Originally Posted by oldtrucks
A wise decision in the foothills. The area East of Grass Valley/Nevada City, North of 174 and South of 20 has a great deal of private lands. I stay on the main roads, use it more as a means to access the North side of 20 where there s some great riding
Good advice, but here are some clarifiers:
The first sign referenced above was actually posted on Lowell Hill Road (this is the one where the bridge washed out in the mid-1990s) and today the only way to go across is over private property and the land owner clearly doesn't want folks to do that.
There are also a ton of signs posted at the Red Dog Road crossing of Greenhorn Creek. This area is also private property that is owned by Hansen Brothers Enterprises. HBE is an aggregate mining company and they do activily skim gravel in this area. For years they were NOT mining in the area of the Red Dog Road crossing so they didn't mind folks playing down there, but today it's a liability issue for them.
The tricky part in this area is with the Federal Lands. The Federal Lands include both BLM and USFS. BLM essentially has a no vehicle-access policy and they post their lands accordingly. The USFS is (currently) using an open-roads only policy. The tricky part is that you need to have a license plate and the road has to be open for travel, then you're okay. Green stickered bikes apparently are now being more regulated. The exceptions to this rule are up near the top (Burlington Ridge) where there is a designated OHV area.
The BLM lands are mostly in the vicinity of the old hydraulic diggings areas at the western side (closer to Greenhorn Creek). Up into the woods, private property is inter-mixed with USFS lands up along the Chalk Bluff Road area and the lines between the two are not always clearly marked. The largest private land owner is Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) who is the largest private land owner in Califoria. SPI is a timber company and their agenda is to log their property - that's what they do. In the past they used to "look the other way" when signle track trails skirted across their lands. Those trails are not legal trails and are NOT connected to the Burlington Ridge Trails. No, really...
The "big bike" ride I put on last time mostly used legal public roads. I seem to recall that at one point (because the roads were really bumpy) we may have accidently bounced off the public road and we could have landed on a short single-track section but that was mearly a fluke that happened to catch everyone by surprise. No, really...
The big bikes don't do well on those single track trails (that exist only in rumor up there). "Don't do well" in this case means that most of the trails out there will have a few obsticles that a 500 lb bike will find impracticle to get around - and most of those don't have a bail-out option. Notwithstanding, many of those open roads on USFS lands have water-bars and go up and down hills that make them fun on the big bikes (and even sorta fun on the small bikes).
Finally, the art of riding that area is picking the time of year. In the summer the roads get talcum-powdery dusty and if you have a group of more than one or two it will not be fun for those in the back. In the wet season, some of the roads are rather greasy (red clay) and the puddles in the roads often have surprises in them (ruts, roots, or rocks) - and they're deep. Winter covers them in snow. So the best times are those in-between seasons where rain had recently occurred, and then a little bit of dry weather before the ride.
So there's the skinny on this area.