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  1. #1
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    Memorial Day Weekend Mountain Biking Road Trip Help

    Me and a friend just decided to start planning a road trip for memorial day weekend.

    Our favorite trails are Demo - Braille and Sawpit and some trails in SC. We also like Skeggs and Waterdog. We don't mind climbing and like technical riding and non technical too. We're looking for something within 8 hours drive. We'll be taking my Tacoma with camper shell on it for sleeping in so we don't need a "campground" but forest lands will do fine.

    So far I've thought of Ashland OR and Utah being a bit on the far ends. What else is there? I'm thinking a lot of the places in CA like Downieville or the Canelle Plunge will still be under snow.
    I like to ride bikes.

  2. #2
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    Maybe Paradise Royale (bonus skills park) and/or Prairie Creek State Park (guaranteed to see elk)?

    An 8-hour drive would also get you to Oakridge, OR, where MBO happens--great base camp for some of Oregon's best trails.

    VV Good call on the Plunge! And Just Outstanding is another excellent local trail.
    Last edited by dirtvert; 04-30-2013 at 09:25 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Plunge

    Cannell Plunge is usually open that weekend. The past few years at that time of year I've been doing two rides on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon: Rainbow Rim and Arizona Trail.


  4. #4
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    I'm leaning heavily toward Canelle Plunge and other trails in that area. The plunge has been on my list for about 3 years now. There's a chance I might be moving to Seattle in the fall so I'd like to check that one off before it's too late.
    On the bright side Whistler is about 4 hours from Seattle.
    I like to ride bikes.

  5. #5
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    Cannell Plunge

    Done the Plunge a dozen times and it is great. However, be advised that is not just a shuttled downhill. There are many miles of tough singletrack at nearly 10,000 ft. to get through until you reach the downhill. MtbBill has a great video from 2006 you should download and view. But it doesn't show all the climbing.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by otis24 View Post
    Me and a friend just decided to start planning a road trip for memorial day weekend.

    So far I've thought of Ashland OR and Utah being a bit on the far ends. What else is there? I'm thinking a lot of the places in CA like Downieville or the Canelle Plunge will still be under snow.
    It's been an incredibly crappy snow year. Memorial Day weekend might actually be prime MTB time for a change. Snow gone, but not completely dusty.

    Even now, the snow is melting fast.

    NOHRSC Interactive Snow Information

    I've found those maps to be pretty accurate.

    Personally, I'd go exploring in Medecino County if I had the weekend free. I've never been there, but it sounds really interesting.

  7. #7
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    I was just up in the Palisades, there's not much snow until you hit about 11K Feet. Granted that's no where near the plunge, but it says something about the snow this year.

    Thanks Wherewolf, I've seen Mt Bike Bill's video and the elevation profile says it all. I'm assuming it's going to be an all day excursion and something I need to "train" for, study the route on a map, google maps and google earth. I've been trying to knock off CA 14ers and have been training for that. I'm well versed in altitude and route finding.
    With that said any advise is greatly appreciated.
    I like to ride bikes.

  8. #8
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    A guy on the trail at Demo last night mentioned Mammoth Mountain. What do you guys think of Mammoth. There are supposed to be some pretty good Jeep trails nearby that I can take my Tacoma on as well while we aren't riding.
    I like to ride bikes.

  9. #9
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    Mammoth

    Higher elevation trails at Mammoth will definitely not be open. The Cannell Plunge is a great ride and it should be open by then. But be sure to book your shuttle here ASAP.

  10. #10
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    Just called Mammoth, they'll be open, but only two trails...Canell Plunge it is. Judging by the snow I saw in the Palisades I bet the higher trails will be open sooner than normal.
    I like to ride bikes.

  11. #11
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    From what I've read it sounds like there are some other really nice trails in the Kernville area. Personally, I've been leaning toward the plunge.
    I like to ride bikes.

  12. #12
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    Search for "Just Outstanding" in the Kernville area. Heard it is really good but haven't ridden it.

  13. #13
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    Looks like you've made up your mind but you could hit up SLO and save yourself a lot of driving although I hear Kernville area is great as well.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    Looks like you've made up your mind but you could hit up SLO and save yourself a lot of driving although I hear Kernville area is great as well.
    SLO is another place I need to hit up. I do feel like I need to take advantage of the three day weekend.
    I like to ride bikes.

  15. #15
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    Just Outstanding is a great trail, I've ridden it a couple times this year and conditions have been amazing. The Plunge is one of my favorite rides but as of this past weekend the access road was still closed. Mammoth is another great option and they will be partially open for Memorial weekend but the more aggressive(fun) trails won't open up for a couple weeks. I'd also like to second booking your shuttle with Kern River Rafting | White Water Rafting Tours| Kern River Valley in Southern California they'll also be able to tell you if the road is open.

    **I just called and the road is now open and they are taking reservations for shuttles. I know what I'm doing this weekend!

  16. #16
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    As for another place with absolutely epic rides, I just got back from Fruita, CO and can't wait to head back in that direction. Some of the best trails I've ever ridden!

  17. #17
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    Yeah, Fruita is on the list too. When I moved to CA I spent a month driving around Utah and Colorado. I pulled a hamstring so I couldn't ride much. I have a lot of riding to make up for in that area.
    I figure this summer I'll have Memorial Day weekend and one weekend to go to Downieville. I'm getting my Divemaster certification this summer, starting July 1st.
    I think that's going to occupy most weekends. My instructor is charging me half price with the understanding that I work for him for 10 days after I get my DM. That'll take up whatever is left of the summer.
    I like to ride bikes.

  18. #18
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    I didn't make it to the Plunge this weekend but did get a chance to try the Portuguese Pass trail in Kernville. I think it ended up being around 13 miles round trip with about 2600' of cumulative ascent. If you don't mind the climbing I highly recommend this trail as it is one of the most scenic rides I've ever been on. On another note, I followed up this ride with Just Outstanding which is always a good trail but is getting very sandy and dusty due to all of the MX traffic.

  19. #19
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    We might have some time for both those trails. We frequently do rides with climbs of 4,000 feet, well not recently, which is becoming a concern. We might ride on Saturday, do a short ride Sunday and take my Tacoma up Sherman Pass Road (I think that's it). It's 4wd jeep trail.
    I've been doing a lot of scuba diving lately and not enough riding.
    I like to ride bikes.

  20. #20
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    Sherman Pass road is paved all the way through to Kennedy Meadows, but there are jeep roads off of it (and some motorcycle trails too).

    Just in case you change plans, there's basically no snow left at Downieville (maybe 3 or 4 short patches of snow on Sunrise which will be gone in a couple days), way less snow now than last year in early June (and that was a light snow season). Not much water in the little side creeks either. Super low snow year there.

  21. #21
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    I'm making my first trip up to Downieville in 10 days! I've heard that trail conditions are amazing up there.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by locoyokel View Post
    Sherman Pass road is paved all the way through to Kennedy Meadows, but there are jeep roads off of it (and some motorcycle trails too).

    Just in case you change plans, there's basically no snow left at Downieville (maybe 3 or 4 short patches of snow on Sunrise which will be gone in a couple days), way less snow now than last year in early June (and that was a light snow season). Not much water in the little side creeks either. Super low snow year there.
    This one?

    Welcome to the Gear Grinders Website!

    Downieville is much closer and better for a normal 2 day weekend.
    I like to ride bikes.

  23. #23
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    Cool - hard core jeep road, huh? Have fun and take some pics of the Plunge!

  24. #24
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    Me and my friend had a really good time in Kernville this weekend. We left the bay area at 3:30 and arrived at 10:30. We found a spot just north of town to camp in the back of my truck for the night. We got up at 6:20 to get some breakfast at Cheryl's across the street from Mountain & River Adventures. We were dropped off at the trail head at about 10:00 and were riding by 10:30.

    The trails are super fun. They're a bit more sandy and loose than what I'm used to but I dialed it in pretty quickly. The route finding was super easy. Mountain & River gave us a map with some useful text on the back and we brought a topo and a gps that we never turned on. Between those you'd have to try to get lost there. The climbing while taxing from elevation is by no means hard. The downhills are epic and the plunge feels like it's never going to end. With that said I would not bring a beginner there.

    After the ride we had lunch at a Taqueria in town, grabbed some beers and groceries and headed to find a campsite. I've been mountain biking since 1996, the plunge was super fun, but off road driving has a lot of newness to me so it sticks out in my mind. It also took considerably more concentration on my part to clear the whole trial. We drove to the Sherman Pass 4X4 trail. It's rated difficult and it really is. I had to use my rear diff locker several times. There are a few sections where the road goes to about 40 degrees (probably less, I may be exaggerating, but it's real steep), has loose sand with baby heads mixed in and then theres a bunch 2 foot tall boulders you have to drive up. All on a road that feels like it's hanging off the mountain. After taking 3 hours to drive 4 miles we made it to a sweet campsite. We drank some beers and watched the stars and went to bed in the back of my truck.

    In the morning we took about 2 hours to drive out and I dropped my friend off at the Canelle Trail head so he could take another run down the Canelle Plunge. I don't quite have the fitness to do two days in a row like that so I found another couple 4X4 trails to take my Tacoma on. I met up with him at the trail head 3 hours later and we headed back to the bay area.

    Crazy fun weekend. I'm looking forward to going back there again. It's a long drive so I might wait till next year. The rest of the summer is full and I'd like to go to Downieville at least once this year.
    I like to ride bikes.

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