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  1. #1
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    Culvert Trail: Some Thoughts

    With encouragement from my friend Steve Minniear, I recently rode the new Culvert Trail for the first time in about a year. Thought I would share my perspective:

    First, an enormous thank you to the many volunteers and different groups who participated in the project, including State Parks, FATRAC, Auburn Bike Works, FTA, and others. It is no small feat to stage a project like this. CA State Parks is often the most challenging agency when it comes to trail projects.

    The previous incarnation of Culvert was fun, but a mess. Clearly changes were needed to address sustainability and substandard user built trail features. This was why FATRAC sought the original REI grant. I can see that there was a lot of skill and effort used in the trail construction phase.

    Because the new trail design does not appeal to me, I'll likely choose other descents when I ride toward the river and Confluence Trail. I come down to Auburn for a rocky, technical experience, which I can still have via Murderer's and other routes. It is nice to have the options that ASRA provides.

    Again a big thank you to everyone. From my decades of trail advocacy and volunteering, I've learned that it is important to acknowledge contributors, even if the end results are not quite what some might like. I've worked on such projects and always continued because of the respect earned from the land manger. And of course the trail you build will invariably evolve into something different in just a few years time. Culvert has never stayed the same for long; I just hope that future changes are done with land manager's consent.
    Last edited by memine; 04-17-2013 at 02:22 PM.

  2. #2
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    It occurs to me that perhaps I don't know all the alternatives to Culvert.

    If you wanted an alternative to Culvert, what would you ride between the beginning of Fuel Break/Clementine/Connector and the top of Confluence?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by memine View Post

    If you wanted an alternative to Culvert, what would you ride between the beginning of Fuel Break/Clementine/Connector and the top of Confluence?
    It's sad that that question even has to be asked. R.I.P. old Culvert.


    One answer might be to ride out to the road and up into the OHV area.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by memine View Post
    It occurs to me that perhaps I don't know all the alternatives to Culvert.

    If you wanted an alternative to Culvert, what would you ride between the beginning of Fuel Break/Clementine/Connector and the top of Confluence?
    When you're at the green gate at top of Clementine, instead of making a right and heading up the short climb up Fuel Break to Culvert, take that left trail, it's short, and you'll cross the road (twice), then ride down the little embankment, then bang a left and descend Stonewall to Rocky.

    Or climb up Fuel Break as per the usual way to Culvert, but then stay on Fuel Break and ride it all the way to the Foresthill Bridge. Cross the bridge, then descend down via Mossy and Flood.
    Last edited by Tyrone Shoelaces; 04-18-2013 at 11:20 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    When you're at the green gate at top of Clementine, instead of making a right and heading up the short climb up Fuel Break to Culvert, take that left trail, it's short, and you'll cross the road (twice), then ride down the little embankment, then bang a left and descend Stonewall to Rocky.

    Or climb up Fuel Break as per the usual way to Culvert, but then stay on Fuel Break and ride it all the way to the Foresthill Bridge. Cross the bridge, then descend down via Mossy and Flood.
    ^^^This. Middle trail is steep, heavily rutted, fast but short. Mossy and Flood for more miles.

  6. #6
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    Are there any Culvert bypasses from FHDL or just the connections mentioned here?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chapped (o) Hole View Post
    ^^^This. Middle trail is steep, heavily rutted, fast but short.
    BTW, the official name of the trail everyone calls the Middle Trail is Shortcut 2. That's what's on the Auburn SRA brochure map and what's on the new sign that just went up where it crosses Old Foresthill Road and meets up with Stonewall.

    http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/502/fi...yout062210.pdf

    I've been calling it the Middle Trail for years.

  8. #8
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    I can't believe the official brochure for ASRA includes a photo of a mt. biker... not wearing a helmet

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by memine View Post
    Are there any Culvert bypasses from FHDL or just the connections mentioned here?
    You can stay in Mammoth Bar and take Ranch and Stonewall
    All out of S**** and down to my last F***
    I think I strained a pucker muscle

  10. #10
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    This vid starts out on "Shortcut 2" trail before morphing over to old Culvert. Sunday Morning - YouTube
    As much as I liked the "old Culvert" I dont see a better option than the "new Culvert". I wouldn't look for a reason to bypass it.....
    Last edited by Team Rocky; 04-19-2013 at 08:14 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by memine View Post
    With encouragement from my friend Steve Minniear, I recently rode the new Culvert Trail for the first time in about a year. Thought I would share my perspective:

    First, an enormous thank you to the many volunteers and different groups who participated in the project, including State Parks, FATRAC, Auburn Bike Works, FTA, and others. It is no small feat to stage a project like this. CA State Parks is often the most challenging agency when it comes to trail projects.

    The previous incarnation of Culvert was fun, but a mess. Clearly changes were needed to address sustainability and substandard user built trail features. This was why FATRAC sought the original REI grant. I can see that there was a lot of skill and effort used in the trail construction phase.

    Because the new trail design does not appeal to me, I'll likely choose other descents when I ride toward the river and Confluence Trail. I come down to Auburn for a rocky, technical experience, which I can still have via Murderer's and other routes. It is nice to have the options that ASRA provides.

    Again a big thank you to everyone. From my decades of trail advocacy and volunteering, I've learned that it is important to acknowledge contributors, even if the end results are not quite what some might like. I've worked on such projects and always continued because of the respect earned from the land manger. And of course the trail you build will invariably evolve into something different in just a few years time. Culvert has never stayed the same for long; I just hope that future changes are done with land manager's consent.
    I feel pretty much the same...not sure what I will do when I ride there. If the 'middle' trail is easy to get to and fun to ride I might try it out.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    I can't believe the official brochure for ASRA includes a photo of a mt. biker... not wearing a helmet
    Oh my. That's a screw-up.

    The Horsie people AND the kayaker are all wearing helmets.

  13. #13
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    Culvert Trail: Some Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by cohenfive View Post
    I feel pretty much the same...not sure what I will do when I ride there. If the 'middle' trail is easy to get to and fun to ride I might try it out.
    That middle trail is short, steep and rutted out. It seems like there is a perpetual stream of water running down one section. After the first road crossing (Foresthill Rd), there is a narrow bridge with a steep turn going into it. People get hurt here. State Parks is going to get tired of extracting broken mtn bikers out of this location.
    I never realized it was an 'official' trail until this thread. Considering the poor condition of the trail and its official trail status, I would look for some work to be done on it, especially now that it is going to see a lot more traffic.


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  14. #14
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    Much as I liked the old Culvert Trail, I still enjoy the new Culvert Trail and wouldn't personally look for alternatives to the new trail. My usual loop involves both Shortcut 2 (up) and Culvert (down). They're both good trails, IMO.

  15. #15
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    There is a chance that I'll ride the new Culvert occasionally if I take my cross bike to Auburn or at the end of a super long ride on my HT singlespeed when I am pretty beat. Otherwise, it is the rocky stuff for me.

  16. #16
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    Culvert Trail: Some Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by sactojesse View Post
    Much as I liked the old Culvert Trail, I still enjoy the new Culvert Trail and wouldn't personally look for alternatives to the new trail. My usual loop involves both Shortcut 2 (up) and Culvert (down). They're both good trails, IMO.
    I like going up shortcut also and
    I like ending on a downhill so I usually park at the confluence. My route lately has been up stagecoach>upper flood>mossy rock>over the bridge>down confluence>up shortcut>connector/fhdl>culvert/confluence back to the rig.
    All out of S**** and down to my last F***
    I think I strained a pucker muscle

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzaro View Post
    I like going up shortcut also and
    I like ending on a downhill so I usually park at the confluence. My route lately has been up stagecoach>upper flood>mossy rock>over the bridge>down confluence>up shortcut>connector/fhdl>culvert/confluence back to the rig.
    This is close to the route I've been doing but how do you connect this - down confluence>up shortcut

  18. #18
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    Culvert Trail: Some Thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbnutty View Post
    This is close to the route I've been doing but how do you connect this - down confluence>up shortcut
    Sorry, I meant down culvert. Then hang a left on stonewall through mammoth bar and go up shortcut from there.
    All out of S**** and down to my last F***
    I think I strained a pucker muscle

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brewtality View Post
    That middle trail is short, steep and rutted out. It seems like there is a perpetual stream of water running down one section. After the first road crossing (Foresthill Rd), there is a narrow bridge with a steep turn going into it. People get hurt here. State Parks is going to get tired of extracting broken mtn bikers out of this location.
    I never realized it was an 'official' trail until this thread. Considering the poor condition of the trail and its official trail status, I would look for some work to be done on it, especially now that it is going to see a lot more traffic.


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    I think I've ridden middle trail several times on other loops, towards the beginning of those rides. I usually make it over the ruts but have skidded off the trail at the turn to go over the plank bridge on more than one occasion. Thankfully never been hurt and i don't have much of an ego to get bruised, but that little section is no picnic...and it has gotten worse through the years through erosion. Maybe I should stick to the new culvert...for me it is fun (what trail on a bike is not fun?), although not really my style.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzaro View Post
    I like going up shortcut also and
    I like ending on a downhill so I usually park at the confluence. My route lately has been up stagecoach>upper flood>mossy rock>over the bridge>down confluence>up shortcut>connector/fhdl>culvert/confluence back to the rig.
    Nice loop! I love Mossy Rock, but rarely ride it.

    I park at Russell Road for my typical 14-mile, 2,300 ft elevation gain/loss loop: down Manzanita, up Stagecoach, down Flood, down Stagecoach, up Confluence, up Stonewall, up Shortcut 2/Middle, up Fuel Break, down Culvert, down Confluence, up Stagecoach, up Manzanita.

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