BLM tips for planning your next trip to Cronan and Magnolia ranches


Bureau of Land Management

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Mother Lode Field Office

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Full gravel parking lot. Photo by Jeff Horn, BLM

EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. — As spring approaches and we all want to get outside to enjoy the warm weather, the Bureau of Land Management offers these tips to help you plan your next trip to Cronan and Magnolia ranches along the South Fork of the American River in El Dorado County.

Know what to expect: Visitation to BLM-managed recreation sites has increased during the pandemic. While you still may find moments to be alone with nature on the trail, getting there may be more challenging. The key to a relaxing time is to plan ahead and prepare, have a back-up plan and manage expectations. If you are longing to get away to nature, chances are your neighbors and friends are too. 

Recreate Responsibly: The BLM encourages the public to recreate responsibly on public lands and to take precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Know your county’s COVID-19 tier assignment, stay local, do not gather in large groups, practice safe social distancing, take your own soap and hand sanitizer and wear a mask when social distancing is not possible.

When to come: Typically, parking lots are full Saturday and Sunday, so avoid the crush of the weekend by coming midweek. Visitors will have a much easier time finding a parking place Monday through Thursday, particularly in the early morning and late afternoon.

Parking: Parking is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. The BLM has worked hard to improve parking and keep it free to provide everyone the greatest access to public lands, but we need your help. Please do not stop in roadways, or park in “No Parking” areas that are reserved for emergency vehicles or block access for other users. Parking is not allowed in some sections of State Route 49 and crossing the highway can be dangerous. Please be respectful of our neighbors and do not block private driveways or park on private property.

Trailer parking: Some areas of the parking lots more easily accommodate large vehicles and trailers, than others. When possible, please park passenger cars in smaller spots, allowing trucks with trailers to utilize larger parking areas, as there is no designated trailer parking. Oversized vehicles will be required to make tight turns and backing skills are a must.

Alternate locations: The public is encouraged to have an alternate recreation area in mind if parking is full at their preferred location. There are additional public recreation areas located just seven miles north of Magnolia Ranch.

Pack It In – Pack It Out: Please practice Leave No Trace ethics while recreating on public lands. The BLM Mother Lode Field Office has a small recreation staff to manage public lands across 14 counties. Regarding trash, if you pack it in, please pack it out and consider picking up additional trash along your way. Please dispose of pet waste in a trashcan at your next stop, and not along the trail, as it can be hazardous to wildlife. Help the BLM be good stewards and preserve public lands for future generations.

The South Fork of the American River is considered one of the finest recreational resources in California. Opportunities include white-water rafting, kayaking, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, hunting, fishing, gold panning and wildlife viewing. For more information on Cronan Ranch visit for Magnolia Ranch visit or call the Mother Lode Field Office at 916-941-3101.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.