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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:51 pm 
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So everyone knows (first hand) or has heard that winter in the Sierra lasted about 8 MONTHS this time around, and a lot of people have called us to ask if anything at all is melted out yet. Reasonable question to ask, but the answer is HECK YEAH and more is opening up fast.

I'm gonna let someone else answer for Truckee and for the west side of the Tahoe City region. My local close stuff is Antone Meadows, Burton Creek State Park, North Tahoe High School, Tahoe City X-C, all the trails up behind Old County Road, and from there out to Brockway summit and then back to Mt. Watson and to Tahoe City again. I try to keep an eye on that zone and can report on conditions updates as it all melts out.

Right now there's still snow in the shade in the Antone Meadows/Burton Creek area but you can get around. If you avoid the shadiest trails and are willing to cross a few 10 foot long and 1-3 foot deep snowbanks you can do most of the loops out there. A mile to the east of there, north of North Tahoe High School, everything is open in the flats, and this is new in just the past ten days or so. In this area alone you can get a good 5-10 mile ride in without repeating the same path. Next to the east, there are three or four different loops north of Old County road that are pretty much fully open -- just with some water crossings. Generally you can ride every one of the water crossings, they're only pedal deep so you just go slow to minimize erosion/ruts.

Continuing out and up from there... right now you can ride the entire dirt/gravel Old County Road all the way to Brockway Summit. Which means you can get to the junctions of section roads 49 and 95(?) which both lead to several good singletracks that don't really have names, just go and find them and you'll be glad you looked. Most of these are snow-free or only have a small berm every few minutes. Some are still melting out but as long as they're south facing will be clear by June 30th for sure.

Up from there... you can just about ride the Fibreboard Freeway from Brockway to Watson Lake. I haven't seen the section from there to above Tahoe City, can't comment. Verbal report from a caller says the "jumps trail" connecting Antone Meadows to Fibreboard is almost ready... if you know the west end of it just below the jumps/Fibreboard junction where the singletrack is on an east-facing hill, that section is still very snowy for like 200 yards, but that's little enough to still be worth going. That will probably be darned near clear by the end of June.

The high-up classics like the Rim Trail up past Painted Rock and across the south face of Watson are too far out to make a good prediction on yet. I'll start trying around July 4th, probably have the south facing parts around then but likely won't get the north exposures and shadiest parts until mid-July. Likewise we're just not going to be riding close to Watson Lake any time soon, probably mid July before it's in normal summer shape. Still worth trying around the 1st for the adventurous and those who don't mind some hike-a-bike.

The ride I just had this evening opened my eyes to how much there is to ride in the triangle bounded by Old County road on the south, the Rim Trail (still too snowy) on the north, and Elevator Shaft on the west. Out in that triangle is where Road 49 comes down (good for downhill only) but there's a couple of things that tie into it that make that whole zone worth an adventure ride. I'll definitely be heading back up there more. I used to think there was just nothing going on around there until the Rim Trail became rideable past Watson, and I was wrong!

Maybe I'll have to do a slow ride next time with camera and share some views. There's nothing secret or illegal where I'm talking about, just trails that are too hard to map and don't have names, which is fine, so I'll just encourage you to explore.

Anyway, bottom line, if you were wondering whether to bring your bike when you come up for a North Shore vacation soon, YES you can ride anywhere from five to twenty miles easily right now without major snow problems. If you don't know where to start, try parking at the North Tahoe X/C area, or even just at the 7-11 on hwy 28 on top of Dollar Hill. Ride north and try various west or east branches of things until you find your way into the system. You will ride for hours if you have a good eye for less obvious junctions. You can't get lost, any time you want to un-lose yourself just start taking all forks toward the Lake.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:15 pm 
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I went and scoped out some more snowmelt frontiers today. Scratch what I said about not being able to ride the trails high across the south face of Mt. Watson. The level(ish) one goes all the way through, it's below snow line now. Of course you can't get all that far on the branch up over the hill from there to Watson Lake. But you can certainly close the loop from Fibreboard west of Mt. Watson, across the south side of Mt. Watson, to either Elevator Shaft or several other ways down.

I checked the Rim Trail again where it crosses the dirt/gravel extension of Old County road, both east and westbound. The section between Old County and Brockway is almost melted out but the Old County end of it needs a lot of water diversion work -- don't ride there yet unless you go out to install some water bars, or you'd be helping the dirt wash away to form a rocky rut. It is basically a creek right now. Rim Trail westbound and uphill from Old County Rd is probably only a week away from melting out to somewhere up in the upper meadows, but there are some big downed trees and logs and you can't ride continuously at all until some gardening gets done.

Took some photos this time and will post 'em later.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:09 pm 
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Woohoo, Jumps Trail is clear so you can get up out of Antone Meadows to the Fibreboard Freeway. I have not yet checked out the other trails that connect those two points. At least one of them is probably still too north-aspect / shaded to be dry yet. Also going all the way around Antone Meadows still runs you into some snow but it's going fast.

Got a new favorite loop including some brand new legal/official singletrack that is really beautiful. Photos incoming soon-ish.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:08 am 
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Thanks for the update! I am riding down in the auburn and coast range areas and obviously all the trails are in good shape, though getting a little warm for my taste.
Just wondering if you are planning on posting maps and descriptions for mtn bike rides, like you have done for the tahoe ski tours? If not, can you direct me to some web resources to get plugged into the tahoe scene. Or alternatively, maybe we could start a thread for favorite tahoe area ride?

thanks!

Mike


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:58 am 
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Man, if I had infinite time I would already post a bunch of maps. We're definitely planning to fill out our mountain bike route guides as much as possible, and include user-submitted ones. That's a major focus of our upcoming forum upgrade. I've been working too hard on that to stop and do more posts and maps etc., but the time will come.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:18 am 
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Update for July 9th 2011:

Basically everything on Tahoe City's main backwoods is open and rideable -- I'm talking about everything east of the Truckee River and north of Lake Tahoe and south of Truckee.

The remaining exceptions bearing snow are just a few fully north and northeast-facing hills. The Tahoe Rim Trail is still well socked in on the two main north-facing parts in the Painted Rock area. Don't let it stop you, though. You'll get wet feet and spend ten minutes off the bike, but that's nothing in an hour ride or a three hour ride (for example). Same for the Watson Lake area. You can ride the Rim Trail / Watson Trail right past the lake except for a couple of minutes of snowy hike-and-bike on either side of it.

Tahoe Rim Trail is now snow-free from Brockway to Watson except for just a couple of small patches right near the Fibreboard Freeway connection and from there to the lake.

I got fresh tracks (at least since the rain) yesterday on the little connector from there to Road 06 then headed over to hit the Bob Watson, Cena Lar and Lorax trails in a progression down Sawtooth Ridge. Bob Watson was nice while it lasted, it's not singletrack anymore, it's now three to five feet wide thanks to not-skilled-enough dirt bike riders. It needs a total rebuild/reroute. Cena Lar is still good but starting to get blown out in similar fashion, at least it's protected by some obstacles. Lorax is in excellent shape, couple of logs need work. I added a stack to get over one newly fallen one.

NORTHSTAR WARNING: -- logging -- if you come over the ridge from Tahoe City right now, don't expect to use Northstar's fire roads to get back up and over. They have all of their backside roads closed off for timber harvest. There's a sign at the low end of the Schaeffer Camp singletrack that says closed for forestry ops, do not enter. You can ride the trail and it's in great shape, you just can't exit to fire road at the top by the backside ski lift. You just have to turn around and ride back down that excellent trail.

I found myself inbounds at Northstar and ended up having to ride their one non-closed road lightly uphill and clockwise around the mountain all the way out to midmountain lodge and continue out to their reservoir and over the saddle to Old County road. It was either that or backtrack and ride 06 all the way back to Watson (forget that!!). Fortunately I was able to obtain two ounces of potato chips and a soda for five bucks as bonk protection. Circumnavigating Mt. Pluto (accidentally) for the win.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:54 pm 
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YEEHAW! Painted Rock is completely open and rideable. That makes this the last early-summer trails report for the Tahoe City area and you can assume everything in the Tahoe City - Truckee - Brockway triangle is open and rideable (logs notwithstanding).

I just had the greatest sunset + moonrise ride up there, had Painted Rock to myself. Always seems like there should be a crowd up there since it's one of the best sunset spots anywhere on the North Shore. The sun goes down over Granite Chief and the rest of the Sierra crest, while you can also spin 180° and see out across Tahoe. Of course then you have to ride down in twilight but it's worth it.

This area is in best-ever condition right now -- next to zero mud, and nothing is churned up yet. All the obstacles are easier with no ruts or dust/gravel holes yet. Now if we can just keep getting one rainstorm per week...


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