I hadn't ridden OTB since an earlier version of it that was condemned years ago. I had heard the new official version was good, but I didn't know how good until I finally got around to hitting it today with a friend.
Here's a map which makes this look shorter than it is. 11 miles according to this, but it's loosely drawn, and I didn't get every switchback so it's probably more like 12-13. And it's worth 2-3 hours depending on your energy level.
So when you get to the top of Western States, here's something better to do than grind straight up the Wall. Drop down and northward instead on the continuation of the W.S. trail which is also the Tevis Cup trail. (mile 2) Don't worry about the altitude drop and the occasional bad trail/road quality. Soon enough you've earned your way to where it turns from fire road into sweet singletrack (mile 3.5). At (4), by the way, you could continue level (back on fire road again) and connect with Forest Road 06 for a ride to Truckee. Instead at (4) you turn right/uphill at a trail sign.
(4) thru (5.5) is ridiculous... some of the best singletrack in not just the Squaw vicinity but the whole Tahoe Truckee region. It's well graded, sometimes swoopy, always clinging to the side of a hill, great views, cool rock formations, excellent shade from northside fir forest. This trail has it all. At (5.5) you hit the paved Fiberboard Freeway for a half-mile downhill to (6) where you get on the Rim Trail westbound, head up over Painted Rock then drop down either the Wall or Missing Link and finish down Western States.
Definitely one of the best rides of its length around here. Difficulty only intermediate, not much technical bike handling on this one (limited to a few tight switchbacks and the occasional rocky spot). The only bummer is the section of rutted fire road with loose surface conditions around (2-3) but the rest is more than worth it.
This is also the perfect meet-up ride when you've got people coming from Tahoe and others from Truckee or Squaw or from down the hill. And when you're done you're not far from food, swimming, etc.
The reason I'm posting more routes lately is we're building up to the release of an improved guidebook section on our site. It will contain both The Backcountry's favorites and user contributions. You'll be able to find routes (skiing, climbing, mtb trails, hikes, etc.) by area, by sport, by people, by difficulty, you name it. No more scanning through the discussion forum to find old info. The forum will still be here too, doing what it does best.
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