creeks offers a beautiful place to cool off while
you watch numerous California newts (a.k.a.
Firebellies) on the trail and in the pools.
Caution should be exercised throughout the hike
due to ankle-high Poison Oak that creeps onto
many parts of the trail. And don’t forget sun-
screen and ample water.
2.4 miles to river; 1 hour down,