TRAILS

Surrounding the general area around Bear Valley Ski Resort, there are hundreds of miles of networks of beautiful forest service roads. 

These include scenic, mild trails to the extreme trails like Deer Valley and Slickrock trails.

BLACK SPRINGS TRAIL

RATING - EASY

Road to Trail – 16 mi

Trail – 22 mi

Road Back to Camp – 7 mi

Total Estimated Time – 6-6.5 hrs with 1 hr lunch stop

Easy with the occasional moderate section, this trail starts near Dorrington, a former stage stop and was used by prospectors to access mines in the southern end of the Mother Lode from 1849. Classic overlanding, the trail winds along ridges and through sugar pines and scattered oaks. Any stock Rover with good tires and a bit of care to line choice should find this an enjoyable route.

MATTLEY RIDGE TRAIL

RATING - EASY

Road to trail – 7 mi

Trail – 23 mi

Road back to camp – 10 mi

Total estimated time – 5 hr

This scenic trail climbs along Mattley Ridge, passing open meadows interspersed with logging areas, through stands of white fir and wild flowers and offers great views of the Mokelumne Wilderness and 9334’ Mokelumne Peak.

CALAVERAS DOME TRAIL

RATING - EASY

Road to Trail – 12 mi

Trail (partially paved) – 56 mi

Road Back to Camp – 12 mi

Total Estimated Time – 8 hr with 1 hr lunch stop

Though both ends of this trail are suitable for passenger vehicles, the full trail requires a high-clearance 4WD. With over 4000’ of elevation drop to the Salt Spring Reservoir and the North Fork of the Mokelumne River, followed by the same climb back out, you’ll find plenty of reasons to drop into 4-lo. But the real highlight of this trail is the scenery as you get into the river canyon, with classic Sierra views reminiscent of Yosemite. Lunch will be along the river before the return climb.

RATING - EASY to MODERATE

Road to Trail – 7 mi

Trail – 14 mi

Road Back to Camp – 1 mi

Total Estimated Time – 5 hr with 1 hr lunch stop

Corral Hollow is a beautiful, moderately rated 4wd trail that passes a variety of scenery from forest gullies to open ridge tops.  Raged black, meaning most difficult, by the Forest Service, only the eastern 4 miles rates a 5 (of 10) for difficulty with the rest a 3.  The trail is lumpy as it heads toward Corral Hollow.  Careful wheel placement will allow most vehicles to make it through unscathed.  The trail as a whole is best suited for compact vehicles because of a few tight turns through trees.  As the trail leaves Corral Hollow, it starts to climb up to a ridge.  Like many in the region, this climb has a dry, loose surface that means poor traction for a vehicle.  Some sections are moguled, and a few short off camber sections will tilt vehicles to the side.  The trail passes a few small meadows, which in the spring and early summer are ablaze with wildflowers.  As you reach the top of the ridge there are views to the north over Grouse Valley and Mokelumne Peak.  Mount Reba Ski Area borders this point.  The trail follows along the riege for a few miles with great views on either side before descending gradually toward Bear Trap Basin and the old two-story Bear trap Cabin.  Owned by the forest service, the cabin is maintained as an emergency refuge and is generally stocked with dry food and firewood in the winter.  It can be used at other times under a special use permit.  The cabin is sparsely furnished and has a stove for heat.  Past the cabin the trail becomes easier, crossing small meadows and passing a series of spurs before crossing Big Meadow Creek and coming to an end near highway 4.

BARNEY-RILEY TRAIL

RATING - MODERATE

Road to Trail – 33 mi

Trail – 23 mi

Road Back to Camp – 62 mi

Total Estimated Time  – 8-9 hrs with 1 hr lunch stop

This trail starts and ends with a drive through scenic 8736’ Ebbett’s Pass/highway 4.

Barney Riley Trail is a great moderate trail to a fun destination. Most of the trail is easy but filled with small rocks that can rattle your fillings loose. Lowering your tire pressure and taking your time will make this trail much more enjoyable.  There are also significant ruts washed into the early stages of the trail that require careful line choice.

This trail is filled with some great views and a few steep climbs, nothing a suitable high clearance four wheel drive could not handle. We will stop for lunch alongside the Carson River before continuing on to exit the trail on highway 395 in Nevada before returning back to camp

SOURGRASS TRAIL

RATING - MODERATE

Road to trail – 25 mi

Trail – 4.5 mi

Road back to camp – 25 mi

Total estimated time - 4-4.5 hrs

A short but sweet out-and-back trail, Sour Grass is a NorCal Rover club favorite. It includes a little of everything with some off camber, some wash-outs, some rocky sections, a water crossing (river flow varies), and some tight squeezes. The trail runs parallel to the North Fork of the Stanislaus River with opportunities at the start and end to enjoy the water.

RATING - CHALLENGING

Road to Trail – 3 mi

Trail – 4 mi

Road Back to Camp – 15 mi

Total Estimated Time – 4-5 hrs including play-time at the lower staircase

Another NorCal Rovers favorite, Slick Rock is a short trail with challenging sections and optional lines suitable to only the best built rigs and buggies. Full armor and at least 1 locker are recommended as are 32”+ tires and suitable driveline and suspension upgrades. Passable by moderately built trucks, even the best prepared vehicles will find lines to challenge themselves on this local favorite!

This short route is a rare combination of difficult obstacles and great scenery.  Passes through popular Union/Utica recreation area.  Lots of hiking, biking, and water activities at each end of route.  Street legal vehicles only”.  From the older book “Much of this trail traverses large rock slabs, giving you a little taste of Moab and the Rubicon.  Silver Creek flows over rocks beside the trail with wonderful clear pools in which to relax and play.  Unique places to camp along the way.  The south end of trail runs alng beautiful Utica Reservoir, a scenic place to camp, mountain bike, and flatwater kayak.

RATING - CHALLENGING

Road to Trail – 13 mi

Trail – 6.5 mi

Road Back to Camp – 62 mi

Total Estimated Time – 8 hrs including 1 hr lunch stop

Closed for years, this trail only re-opened as a thru-run in July of ’18 thanks to the help of local volunteer 4wd clubs. The trail is more difficult running north bound which is the route we’ll be using. The southern end is the more challenging, starting off with a gate keeper right from the beginning and climbing as it works its way north. There are steep climbs, rocky ledges, water crossings, and loose boulders to work past before exiting through beautiful Charity Valley and returning to camp via Ebbett’s Pass

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