Running in the Foothills

It has been three years since I moved to Placerville from the Bay Area and everyday I am more in love! Sure there are things that I miss from my hometown area of Santa Clara County, but overall, I live in such a gem of a place that I pinch myself everyday.
When you come to visit the foothills be sure to grab your running shoes (both road and trail), have a readiness to explore, and clear your wine tasting palette (optional of course).
The El Dorado Bike Trail -
It is rare to find sidewalks in Placerville except for on and around Main Street. Where Placerville lacks in sidewalks, it certainly makes up for in bike trails. The El Dorado Bike Trail is a recreational corridor for running, biking, and even equestrian use.

Starting from the Missouri Flat Road trailhead you can follow the path for an out and back of a little over 20 miles, leading you over bridges, down Main Street, through vineyards all the way out to Camino. While this trail is paved, don’t be deceived as you are treated to running amongst beautiful Ponderosa Pines and cedar trees. If you are an animal lover like me, you might just squeal in delight at the sight of cows, deer, squirrels, Mountain Lions (rarely but have been spotted), llamas, chickens, wild turkey, and other birds of a feather.

Restrooms are located in a few spots throughout the trail. The bus stop on Mosquito Road between the trail entrances is the only water fountain on the entire course. The water coming out of that fountain is amazing, so don’t be afraid to fill up those water bottles!

What to wear -

It is cold in the winter averaging 30 degrees and hot in the summer averaging 90 degrees. I would suggest lots of layers for those cold months and next to nothing for those warm summer days.

After the run -
Have a cup of coffee at Totem Coffee where beans are roasted in house and everything is made fresh that day. Shop at the many cute stores on Main Street like The Bookery or Mattywags. There are plenty of restaurants to fill up on that are all unique and delicious! If wine is what you crave, take a 15 minute drive out to Camino for a plethora of wineries or a 20 minute drive out to the Pleasant Valley and the Somerset area for even more winery options.
Visit El Dorado Wines to map out your wine tasting adventures!
Lake Natoma Loop Trail -
Twenty minutes down the hill in Folsom is a paved bike trail that I can’t get enough of. Most of the locals consider the Lake Natoma bike path a part of the American River Trail. And, while the two trails do connect, I consider them separate. For one, Lake Natoma is an 11.5 mile loop around the lake providing beautiful water views throughout. In addition to the paved bike route, there are also many trail options to detour for those runners who prefer dirt. Along the paved trail is a couple of restroom facilities and there is one water fountain located near the Aquatic Center that you will pass en route.

After the Run -

Avocado toast can be found at Karen’s Bakery that in my opinion is the best post run recovery food ever! I purposely park my car in the Historic Folsom area so that my run starts and ends at Karen’s. It is my running reward! The Fat Rabbit Public House holds an amazing selection of beers from across the globe. If a running store is what you seek, check out Fleet Feet Sports Folsom/Roseville.
Jenkinson Lake -

Back up the hill and 20 minutes past Placerville lies one of my very favorite places to trail run. A magical place called Jenkinson Lake. The mostly dirt trail holds continuous ups and down hill climbs that lead you on an 8.5 mile loop around the lake.
A waterfall on the back side of the lake is a true gift to this route, best seen in the winter and spring months, is absolutely breath-taking. During the summer months, while the waterfall might not be flowing, the swim hole below is a nice addition to keeping cool from the sun.The shoreline trail is not the only option for running at Jenkinson Lake, though it might be the least difficult. A Higher trail option also surrounds the lake providing stunning views, difficult terrain and steeper hill climbs.

Jenkinson Lake, located in Pollock Pines, is easily accessible just off of highway 50 from the Sly Park Road exit. There is parking  available at the entrance of Sly Park for $10 a day. You can also park along Mormon Emigrant Trail at dam one or two for free.

After the Run -

Stay and Play in the Lake in the summer, or grab your snow toys in the midst of the winter months. Drink a bloody mary at Sly Park Resort.

Races held on each course mentioned above -

So there you have it! Come run where I live. You won’t regret it! And if you happen to be on my side of the tracks, give me ring, a tweet, or a smoke signal even, and I would be happy to suggest places to visit or simply just join you for a run!
This post is part of a Where to Run Where You Live Series.
Explore these other great blogs about running, what to see, and do in other parts of Northern California and beyond.

Run in the Bay Area: Running Ruminations
Run in the San Francisco Peninsula: My Hearts Content Blog
Run in the East Bay: Jens Running Blog
Run in San Francisco: My Hearts Content Blog
Run in El Paso,Texas: Just Plodding Along

Happy exploring in the foothills and everywhere else your feet will guide you!

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