State Coordinator
John Mercurio
Concord, CA

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 Palisades Tahoe 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

More details

Affiliated Trails

  • Tahoe Rim Trail
  • Western States Trail
  • Pacific Crest Trail
  • Foresthill Divide Loop Trail
  • Confluence Trail
  • Pioneer Express Trail
  • American River Bike Trail
  • Jedediah Smith National Recreation Trail
  • Delta de Anza Regional Trail
  • Stewartville Trail
  • Ridge Trail
  • Black Diamond Trail
  • Cumberland Trail
  • Black Diamond to Mt. Diablo Trail
  • Bruce Lee Trail
  • Mitchell Canyon Trail
  • Deer Flat Creek Trail
  • Prospectors Gap Trail
  • North Peak Trail
  • Summit Trail
  • Wall Point Trail
  • Briones-Mount Diablo Trail
  • Lafayette Ridge Trail
  • Homestead Valley Trail
  • Oursan Trail
  • Bear Creek Trail
  • Inspiration Trail
  • Bay Area Ridge Trail
  • Sea View Trail
  • Vollmer Peak Trail
  • Grizzly Peak Trail
  • San Francisco Bay Trail
  • SCA Trail
  • Bobcat Trail
  • Miwok Trail
  • Redwood Creek Trail
  • Deer Creek Park Fire Trail
  • Hillside Trail
  • Ben Johnson Trail
  • Stapleveldt Trail
  • Matt Davis Trail
  • Coastal Trail
  • Bolinas Ridge Trail
  • Randall Trail
  • Olema Valley Trail
  • Stewart Trail
  • Glen Trail
  • Bear Valley Trail
  • Coast Trail 
  • Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail


  • Granite Chief Wilderness
  • Auburn State Recreation Area
  • Folsom Lake Recreation Area
  • American River Parkway
  • Discovery Park in Sacramento
  • William Land Park in Sacramento
  • Contra Loma Regional Park
  • Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve
  • Mt. Diablo State Park
  • Shell Ridge Recreation Area
  • Heather Farms Park in Walnut Creek
  • Acalanes Ridge Recreation Area
  • Briones Regional Park
  • Wildcat Canyon Regional Park
  • Charles Tilden Regional Park
  • Presidio of San Francisco
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  • Muir Woods National Monument
  • Mt. Tamalpais State Park
  • Point Reyes National Seashore

Points of Interest

  • Truckee River Rafting
  • Palisades Tahoe
  • Watson Monument
  • Sierra Nevada Mountains
  • Duncan Peak Lookout
  • Gold Mining Towns
    • Last Chance
    • Deadwood
  • Michigan Bluff & Leland Stanford Homestead
  • Foresthill Cemetery (Gold Miners)
  • Ford Bar on Middle Fork of American River
  • No Hands Bridge
  • Folsom Dam & Prison
  • Folsom Old Town & First Power Plant
  • Nimbus Fish Hatchery & Salmon Ladder
  • Sacramento Old Town & Railroad Museum
  • State Capitol Building
  • Sacramento Cemetery (Pioneers)
  • Sacramento Zoo
  • Mt. Diablo Summit Building
  • Strawberry Canyon
  • University of California — Berkeley Campus
  • Jack London Square in Oakland
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Fort Point National Historic Site
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Olema Valley

Adjoining Trail State:  Nevada