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vicino a Flat Ravine (historical), California (United States)
The road to the trailhead is dirt after you turn off paved Forrest Hill Road. My maps show the trailhead is 1 mile from Foresthill Road and there is a small parking area there, but you can drive an additional 1.5 miles if you want to skip walking along a dusty road and have the appropriate vehicle and skills. That first mile does not need four wheel drive but a pickup or SUV is a good idea for ground clearance.
If you are comfortable driving steep dirt roads with large water bars, you can make a left at the destroyed sign and proceed another mile and a half and 700’ elevation loss to the real trailhead that has a larger parking area. A stock Tahoe scraped bottom on the water bars a number of times and the four wheel drive came in handy in some loose dirt. See my Foresthill Rd to Sailor Flat Trailhead track.
The trail starts out as a road, complete with the remains of a car down the bank, and turns into a trail after the first switchback. The top switchbacks are littered with slate and the sharp eyed can find some fossils. We found several leaf imprints. At the 4th switch back from the top you can keep going straight instead of switching back and follow a short trail to a pipe dispensing good tasting very cool water from a now sealed mine shaft or take a short but steep side trail down to a partially collapsed stamp mill. The pipe was the only easy access to water before the river. Also a few mining relics along the main trail and an Indian grinding rock near the river. The trail is generally tree covered and most of what we did was not burned in the fire.
Our turnaround point was a beautiful set of pools in the North fork of the American river that includes a natural water slide (better at high flow) and rocks with large amounts of pyrite embedded in them. About a mile further downstream is Big Granite Creek Falls that we did not visit.
I rate this hike as difficult because of the drive getting there, lack of signage, often loose surface and 1,700’ in 2 miles steepness. There are a few trees across the trail and more will follow in the burned areas. No facilities or fees. One of the few readable signs said no motorcycles.
http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/sailor-flat-trail The comment about bringing a chainsaw is a good idea as there was a tree across the road we had to break off and move.