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San joaquin river gorge trail

auberry, ca


San Joaquin river gorge TRAIL


Distance: 2.1 miles roundtrip (out and back)

Elevation Loss: 288 feet

Seasonality: Year round, wildflowers bloom in March/April

Trailhead: Pa'san Ridge Trailhead

Parking: Approx 20 parking spots at the Ya-Gub-Weh-Tuh campgrounds and trailhead lot. Lot fills up quickly during summer months.

Facilities: Pit toilets and potable water at trailhead. No potable water on the trail.

Difficulty: Easy

San Joaquin River Gorge Trail.jpg


The San Joaquin River Gorge trail is a popular hike in the Auberry area and is known for it's iconic bridge that crosses over the San Joaquin River. It is a great hike that is family friendly and dog friendly. For the more adventurous hikers, you can choose to go past the bridge onto the Pa'san Ridge loop for more views from above the river or proceed onto the Wuh-Ki'o Trail that will take you down to the riverbank. The trail is often used by hikers who are training for other hikes, and you will often see people running up this trail for trail run training. There is something for everyone on this trail. This trail has the best experience in early spring when the wild grasses are green, the wildflowers are blooming, and the weather is cool.

Trip Planner Details:

If you're looking for a great hike for the family that is only about an hour away, this trail is a great option.


It is located inside the San Joaquin River Gorge Special Recreation Management Area in Auberry. Turn off of Powerhouse Road onto Smalley Road and follow the narrow and windy Smalley road approximately 4 miles down to the Ya-Gub-Weh-Tuh campground and trailhead parking lot. There you will find approximately 20 parking spaces, restrooms and water spigots.


The San Joaquin River Gorge trail hike starts from the Pa'san Ridge Trailhead at the Ya-Gub-Weh-Tuh campground. There are multiple hikes you can do from the Pa'San Ridge trailhead, but for this hike you will be going about a mile into the Pa'san Ridge trail to the San Joaquin River Gorge bridge before turning back around.

There is a self regulated day use fee of $5 to park in the Ya-Gub-Weh-Tuh parking lot.

San Joaquin River Gorge Trail Map.PNG

When You Do Your Research:

This hike is referred to in a few different ways, the most common one being the San Joaquin River Gorge Trail, but you are actually hiking the first mile of the Pa'san Ridge Trail. Keep in mind though, the Pa'san Ridge Trail continues on past the bridge and adds an additional 5 mile loop.

If you Google "San Joaquin River Gorge Trail," the map marker is going to place you at the San Joaquin River Gorge Special Recreation Management Area (formerly Squaw Leap) - Bureau of Land Management address, which is private drive accessible only by foot. Be sure to search for the "Ya-Gub-Weh-Tuh Trailhead" to ensure you end up at the right place.

Tips From One Who Hiked It:

This is a highly trafficked trail and you will see many families, trail runners and dog owners along the trail. The trail alternates between shady and exposed, so bring some sunscreen and enjoy the views!

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