This lovely photo was posted today in the San Jose Mercury News and the photo credit is Getty Images. CLICK HERE to see the original article and photos.
--by Claire Cudahy in the Tahoe Tribune newspaper
What's better motivation to get moving on a trail than the reward of a picnic with aged cheese, cured meats and other delectable bites? Short of being stalked by a mountain lion, absolutely nothing.
Before the snow flies, fall is the best time to get out and enjoy the beauty of the Sierra Nevada on foot.
These five hikes, ranging in distance and difficulty, showcase the diversity of landscape in the region. Added bonus: They all boast excellent spots to chow down while taking in the views.
The hike to Lake Margaret is roughly 4.6 miles (around 500 feet in elevation gain) along an out-and-back trail in El Dorado National Forest. Large granite rocks surround the alpine lake and make for a perfect spot to spread out a picnic. The trailhead is a short jaunt from the lake near Kirkwood Mountain Resort.
WOODS, WINNEMUCCA AND ROUND TOP LAKES
Take your pick of three lakes to sit by while eating that pastrami sandwich you've been thinking about all morning. This 5-mile loop trail (about 1,200 feet in elevation gain) into the Mokelumne Wilderness also features sweeping views of the mountains, old mining equipment and beautiful creeks setting the soundtrack for the hike.
The 2.4-mile loop around Spooner Lake is doable for hikers of all skill levels. The trail features benches along the way that are great for taking in views of the lake while noshing on a thermos-full of soup. Or a burrito. Or a big salad. You get the idea.
Trek along the Tahoe Rim Trail near Kings Beach to find the ultimate spot for dining al fresco — Picnic Rock. The 3.1-mile (730 feet of elevation gain) out-and-back trail guides you to the vista where you'll get an excellent view of the lake from the rocky outcrop. Cool points if you somehow manage to lug a wicker picnic basket up to its namesake rock.
If you're a masochist, drag your lunch 3,200 feet up Mount Tallac for a day of walking 10 miles on uneven shale and questioning all of your life decisions. If you make it to the top, ask your fit friend who made you do this to feed you chunks of Gouda and salami since you lack the energy to do so yourself. Oh, and don't forget to take in the jaw-dropping, 360-degree views of Tahoe and Desolation Wilderness while you're up there.
CLICK HERE to see original article and photos in the Tahoe Tribune newspaper.
Remember Quarry Trail?
--By Mary West
When was the last time you enjoyed the level, wide road that follows a 5.5-mile stretch of the Middle Fork of the American River from the Confluence in the Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA) back to Main Bar? With cooler temperatures and fewer tourists, it may be time to go back. Not much has changed. The park placed giant blocks in front of the Hawver Cave in an effort to deter vandals. I will miss the rush of cool air on a hot summer day that came out the entrance through the large gates. I have so many fond memories of this trail. (Photo credit: Mary West)
I have sat out on the rock outcropping overlooking Murders Bar two miles in and watched the sun move across the sky and shine on the canyon walls as the river flowed over the boulders on its way to the Confluence. I had the pleasure of swimming with otters in the pools below the rapids. I have eaten my share of blackberries off the vines in one of the shaded bends of the trail.
The Canyon Keepers have installed some nice message boards to explain the concrete foundations found here. Along the way you see signs for the climbing area. some call it our Little Yosemite. I have climbed the rock faces of Cave Valley, thank you Gordy. I can’t adequately describe the euphoria of making it to the top. I can’t explain the view to give it justice, aside from saying you have to see it for yourself.
There are no waterfalls. No easy access to the river. You have to scramble down off the road to the get to the water, but it is always worth it. The water is colder on this fork as it comes from the bottom of Oxbow dam and is not warmed by the sun as much as the North Fork. Once back to Main Bar you find more trails to take you still further to waterfalls and other views and opportunities.
To get there take Highway 49 south from Auburn, turn right over the American River toward Cool. A quarter mile up the road on your left there is a small parking lot. The trail head is below the parking lot behind gate No. 151. State parks charges a $10 day use fee.
I will keep going back, the earlier the better to find a parking spot. I will pick up litter when I see it, as many of us do. I will keep telling people about it even though friends keep telling me to stop sharing all our best trails. Honestly, I like it for no better reason than I have so many memories that each step is like a page in an old photo album.
Mary West is author of the book “Day Hiker: The Gold Country Trail Guide.” Mary won the 2017 CRAFT Award for her hiking column “Day Hiker” from the Outdoor Writers of California. She is currently working on here the second Gold Country trail guide. Learn more about local trails by following Mary on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Instagram.
Folsom Lake Mounted Patrol event largest ever, and posts more volunteer hours than any other group in FLSRA
According to the Mounted Patrol, approximately 150 riders took part in this benefit event, and 24 overnight horse campers stayed, making it the most attended Patrol event in its 38-year history. All proceeds funds the Mounted Patrol and the trails.
This from the Folsom Lake Mounted Patrol Facebook Event post today:
"Kim Hall took this photo of part of the Granite Beach parking area showing how many rigs came to enjoy the Folsom Lake Mounted Patrol ride yesterday. Not shown are all the rigs (about 35) on the dirt area beyond the lot, and the rest of the lot (about another 20). What is important about supporting the Patrol by attending this ride is that Park Administration and everyone can see, YES, there are lots of horses who are in the Park every day. Since equestrians are quiet folks who are normally in the far reaches of the Park and not checking in at the main kiosks, sometimes horses and their riders are not considered when making important Park policy decisions. But, when we come together for a worthy event such as this one, our numbers can't be ignored!"
According to FLSRA records, the Folsom Lake SRA Mounted Patrol works more volunteer hours than any other group in Folsom Lake SRA.
As the summer winds down and gives way to fall, now is the time to get out and visit Independence Lake. You can spend a day hiking its shores, kayaking its clear waters and picnicking among the pines. When you arrive, take advantage of the calm winds of the morning and take out one of the first-come, first-serve kayaks available at the lake. With fewer visitors than in the height of summer, it's the perfect time to head out on the water. Kayaks will be available through October 1 (visitors must use first-come, first serve kayaks as part of efforts to prevent invasive species from entering the lake, see rules below).
When you're ready to explore the 2,000-acre property on foot, there are trails along the north shore and south shore to choose from, as well as a short Meadow Loop Trail near the parking and picnic areas. The north shore trail will meander through the woods along the shore, looking up at Carpenter Ridge and up the lake toward Mt. Lola, the tallest peak in Nevada County. (Photo credit: Nature Conservancy)
The South Shore Trail also offers views of Mt. Lola, and has granite boulders along the water's edge, perfect for sitting and taking in the view.
Set at 6,949 feet elevation, the clear waters of Independence Lake are home to one of only two self-sustaining lacustrine populations of Lahontan cutthroat trout. An every-other week schedule for motor boats gives access for anglers.
When it's time for lunch, picnic tables are located along the north shore and at the east end near the parking area.
Independence Lake was acquired by The Nature Conservancy, the Truckee Donner Land Trust and the Northern Sierra Partnership in 2010. Learn more here.
How to Get There
From Hwy 89, about 17 miles North of Truckee, follow Jackson Meadows Road west 1.5 mi. Turn left/South at the sign for "Independence Lake – 5 miles". After about 2 miles, the road forks and a sign indicates ‘Independence Lake – 3 miles’ to the right. After an additional half mile, the road forks again, follow the left fork across a stream and continue to Independence Lake and the directional signs to the parking area.
Rules and Regulations
All skill levels and ages — weekend warriors and racers to youngsters and family casual riders — have the ability to enjoy various forms of riding. And Nevada County has miles of scenic mountain trails and roads to explore year round.
There is truly something for every type of rider — except a local bike skills park.
A local skills park — where riders can safely improve their riding and connect with other riders — is absolutely paramount at fostering local confident riders who learn to respect the inclusivity of the sport and its connection with nature. A bike park allows riders to practice their skills on technical features and jumps.
Currently the only bike parks in the area are Truckee Bike Park, an hour east of Nevada City, and Stafford Lake Bike Park, 2.5 hours southwest.
Inspired to fill this void, Nevada County residents Lisa McCandless, Richard Baker and John "Moss" Quaglia have joined forces to create this much needed bike skills park, to be located in Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley.
"It is such a friendly and educating environment," said Quaglia (of their inspiration-Truckee Bike Park). "Western Nevada County needed its own healthy, community minded skills park."
Located in Penn Valley near the dog park, Western Gateway Park has offered dedicated space for the bike park through the oak woodland forest. When completed, the bike park will have several multi-level pump tracks and jump lines, a dual slalom course, mountain bike skills zone, a single track flow zone, and a mountain bike trail that encircles the entirety of the Western Gateway Park.
The park will be unique in that it encompasses local oak woodland forests and provides a scenic atmosphere for riders or all ages and abilities, unlike the typical bike park that has developed barren land.
"The bike park will make it (Western Gateway Park) even better and even give female riders the opportunity to try new things that aren't currently available in Western Nevada County," said McCandless.
The three close friends have brought their talents and strengths to this three-year-old ongoing project. McCandless, a professional planner who specializes in trails and recreational projects, has spearheaded the bike park planning and Nevada County approval process, including environmental impact and noise impact studies.
Baker, with his strong vision for this park, has been integral with local connections and is leading the park's infrastructure improvements such as ADA parking and road widening.
Quaglia's focus is primarily designing and building park features and facilitating conceptual designs and construction quotes provided by the International Mountain Bike Association.
THE WORK HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN
The undertaking for this bike park is entirely new to the county planning department and McCandless, Baker and Quaglia have structured their venture as a business. The core group has created budgets and fundraising efforts, fostered local business and community member support, identified key volunteer and continual support roles. This is a self funded project, created with passion and a drive to support local riders.
Together, local donations from community members and businesses have facilitated early construction. The first stages of the park — including a basic pump track and jump line — are underway and the park is slated for a soft opening in early 2019.
But despite all of this good news, the hard work has only just begun. Paths need to be paved, trails built — and of course, the ever present subject of funding must be raised.
To date, the International Mountain Bike Association, Bicyclists of Nevada County, Youth Bicyclists of Nevada County, Penn Valley Rotary Club, and a number of local individuals have donated time and funds towards the park's development. The park will soon be open to the public for weekend work days, and Baker urges the community to help in any way they can, be it with a donation or trail building. McCandless will also be leading the online funding campaign starting in September.
BONC, YBONC, and the Nevada County Parks and Recreation will also support continued maintenance of the park when opened.
To help support the Western Gateway Bike Park, email email@example.com or visit https://www.facebook.com/gatewaybikepark/ or BONC's Facebook page for updates regarding the park's progression and local trail building and work days. Donations are gladly accepted at http://www.gatewabikepark.com.
Mina Ricci is a freelance writer who contributes to The Union.
CLICK HERE to see the original article and photos in The Union
Hidden in a lovely canyon running along the Nevada and Placer County borders, the Bear River Recreation Area, between Rollins and Combie Reservoirs, is a little known gem for families and river lovers seeking quiet river recreation.
Photo credit: Gary Moon
There are easy access points near Colfax and Grass Valley and Bear River offers places to hike, fish, pan for gold, swim, picnic, camp and go tubing on the river.
There is free day use parking and access to 250 acres of parkland is the Bear River Park and Campground, with access from Colfax off Milk Ranch or Plum Tree Roads. This spot has a wide, cobble stone beach area with plenty of room to spread out and enjoy a day relaxing on the river.
Steep forested slopes surround the recreation and camping areas, and the Bear runs through a diverse ecology of lush vegetation from willows and alders at the river's edge to towering Ponderosa pines and Douglas firs.
A maintained network of trails is easily accessible to hike along the river or into the nearby hills to experience a healthy Foothill river canyon. These forest trails are a favorite for wildflower hikes and bird watching.
Hikers encounter an abundance of wildflowers including trillium, fairy lanterns, Humboldt lily, bleeding heart, and shrubs such as manzanita, ceanothus, California buckeye, and elderberry. A mature oak woodland shades much of the area with Canyon live oak, Interior live oak and black oaks; many are especially gigantic and very old.
Wildlife abounds in this riparian oasis and visitors will see a wide variety of birds, including seasonal song birds such as Black-headed and Evening Grosbeaks, colorful Western Tanagers, and an assortment of warblers. Keep an eye out for deer, bear, coyote, raccoon, the shy nocturnal Ringtail cat, and Bobcat.
Bear River's currents have a range of personalities. In the spring, advanced kayakers skilled in class 4 and 5 rapids like the stretch of river from the Highway 174 bridge to Ben Taylor Road, or the mellower and longer class 2 run to Lake Combie. In the later season, inner tubers can run from the Colfax access all the way to the Dog Bar Bridge. Gold-panners find ideal conditions in the Bear's riffles, too.
For easy access, park next to the Bear where Highway 174 crosses into Placer County. Head out under the bridge onto the trail on the Nevada County side of the river. The trail winds over a mile along the river past well-known swimming and fishing holes.
Dog Bar Road crosses the Bear farther south in Nevada County, providing good access. From there, hike upriver to Duck's Bill — a classic jumping spot into a refreshingly clear pool. On this mellow stretch, the day can end with a swim the half mile back to the car.
The Bear River is often overshadowed by the nearby Yuba and American river systems. But the gentle Bear has family-friendly, local access and great recreation opportunities for the whole family.
CLICK HERE to see the original article and more photos in The Union newspaper.
In order to purchase land for El Dorado County’s first wildlife area, which will include recreational trails, the American River Conservancy is searching for $200,000 by the end of September.
The ARC aims to purchase two properties — the 1,737-acre Ervin Ranch and a 3,157-acre portion of the El Dorado Ranch — both near the Cosumnes River west of Highway 49. The ranches have a combined price tag of $4.68 million, but 96 percent of the costs have been secured so far. The remaining 4 percent, or $200,000, is needed before escrow closes late next month.
According to an appeal letter from the conservancy, they seek to protect this area in particular because the Cosumnes River is “one of the last undammed rivers on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada.”
ARC director Alan Ehrgott said the river has historically provided a run for Chinook salmon and central valley steelhead, which currently spawn below Latrobe Falls. The properties total just over 3 miles of riverfront and riparian area. If purchased, the ranch land would connect already-purchased pieces to form 5,000 acres of wildlife habitat, Ehrgott said Monday, adding that this area would be the largest contiguous blue oak woodland in the central northern Sierra region.
Fauna like the Western pond turtle, bald eagles, golden eagles and an extensive list of other species also call the ranch area home.
If the land is purchased, it will eventually include trails for horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking, Ehrgott said, though the installation process will take two or three years. The conservancy would like to put in a trail reaching from Highway 49 down to Latrobe Road, he said, though the decision ultimately falls upon the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which will own and manage the land.
An 1860s historic ranch is also on the property, with a barn, a house, fences and rock walls still standing. Ehrgott anticipated these sites would be left within the wildlife area.
Though the El Dorado Ranch is used today to graze cattle, Ehrgott said it was acquired by a developer in 1989 who wished to turn it into a subdivision named Cinnabar. The controversial project ran into hangups, including an Amador County lawsuit and environmental reports that identified archaeological resources. The project never came to fruition before the developer passed away and the property was sold to its current owner.
As for whether the conservancy plans to hold any more fundraisers to reach their $200,000 goal, Ehrgott said they’ve turned over every rock they could and are now counting on generosity from community members. Historically, he said, the conservancy has managed to eke out those last few dollars and close the deal on an acquisition. Sometimes donations are hundreds of thousands of dollars, but many are contributions of around $20, Ehrgott said.
“We’re close, we’re within 4 percent of our purchase price and we have about two months,” Ehrgott said Friday, “so we’re just kind of doing the best we can, rolling up our sleeves and digging in.”
The bulk of support secured so far comes from a $2.5 million State Wildlife Conservation Board grant and $850,000 from the California Natural Resources Agency. Ehrgott said the landowner pitched in a $500,000 discount on the property. $500,000 more came from the California Wildlife Foundation, while the El Dorado County Oak Woodland Program and the ARC itself contributed $63,250 and $66,750 respectively.
Those interested in donating can do so online at www.arconservancy.org or by mailing checks to the American River Conservancy, P.O. Box 562, Coloma, CA 95613.
Photo Credit: Mackensie Myers.
CLICK HERE to see the original article and photos in the Mountain Democrat newspaper.
Trout Creek Canyon, Donner Lake Rim, Hole-in-the-Ground, Spaulding Lake, and Pioneer Trails, are a few of the high elevation trails destined to be connected by a new 80-mile trail linking Truckee to Nevada City called the Pines to Mines Trail.
This trail will encompass the best the county has to offer: Jaw-dropping views of sweeping valleys and the Sierra Crest, mature mixed conifer forests, historic towns, and high quality recreation.
Now in the design phase, this legacy trail will offer both single and multi-day excursions by creating a series of smaller loops and point-to-point routes. With its long distance, varied terrain, unique habitats and majestic views, the trail has the potential to become a regional and national draw.
Already considered destination hubs, the communities of Truckee in the East and sister cities Nevada City and Grass Valley in the West were recently named among 14 California Cultural Districts in a new state program dedicated to showcasing cultural diversity and unique artistic identities. The towns are known for quality lodging, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, breweries, wineries and a thriving arts and music culture.
Improving the quality of non-motorized trails that connect the sister cities with Truckee will further draw outdoor recreationists to the region while connecting east and west sides of the county that historically seemed worlds apart.
"I see the new trail as a creation that will allow non-motorized access into an iconic, stunningly beautiful backcountry where there is currently only poor quality access — horribly eroded Jeep roads, dusty forest roads and bushwhacking rough country," said Jane Ragan of Bicyclists of Nevada County. "We're imagining riding and walking on a beautiful winding trail alongside Old Man Mountain, crystalline lakes and the wonderful world of big trees and granite."
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TAPPING INTO NATURE
Many people drive through Western Nevada County to travel to Downieville in Sierra County or Lake Tahoe. Regional trail advocates say it's time to start tapping into and capturing some of that traffic by giving outdoors people a reason to stay and play in Nevada County. Nevada City and Truckee are positioned adjacent to hundreds of acres of public forest and prime recreation lands. Close to major transportation corridors — Interstate 80 and the Reno and Sacramento airports — Nevada County is easily accessible from anywhere in the country.
"Easy access to good trails enhances our quality of life, and well-designed, interesting routes can spur economic activity by attracting visitors, as places like Moab, Utah, and even Sierra County next door have learned to their benefit," said District 5 County Supervisor Richard Anderson, who spearheaded the Pines to Mines Trail Alliance in 2015 and subsequent series of stakeholder meetings.
Currently, the alliance is made up of Bear Yuba Land Trust, Bicyclists of Nevada County, Gold Country Trails Council and Truckee Trails Foundation. A capable and committed constituency has formed around the project to seek and administer funding, create a sustainable trail alignment on the ground, provide trail building expertise, exercise land management, and perform ongoing trail maintenance and support going forward.
The group envisions a non-motorized multi-use earthen trail crossing Nevada County's most beautiful landscapes providing a rugged backcountry experience for hikers, runners, mountain bicyclists and equestrian riders. When completed, the 80-mile trail will utilize existing trail segments and approximately 14 miles of newly constructed trail.
"Think of the majestic views of the Sierra Crest from the Donner Lake Rim Trail, Castle Peak from Andesite, Old Man Mountain and the realm of granite in the Fordyce Creek and South Yuba River drainages, Bear Valley from the Pioneer Trail lookout, immense trees along the Pioneer Trail, a National Scenic Trail, bookended by town breweries and restaurants," said Jane Ragan.
TAHOMA, Calif. (KCRA) --New video shows an injured biker being hoisted to safety after crashing Saturday near Tahoma.
Saturday afternoon, a 60-year-old mountain biker crashed and broke bones on the General Creek Trail, according to the California Highway Patrol.
An area fire department helped treat the man's injuries. Because he was injured in a remote area, however, a CHP helicopter was requested to assist.
The helicopter hoisted the injured biker from the trail.
He was then taken to Lake Tahoe Airport, where he was driven to a local hospital.
To see the original article in KCRA News, CLICK HERE.
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