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Location: American River valley near Auburn, California
This is a beautiful spot frequented by nudists and occasional skinny-dippers. There is an actual sandy spot you could call a "nude beach". These directions will get you there. The first time I went it took me an hour of wandering around to find that particular spot everyone talks about. Initially I stumbled into the male gay section which is a ways south of the "straight" nudist beach referenced here. If you want the gay section simply follow the well-travelled path that continues south through the valley. The directons here will save you a lot of time. You're welcome!
From San Francisco you need to allow a couple hours driving time to Auburn. Take the Bay Bridge toward Oakland but turn north (East) onto Interstate 80 which you stay on past Sacramento (direction Reno) until you get to Auburn. Skip the first Auburn exit, take the next one which is highway 49. As you exit the highway, turn right, into town, then turn left onto Lincoln Way and again left onto High Street. This will soon become highway 49 heading east out of town on a very windy scenic road. The spot you are looking for is only about 1 to 2 miles out of town.
You want to find a couple of side highway pull-offs where you can park. Don't stop at the first ones you see as you want the ones near the path heading down that is closest to where we want to be. If you reach the bridge that crosses the river you have come too far. You need to turn around and come back about half a mile or so. The best place to park if there is room is the pull-off across from the trail with a yellow gate on it.
If there is no available parking, skip down the page to the alternate spot. For the moment we will assume you can park there as it is not too busy on weekdays. Please reference the above map for where the parking is. Note the tight curves in the highway and the proximity of the bridge to the north. Be very careful crossing the highway or pulling in and out of parking!
The map below shows the footpath route to the preferred spot at the river. Important note... about 3/4 of the way down, several paths intersect. At this point take the small path through the trees down toward the river.
If there is no parking at the side of the highway here, fear not as there is an alternate that requires a longer walk but it is mostly level and quite pleasant.
As you are driving you will cross the bridge that crosses the river. After crossing, park on the right along the highway or drive a bit further and park in the lot on the left on the other side of the highway. Walk back almost to the bridge and you see the beginning of a gated trail (a different entrance from the first one mentioned). The red dots below show the footpath.
It is an easy walk, 15 or so minutes, downstream. Follow the path over the old bridge, now used only for horses and pedestrians. At a point you will see a branch of the trail vear sharply to the left. DO NOT go there, just continue straight. After a few more minutes you will come to a trail intersection where a branch heads up toward the road above. This is the trail you would have come down if you had found parking above. At this point look toward the river and you will see a smaller dirt trail leading down. this is the most direct route down to the popular spot below. It is only about 5 minutes clambering down.
Please do not take anything glass or breakable and please take back out everything you bring if not more. You're OK to be nude at the river but don't wander around on the higher big trails.
PS the nude status of this location was threatened in 2006 but due to steps taken by the Naturist Action Committee, State Park Officials are continuing to allow such use. READ ABOUT IT