FYI - Spring of 2015 Bureau of Land Management will be spraying for star thistle ( trails will be closed for 2-3 days while they spray) . They will also be grazing sheep in different sections, with dogs and herders. It is advisable ( maybe mandatory) that all dogs be on a leash during this time period so as to not interfere with the sheep and dogs - these dogs are very protective of their sheep. 

- river access is now closed to horses in some sections- signs are up. This closure will be through Labor Day.

ALERT - Nov 4,2012 - reports of more breakins at Cronan. Ranger was out there Nov 3, 2012 warning people NOT to leave ANYTHING of value in your car, truck or trailer. It is not safe!

Watch out for Rattlesnakes especially in the warmer weather- they seem to be spotted frequently at Cronan and several dogs have been bitten in the past years

ALERT - Truck and horse trailer stolen from Cronan's Padro Hill parking lot May 18,2012  -
mid morning.

 ALERT - as of Nov 17,2011  2 more recent break-ins have occurred at Magnolia staging area. Also a single man has been seen at Magoliga asking a lot of questions of lone riders. Please use caution! All incidents have been reported.

Point of interest- The movie " Love Comes Softly" was filmed at Cronan.   You can see the old movie set being used and much of the Cronan scenery throughout the majority of the movie.                                            

Cronan Ranch
(part of the Bureau of Land Management)                                                                                                                                  

Location: Pilot Hill, Ca ( El Dorado Country)                                                                               
(please note this map is for the winery across from Magnolia staging area)

Directions: approx 12.5 miles south of Auburn, Ca on Hwy 49 off Hwy 80 - exit Elm St from Hwy 80. Turn left coming from the west, go 1 block and turn left at the stoplight onto Hwy 49. Continue traveling south on Hwy 49 approx 6.5 miles until you reach Cool, continue south another 6 miles until you reach Pedro Hill Rd (sneaks up on you, look for a fairly large turnout on the right just before you will turn),turn right and the Pedro Hill staging area is straight ahead. There is a second staging area, Magnolia, which is 1.5 miles farther south down Hwy 49 (across from Venizio Winery - the staging area can be seen from the hwy), turn rt off of Hwy 49 into staging area.  NOTE: the first 6.5 miles of Hwy 49 is winding but very manageable unless you have an extremely large rig.

From Hwy 50 @ Placerville take Hwy 49 north approx 11.5 miles, the Magnolia Staging area will be on your left (across from a winery) the staging area can be seen from the hwy). For the Pedro Hill staging area continue north on Hwy 49 an additional 2 miles to Pedro Hill Rd, turn left and the Pedro Hill Staging area is straight ahead. NOTE: the first few miles of Hwy 49 off Hwy 50 is also winding but manageable.

Staging area: there are two areas - both are day use only. The one closest to Pilot Hill is the Pedro Hill staging area.  It is not very large but can accommodate several rigs of varying sizes. The larger of the two staging areas, which is also the newest, is called Magnolia and can accommodate quite a few rigs with no restrictions on size.  You can ride/hike from one staging area to the other. Visit for a map and more information on Cronan Ranch.   

Dogs: allowed off leash

Trails: Trails are multi use (bikes are common), most are easy but some are moderate in difficulty.  There are some single track trails. You can ride/walk to the river from either staging area - a 30 min walk from the Pedro Hill staging area. Some river access/trails are off limits to horses during the rafting season (usually Memorial Day - Labor Day) - there are signs posted. Most of the trails are out in the open so it can get hot in the summer. There are some trail signs posted, not difficult to find your way around. Added bonus - some beautiful views! PLEASE NOTE - there is a metal bar approx 12 inches off the ground that your horse MUST step over to enter and exit the trails at both staging areas.

NOTE: to purchase a trail map of Cronan printed on a bandanna please go to 

Water: no water, best to haul in your own. Horses can drink at the river.

Restroom facilities: 1 new ( as of March 2013)  restroom (vault) at Pedro Hill and at Magnolia

Other info: Cronan is also open for para-sailing so don't be surprised if you see them up on the hill tops or sailing overhead. There is also hunting allowed as this is BLM property. It also is not uncommon to see people walking their llamas and goats. Rafting companies gain access to the river so occasionally there will be a truck on the service road to the river from the Pedro Hill staging area. There are also porta potties down by the river and picnic tables. T
hese are maintained by the rafting companies. There is also an old movie set located along the trail from the Padro Hill staging area to the river.

Fees: none

See "Trail Pictures" tab located to the left of this page for photos and more information.

Print this page to take with you for reference.

Friendly reminder -  be smart do not leave any valuables in your vehicle or trailer.

  Site Map