A Beaten Path Worth Taking – The Potholes, Kit Carson, El Dorado County

At 1850 Wine Cellars, when we say, “Take a hike!” it is not meant as a bad thing. California is a state of adventure, exploration, and connection. Get out there with family and friends, explore and discover.

No list of easy trails in El Dorado County would be complete without venturing a mile and a half off Highway 88 near Silver Lake to enjoy a truly special place in nature called the Potholes. It is an easy hike, take the kids with you, bring the dog (on leash) and be prepared to go for a swim. We wouldn’t say it is a hidden gem, but it is a gem none the less.

 The gentle trail makes it easy to bring along light coolers, a towel, that glittery flamingo floatie you have had your eye on, or any other essentials you might want to have on hand as you spend the afternoon exploring the area. If you do bring small children, be safe and bring a light life jacket or arm floats. Safety first.

Follow the unofficial trail (look for the rock marked PH), lined up with the bridge and heading into the forest. The trail quickly turns to dirt and follows a little stream. The beginning can feel a little rundown with a dam, but do not let that slow you down. After a mile, the trees fade and give way to magnificent granite slabs that slope downward in divergent paths creating perfectly personalized pockets of cold mountain water begging to be enjoyed.

The Potholes natural rock formations create pools of crystal-clear mountain water with smooth granite water slides flowing from pool to pool. You can follow the stream further down to find huge, lurking boulders that combine to create unique and stunning views. This is a special place, bring a camera, make some memories, have some fun.

For the adventurous and looking to stretch those legs, boulder hopping here is a blast. Finding fun climbs and off the path waterfalls is all part of the fun.

A few notes:

  1. There are signs at the beginning where there is private property and to stay on the trail. So, stay on the trail, it is well identified.
  2. This should go without saying, but since The Potholes is the absolute perfect place to picnic for lunch, clean up after yourself. Plan to leave no trace and dispose of waste properly.
  3. Great trail for the family, but keep in mind water safety with small kids.

Check it out, take pictures and tag us @1850wine with hashtag #1850BeatenPaths

1.5 miles, 134 ft elevation gain

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The Potholes is also one of our 6 Must Explore Trails in El Dorado County!

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- Leah Radke