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  1. #1
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    Mills Peak Trail Expansion Plans

    Those of you who have had a chance to ride Mills Peak Trail in Plumas County, over the hill from Downieville know what a treasure this new trail built by the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship is. Rideable uphill, fun downhill, sustainable, and ultra high quality construction. Right now, we're trying to add 6 miles of trail, getting rid of the pesky jeep road section, and adding trail on the South side of the peak to add loop possibilities back to Gold Lake Road. Besides some negotiating with the Forest Service, we have to raise a little over $10,000 so we can start the environmental review (NEPA). Projects as nice as this don't happen often, so click on my sig below and play a part in making history. Meanwhile, I'll be continuing the logout of upper Mills, and starting on the trails above the Gray Eagle Lodge so we can all ride!

    Ronski

    Mills Peak Trail
    Mills Peak Trail Expansion Plans-mills.jpg

  2. #2
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    Just made a substantial donation Ron, this is gonna be really fantastic when it's done! Had already dolled out my trail donations for the year for the Corral Trail and buying tickets for the Demo Flow trail, but this is WORTH it.

    Folks there are several fantastic projects going on right now, spread the wealth!

  3. #3
    fc
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    This may become one of the top 5 trails in the world!

    fc
    IPA will save America

  4. #4
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    Tahoe,
    Wow! Thank you. It was so great to meet you here on MTBR and then ride together the last few years in Tahoe, Mills Peak and beyond. I'm looking forward to some great rides with you this summer.

    Francois,
    Thanks for the kind words. Our aim is to break into the top 1 or 2!

    ronski

  5. #5
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  6. #6
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    Already a SBTS Core Member, donated anyway. Mills Peak is one of my favorite trails anywhere, I'm stoked to get a chance to increase the awesomeness, thanks for your efforts to make this happen!
    "You are by far the most interesting single-serving friend I have ever met."

  7. #7
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    SBTS = by far the best trail building organization in the Sierra.

    Thanks guys, so excited by this.

  8. #8
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    Proud to say Mills Peak Trail received no damage from the winter storms, especially the big rain event early in the season which trashed some historic poorly designed trails. Always a few trees down though. Here's Yours Truly taking care of a fallen Red Fir from last year. Probably be up logging out this high in 2 weeks...
    Mills Peak Trail Expansion Plans-saw.jpg

  9. #9
    rox
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    even with 2 miles of fireroad in the middle this trail is amazing. if you havent been you owe yourself a trip to check it out. when this project to reroute the road is finished it will be one of the top trails anywhere. shut up and take my money

  10. #10
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    Just donated. Mills is an all time favorite of mine.
    I'd like to donate pick and shovel time too, post up work days and I'll try and drag my arse and others up to help.

    -Dan

  11. #11
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    To be able to add the additional singletrack with loop options on the South side of the peak is unbelievable. This trail alone will be substantial in length without ever venturing into Lakes Basin. From a riding standpoint, that equals multi day stay never riding the same trails. Let's get this done.

  12. #12
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    Hold on a second, with all due respect to SBTS, and they are definitely due, This comment though a compliment to SBTS, is a Diss to other groups in the Sierra. What about Forest Trails Alliance, TAMBA, or the Bear Yuba Land Trust, are they far worse than SBTS? This statement to someone who lives in the Sierra's is just not accurate at all, and it makes me wonder why someone would say it, brownie points maybe?
    Quote Originally Posted by memine View Post
    SBTS = by far the best trail building organization in the Sierra.

    Thanks guys, so excited by this.

  13. #13
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    I'm sure that the OP didn't mean to diss Forest Trails Alliance, TAMBA, Bear Yuba Land Trust, or anyone else - everyone is super psyched on all the great folks who work so hard to keep bike access and open up new trails!

    I missed out on a few big rides lately, and I was psyched to get up to snowline somewhere, so I decided to head up and check out Lakes Basin (hoping for a family trip up there in a month too...good excuse to check out the camping, etc). Drove up Saturday late (no traffic!), stayed in the empty Lakes Basin campground, then explored around the Grassy Lake trail early in the morning.

    Grassy Lake:


    One of the cool little meadows by the trail:


    The only snow patch, had to walk maybe 30 feet of snow. It'll be gone in a few days:


    Here's a cool view of the area near Lakes Basin campground from up the hill to the west. Just above here the snow patches got heavy and I turned around:


    Coming back along Grassy Lake trail through some big trees:


    That was a nice warm up...so I headed down the hill and met up with Ronski for some riding! First off, the lower section of Mills Peak trail up to the jeep road. Fun flowy trail, easy to ride up and a blast to ride down!


    Up the pavement for a bit, then down past a few friendly hikers and across Gray Eagle creek (which seems pretty low considering how fast the snow is melting...definitely a very low snow year!):


    Then we headed up Gray Eagle Creek trail where I was way too busy riding rock gardens to even think about grabbing the camera! At Gray Eagle Lodge we headed back to the road for a bit:


    Then down Grassy Lake trail, Long Lake trail (or should it be called the upper section of Gray Eagle creek trail?), up Smith Lake trail, then up the Smith/Jamison Connector to the ridge top above Smith Lake:


    After that, just a big blast downhill (with one slog uphill), all the way into town! Fun times...and I got lucky that it was Ron's 4th day in a row riding...I couldn't keep up as it was!

  14. #14
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    Ronki's original post points to the need for the NEPA - environmental review. This part of any trail project is not sexy, but definitely where it all has to start; no dirt gets turned before this. In most cases, the USFS does not provide funding for these trail EAs anymore, so it us up to volunteer groups to raise the money.

    Donating to this will get help get the whole project underway; it is just as vital as volunteer trailwork, etc. Let's chip in so SBTS can continue building the trails we all love so much!

  15. #15
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    I am in...just gotta get paid first. Curious...think you guys might build some jumps on any of these trails. Dville and thereabouts are some of my favorite places in the world but the only thing missing is some huckables. No worries if that's not on any road map but sure would be sweet. Thanks for the hard work...seems there is a change happening in our little Norcal MTB world. I dig it!
    I'm not sure how this works.

  16. #16
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    Loco: Fun time showing you around! Come back for the rest once the snow melts, which won't be long. We'll try to get out to saw all the logs out as the trails clear higher up in the Basin.

    Squashyo: Thanks for the input. Great idea, though as multi use trails we have to keep the land manager happy and not look like we are having too much fun. Lakes Basin trails are of course techy as you want, so there are certainly fun challenges. Mills is more flowy and smoother than the Lakes Basin side, but is fun both to climb and descend. I bet the new Flow Trail supported by TAMBA soon to be in South Lake Tahoe will be to your liking.

    So hopefully everyone will join TAMBA, FTA, and the other fine organizations that are making things happen up here in the mountains. (and of course help us fund the Mills Peak Trail Expansion!!)

    -ronski

  17. #17
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    I wasn't responding to the OP...I was responding to memine...you see the text that I quoted under my comment? that's what I was responding to. Looks like a fun ride.

  18. #18
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    Ironically, I find the multi-use trails that SBTS to be the most enjoyable to ride as a mountain biker, which is why personally speaking, they are my favorite trail builders in that area by far.

    These high quality multi-use trails are also super fun to hike, which is an activity I do more and more of these days, often with my children and border collie.

    There is some great stuff coming down the pike for sure. Soon, we'll see some action on Bear Yuba Land Trust trail projects, which will open up riding south of Bullards Bar and elsewhere.

    Things are evolving in NorCal for the better. Hope everyone can contribute to the Mills Peak Trail!

  19. #19
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    Donated. Keep up the good work, guys!

    -D

  20. #20
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    Any suggestions for SBTS-built trails that might be open by this weekend? Looking to explore higher elevation (6K+) routes.

  21. #21
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    The higher elevation Lakes Basin trails are still snowed in including most stuff higher than the Lakes Basin Campground. Melinda and I just rode Bear Lakes Loop as well as some lower stuff. Bear Lakes still has too much snow, as does upper Mills, Elwell, Long Lake etc. Meanwhile, great conditions on the mid to lower stuff with recent rain and tacky conditions. Downieville side is epic. I hope to get up to Bear Lakes Loop and beyond with a chainsaw this week to get it ready for ya'll.

    The Mills Expansion will add some lower elevation trail on the North side where it replaces the jeep road. If we had this project done right now we could be riding it as it would be free of snow!!

    We've made good progress on raising funds, but aren't there yet. Click on the link in my Sig if you want to be a part in helping improve this epic trail!!

    -ronski

  22. #22
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    Long hike with a big saw in the Lakes Basin today. Logged out Bear Lakes Loop, Bear to Silver Lake connect, Long Lake Connector, Long Lake Trail, and the Lakes Basin Campground Trail. Bear Lakes Loop and Long Lake Connector still have too much drift snow to ride, but awesome day to hike! Thinks have cooled off so the melt out has slowed down. Should be good to go in a couple weeks, with the higher stuff taking a little longer.

    Can't wait to clear upper Mills soon!

    ronski

  23. #23
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    Outstanding, keep up the good work!

  24. #24
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    Planning a trip for the end of this month. Do you think the conditions will be good from top to bottom? Thanks for all the hard work.

  25. #25
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    VO2: Like your user name. Assuming we don't get a surprise snow storm conditions should be great. It's possible there could still be a few drifts left, depending on how warm the next few weeks are (it's cooled off right now) but chances are you will be ok. No need to worry about rain, the trail holds up very well under rainy conditions. Remember, the trail rides very well uphill, so out and backs as well as loops are possible. Have fun.

  26. #26
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    Great thanks! This will be my first ride on Mills.

    PS: I've been a Core Member since SBTS introduced the program, I REALLY do appreciate all you guys do. We all know it's hard work so THANK YOU!

  27. #27
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    Done! I rode MP trail last summer and loved it. Keep up the great work!

  28. #28
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    Yuba's site, updated today, says that Mills Peak is open - along with loads of other trails such as Pauley, Big Boulder, etc!

    Trails Conditions | Yuba Expeditions

  29. #29
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    Mills is good to go!

    Rode it yesterday (Tuesday) with Willie while filming for a project with the Stewardship. Tiny bit of snow that probably didn't survive today and 3 trees down that need to be portaged, but other than that, Mill's in in perfect condition. Here's some raw footy from the shoot:

  30. #30
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    I'm on a Mendo riding trip so will log those out next week unless one of the other saw guys gets there first. Start the Elwell countdown now!!!!

  31. #31
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    Awesome trail! No trace of snow, trees still there...or maybe not if Ron's out there now!

  32. #32
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    Happy to support efforts like these - many thanks for all the hard work and vision. I look forward to reaping the rewards...

  33. #33
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    Graeagle locals, what's the weather like over there right now? Might head up this weekend.

    Thanks!

  34. #34
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    Got out on Mills with the saw today and cleared 3 trees that were down in the upper 2 miles of trail near the summit. There is one more tree down a little lower below the Gold Lake / Sierra Buttes viewpoint that I didn't get to, and it's a bigun'. At least that only breaks the riding flow once on the entire trail now. Plan to ride it tomorrow, so no saw work.

    VO2, weather is cool (high 50's) with a breeze. Supposed to be in the low 60's by the weekend. Great riding weather if you ask me!

  35. #35
    NedwannaB
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    Kudos to you for the trail clearing. Hope the riders coming along after will do the same.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  36. #36
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    JMac,

    Thanks. These are all good size Red Firs I'm taking out. Chainsaw material. I will be impressed if anyone can get the last one with a handsaw!

    ronski
    Last edited by ronski; 05-22-2013 at 11:36 PM.

  37. #37
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    I have an off topic Mills Peak question. Has anyone ever done the ride from Snag Lake Campground up the back of Mills via fire roads to the summit? I am camping at Snag Lake this weekend and I am going to meet some buddies on Mills on Sunday. My wife is taking the car that day so I can't get down to the normal trailhead. I know people shuttle Mills, but I was just curious if the roads across from Snag lake are pretty straight forward or if it is a spider web back there. I have the SBTS map and it looks ok, just looking for some first hand experience. Thanks!

  38. #38
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    ^^^ It's an easy ride from Snag. From the lake go across the Gold Lake Highway (and slightly north/left from the lake) onto the overgrown 4x4 road. Take it about 400 yards till it runs into Church Meadow Road and take a left, or ride south on the Gold Lake Highway and then take a left on Church Meadow. On Church Meadow, stay left at any splits until the road hits a "T" junction, go left about 300 feet and then right up Mills Peak Road. Follow it to the top. Don't stop until you are up in the Red Firs as the mosquitos will eat you alive along Church Meadows and lower Mills Peak Road (but you'll get a good workout in trying to ride faster up that hill than they can fly...)! It's about 3 miles from camp to the lookout and trailhead.
    Mills Peak Trail Expansion Plans-screen-shot-2013-05-24-9.54.47-am.jpg

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by huntermos View Post
    ^^^ It's an easy ride from Snag. From the lake go across the Gold Lake Highway (and slightly north/left from the lake) onto the overgrown 4x4 road. Take it about 400 yards till it runs into Church Meadow Road and take a left, or ride south on the Gold Lake Highway and then take a left on Church Meadow. On Church Meadow, stay left at any splits until the road hits a "T" junction, go left about 300 feet and then right up Mills Peak Road. Follow it to the top. Don't stop until you are up in the Red Firs as the mosquitos will eat you alive along Church Meadows and lower Mills Peak Road (but you'll get a good workout in trying to ride faster up that hill than they can fly...)! It's about 3 miles from camp to the lookout and trailhead.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Awesome! That's what I wanted to hear, thanks huntermos. And I grew up in Minnesota so I have developed a strong mosquito threshold!

  40. #40
    Zach Attack
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    Hey Ron,

    Awesome work up there. Real excited about the Mills expansion. The only place I crashed was on the dam dirt road playing road warrior with Evo. Replacing that will complete the experience.
    Keep me in mind when you get shovel ready. We might be able to come up with the toys and pound some dirt for a extended weekend. Really appreciate all the love and creativity you put in your trails and the alignment is EPIC.
    SBTS does rule and is an inspiration to all of us at FTA. Keep up the good work.

    z

  41. #41
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    As promised, we got out today and cleared the last downed tree on Mills Peak Trail. SBTS Core Member and MTBR'r Dustin (eco D) joined me for the 2 mile hike in to this fun mess. It was good to have another Certified Sawyer along to help out. Thank you Dustin!! Conditions are great, and we saw a dozen or more riders enjoying the trail. Rep points to the majority who rode up and earned their turns today!

    Before
    Mills Peak Trail Expansion Plans-before.jpg

    Dustin makes a back cut
    Mills Peak Trail Expansion Plans-dustin.jpg

    Ronski gets to have fun too
    Mills Peak Trail Expansion Plans-ronski.jpg

    Ready to ride
    Mills Peak Trail Expansion Plans-after.jpg
    Last edited by ronski; 05-25-2013 at 10:42 PM.

  42. #42
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    Awesome. Pardon the cliché~ phrase.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

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    Super awesome time today.....very glad to help clear that beast out! Now it's time to head back with the bikes!

  44. #44
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    Thanks Dustin for your long time trail work support. Nice work with the big Stihl today too. See you Monday when we ride!

  45. #45
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    Great work out there today guys! Trail is in perfect shape. First time on it and it is epic, even if a lame bee-sting induced crash put me on the deck.

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