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!
Mills Peak Trail
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!
This may become one of the top 5 trails in the world!
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.
Thanks for the kind words. Our aim is to break into the top 1 or 2!
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."
SBTS = by far the best trail building organization in the Sierra.
Thanks guys, so excited by this.
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...
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
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.
Those who know, ride a Mojo AND a Mojo HD.
Originally Posted by benja55
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.
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?
Originally Posted by memine
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.
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!
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!
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!
Peanut butter Tuesday, if you know what I mean!
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!!)
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.
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!
Donated. Keep up the good work, guys!
Any suggestions for SBTS-built trails that might be open by this weekend? Looking to explore higher elevation (6K+) routes.
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!!
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!
Outstanding, keep up the good work!
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.
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.
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