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Old 11-17-2011, 10:10 PM   #1
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Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Rancho Murieta, CA
Oddometer: 31
Sierra Foothills, Salt Springs Reservoir

First time post and RR, hope this works!

Avejoe and I decided we needed to get in a ride before the weather turns to crap, the dirt roads to muck and before the snow covers everything up.
We headed east from Sacramento out Hwy 16, took off at Forest Home and did the back roads up to Sutter Creek then out to Volcano. At Volcano we took the Volcano-Pioneer Rd. to Hwy 88 and stopped for a map check. We headed east on 88 looking for the Pioneer Elementary School and Black Prince Rd. Both seemed elusive but we did spot Tiger Creek Rd. which was our back up road, and turned off to the south on it. Tiger Creek Rd. dives down into the Mokelumne River valley, steep, fairly narrow but paved, to the Tiger Creek after bay, a P.G.&E. power plant. After checking it out, we continued on Tiger Creek Rd, sort of easterly. At a bridge over the creek above the after bay the road turned to dirt and forked, we took a left that dead ended at a dam and start of a flume system. Nice looking little lake behind the dam. Wonder if there are any fish in it?

Start of the Flume and dam above afterbay at Tiger Creek.

Avejoe below the flume

From there we backtracked and continued on the other fork which was Tiger Creek Rd. Great road traversing around the mountains and generally following a flume, a maintained dirt road that even had a sign to watch for snow removal equipment next 26 miles. Eventually we came to Panther Creek Rd. which my brother and I had seen the other day from Hwy 88 and then Ellis Rd. which comes out on Hwy 88 at the Lumberyard campground close to Bear River Reservoir. Once we got to Ellis Rd, the road to Salt Springs was paved, though a bit rough and with pot holes. The road goes generally along the flume route then down to the river. There are very nice forest service campgrounds right on the Mokelumne River and a good bridge over the river - just wondering if we could make it to Hwy 4 and the cabin from there. Continuing east along the river the road ends after a couple of switchbacks up to the top of the dam for Salt Springs Reservoir. While riding up the last bit Avejoe spotted a bald eagle and when we stopped at the dam we both watched it fly overhead then off somewhere. Very cool!

Tiger Creek Road.

Sumbike at Salt Springs Reservoir dam

After checking out the lake we headed back the way we had come to Ellis Rd. and took it back up to Hwy 88. Salt Springs Reservoir is at 3847 feet and we came out on Hwy 88 above 6,000 feet. The only snow we encountered was within the last 100 yards of Hwy 88. We weenied along with an outrigger out across the snow and ice patch to the highway. Motoring down Hwy 88 to Shake Ridge Rd. then to Fiddletown Rd. to Plymouth and Old Sacramento Rd. to Hwy 16 and home. Definitely one worth repeating!
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Old 11-18-2011, 08:08 AM   #2
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Location: Sand Hollow, Idaho
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Flume still active I take it? I had to study the picture for a while before the light came on and I got it. Any pictures of the small lake? Looked like a fairly peaceful ride. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-18-2011, 10:34 AM   #3
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Ah, good memories. I did some repair work on that dam in 2001. Just over that rise in the last pic, the flat area on the left hand side we would land a helicopter in there (believe it or not). It was our crane when needed and we would launch and recover an aluminum skiff with it. We either rode in on the helicopter or took the work trucks to the dam. Wish I'd had my bike up there at the time. Work always seems to get in the way of a good time.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-18-2011, 03:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by TheAdmiral View Post
Flume still active I take it? I had to study the picture for a while before the light came on and I got it. Any pictures of the small lake? Looked like a fairly peaceful ride. Thanks for sharing.
The flume is quite active, it was very full, within about a foot of the top lip. Sorry, didn't take any pics of the lake or the Mokelumne River - next time!
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:03 PM   #5
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Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Sierra Nevada
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De-lurking because I tripped when I saw you riding your red '09 KLR on Salt Springs road. I rode my red '09 KLR up salt springs road this fall. The road you describe going over the bridge forks, and the map shows the right fork switchbacking up the opposite canyon wall and leading onto forest roads that can be followed up to Winton Road and on to hwy 4. It looks like wheelers got onto it when it was wet though, it got pretty bad and I turned around before it started climbing in earnest.

A better bet is to start out at West Point and head uphill on Winton Road, which is paved for about ten miles before turning to forest road 7N09 which comes out at a Caltrans station just uphill from the scenic turnout on hwy 4. I like the National Geographic maps, best ones for this area are # 807 & 808.

Nice pics. I'm going to have to start taking my camera along on more rides.
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