General Overview of Trail
The American Discovery Trail enters California on the Tahoe Rim Trail on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at about 9000 feet. Lake Tahoe lies a few miles to the south and its magnificence can occasionally be seen from the trail. From Squaw Valley the ADT follows the Western States Trail, descending from 8,700 feet at Emigrant Pass in the Sierras to 1,300 feet at Auburn while dropping into and back out of several very deep canyons. En route, the ADT follows the 2,600 mile long Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail for several miles as the ADT passes through the Granite Chief Wilderness.
The Pioneer Express Trail and the American River Bikeway lead past Folsom Lake and along the lower American River to Sacramento. From Sacramento the ADT traverses the flat agricultural region known as the Delta before reaching Antioch. From Antioch the ADT follows a series of trails to the summit of Mt. Diablo, through the city of Walnut Creek and Brione and Tilden Parks in the East Bay Hills to the University of California campus at Berkeley.
After crossing the San Francisco Bay by ferry, the ADT follows the Embarcadero, other bayside streets and a bicycle/pedestrian bayside trail to reach the Golden Gate Bridge. The ADT follows the Bay Area Ridge Trail through Marin County into the Muir Woods National Monument. From here the ADT uses a series of trails to continue to the Pacific Ocean at Point Reyes National Seashore. On these trails the ADT passes along Bolinas Ridge, crosses Highway 1 and the San Andreas earthquake fault zone and finally follows the shoreline on the Coast Trail to Limantour Beach on the Pacific Ocean.
Detailed Trail Description
Total length of the trail in California is 376 miles and consists of nine segments.
Nevada State Line to Hwy 89 at Truckee River Bridge 22 miles
Hwy 89 to Lewis Campground at French Meadows Reservoir 27 miles
French Meadows Reservoir to Foresthill 46 miles
Foresthill to Auburn 33 miles
Auburn to Sacramento at Discovery Park 52 miles
Sacramento to Antioch at Contra Loma Regional Park 73 miles
Antioch to Walnut Creek at Heather Farms Park 35 miles
Walnut Creek to Golden Gate Bridge at north end 47 miles
Golden Gate Bridge to Limantour Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore 43 miles