Old Flume Trail Trailhead

Remember your OUTDOOR ETHICS when enjoying your public lands. Please RECREATE RESPONSIBLY.


Between the towns of Placerville and Coloma along Highway 49, the Old Flume Trail offers access to the South Fork of the American River. The trail is wide and the terrain is not technically difficult as it heads down into the canyon from the parking lot. But the trail does drops rather steeply down an old existing road -- about 800 feet in less than a mile and leads to a quiet location just below Racehouse Bend rapid on the South Fork.

Please note: It may only take you a half hour to get down the trail, but be prepared for a steep and much longer walk back up. Give yourself a couple hours and take plenty of water.


What you need to know:

  • Old Flume Trail is a Day-Use area only. No overnight camping.
  • Closed to all hunting and target shooting.
  • Please avoid parking outside the fence along the roadway.
  • Portions of this trail system border private property. Please respect the rights of private property owners by staying on designated routes at all times.
  • Fireworks are prohibited.
  • Fuelwood cutting and collection is prohibited.


Helpful Links:



The Old Flume Trail crosses over a historic ditch which carried water from Chili Bar ten miles downstream to the town of Lotus. This flume was one of the largest ever built in El Dorado County at 153' high and 750' long. The property is now managed by the BLM after the American River Conservancy (ARC) acquired a land grant from Richard and Arlene Wilkinson in 1991.

Also VISIT: South Fork American River webpage

Return To: BLM, Mother Lode Field Office

Adventure is at Your Fingertips


Iconograph of a spoked wheel and an arrowhead
Iconograph of three picnic tables
Iconograph of two people wearing backpacks and using walking sticks

Geographic Coordinates

38.76009, -120.84245


From the town of Placerville, drive north on Highway 49 for approximately 4 miles to the inside of a sharp turn in the road. The parking lot is on the left side of the road directly across from a small red shack. Please watch for road traffic pulling in or out of the parking area. As you enter the fenced and gated parking area, park to the left facing the fence in order to maximize the number of vehicles.