The La Di Dah Trail

said on November 13th, 2010 filed under: Localism

This is not really called the La Di Dah Trail.  I just call it that because it’s the only trail around where they check your pedigree before you’re allowed to run on it.  I’m kidding.  Barely.  This trail is a section of the great Pioneer Express Trail that runs between Auburn and Sacramento.  You access the trail at the Sterling Equestrian Staging Area at the edge of the Sterling Pointe enclave.

Sterling Pointe sign


Sterling Pointe (don’t forget the “e”) is one the “exclusive” neighborhoods in the Auburn area.  To get to it, you pass right by the Clos du Lac neighborhood (Golly!) which is the exclusive Auburn neighborhood. 

Sterling mansion

Turn into Sterling Pointe (don’t forget the “e”), drive past numerious mansiones, and you will come to the equestrian staging area itself.  There you will find a potty, water fountain, horse trough and (I’m not making this us) a dog trough.

Sterling parking

At the trailhead you will find various information tableaus.

Sterling sign

During the first half mile, you can also see small signs that identify different plant species of the area.  This one identifies poison oak and informs you that you are standing in the middle of a patch of California’s most ubiquitous shrub.  Ha ha, Flatlander, just a little hillbilly humor.

Sterling Poison Oak

I really like trails that start off downhill.  It gives me a chance to warm up my old joints and tendons.  I don’t mind uphills towards the end of the run, after I am in my groove.  La Di Dah is perfect. Downhill for about 7 minutes till you intersect the actual Pioneer Express near the edge of Lake Fiolsom.

Sterling high water

The problem with this trail is that it is under water for much of the year.  It skirts Folsom Lake right at the water’s edge, and after the rains arrive and start filling up the reservoir, the trail disappears for months.

Sterling aquaduct

Much of this trail follows an old aquaduct that used to bring American River water down from the hills.

Sterling dam

The aquaduct became obsolete after the dam was built.  You can see the dam far across Folsom Lake.

Sterling scenery 2

At the right time of year, especially the late fall after the water has been released from the lake, the trail is superb.  I mean, terrific, sensational, extraordinary. 

Sterling scenery 1

You have to be one of those people who love gorgeous scenery–but if you are, then get ready.  The scenery is non-stop, one beautiful vision after another, for miles and miles.

Sterling sandy trail

To make it even better, once you get down to the water, the trail is flat and soft.  Easy on the feet and joints.  Every now and then you will come across a sandy stretch where you will have to work a little harder.

Sterling Posse

This section of the Pioneer Express trail is mostly used by the horsey set.

Sterling horse duet

They are, for the most part, a congenial lot, and don’t mind sharing “their” trail with mere runners. 

Sterling shadow

On this run today, I had to leave Dharma at home.  Here is my only companion.

The La Di Dah is an out-and-back run.  I usually go out 4 or 5 miles and turn around, but you are invited to run all the way to the Folsom dam if you like.  I’ve never done it.  It’s probably about 15 miles–each way.  Go for it!

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