It’s hard to believe that a system of trails for hiking and mountain biking is only a quick 20-minute drive from Murphys! With over 17 miles of marked trails, it will take at least a day to explore the Arnold Rim Trail, either hiking or biking. Located on the eastern edge of the Stanislaus National Forest, the town of Arnold is close to three trailheads for the Arnold Rim Trail (ART). 

A collaboration between volunteers, Calaveras County, State Park, and the US Forest Service agencies maintain this recreational and educational system. Begun in 2007, their goal is to extend the trail to 35 miles in length upon completion.

Planning for Your Adventure

When planning an outdoor adventure, it is always essential to get an idea of the difficulty of the trail you are attempting, along with elevation and a weather report. Download the Avanza map on your phone to always know where you are on the trail system. Make sure that you get the updated version to include the newest trails.

To ensure that the trails and the wilderness remain pristine for years to come, please abide by the seven principles of “Leave No Trace.” And, because this is bear country, make sure you know what to do if you encounter a bear.


There are several trailheads; here are the best choices based on the chosen hike/ride:

  • For the destination of San Antonio Falls, use either Sierra Nevada Logging Museum/White Pines Lake or Cedar Center.
  • For a destination of Cougar Rock, use Avery Sheep Ranch Road.

Popular Trail Destinations

San Antonio Falls

This hike is 8.2 miles out-and-back and is considered moderately challenging. The level of the waterfall depends on the time of year, but be aware that the waterfall is in the distance. The views stretch from Mt. Diablo in the East Bay area and snowy Mt. Lyell on the high eastern slopes of the Sierras near Yosemite.

Cougar Rock Loop

This loop is 4.1 miles and is considered moderately challenging. The trail is well-marked but narrow at some points and includes several creek crossings. The view from Cougar Rock is worth the trip.

Top of the World

Cougar Rock and Manuel Peak Road are both wide forest service roads. This 3-mile out-and-back trail is considered easy and provides excellent views from the peak.

Guided Events

Check the Arnold Rim website for events if you don’t want to head out alone or want a knowledgeable guide to enhance your experience. They range from sunset hikes to guided nature walks, mountain biking, and trail races.

The Place to Stay When the Day Is Done

It certainly was fun to explore the Arnold Rim Trail, but don’t you need a bit of reward after all that effort? A comfortable bed with fluffy pillows, a hot shower, and a chance to unwind sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Ensure you have your room (or maybe an entire house) to enjoy yourself after a day on the trails. We have a variety of options, whether you prefer the historic charm of the Victoria Inn or the opportunity to spread out in a unique setting like an updated Airstream by a creek or a loft in the heart of Murphys. Reserve now, and avoid disappointment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *