Pony Express - Echo Summit to Silver Fork
So Saturday afternoon I got a text from Bullhorn asking if I wanted to do a cat shuttle which left me scratching my head cause I was not so sure how fun shuttling cats would be and where would we take em??
Luckily he meant a car shuttle and we met in the AM in Silverfork, left a car and shuttled up to Echo summit.
We bypassed the section of the Pony express that drops down to Strawberry (Babyhead hell) before Lovers Leap and opted to head up to the top of the Leap for the super fun downhill from there.
I was really surprised on how good of shape the trail was from Strawberry down to Kyburz, after Kyburz there was probably 10 or so trees down which was a bit of a pain but not to bad. It's kind of amazing how much trail there is between Kyburz and Silverfork, by car it seems to take like 1 minute, by bike we were starting to think we missed our exit back to town and were headed to Whitehall!
About 24 miles, 6000 feet of descending and 2600 feet of climbing later we found our way back to the car, it was killer.
Only negative to the ride is after Strawberry the trail runs somewhat close to 50, so you usually have the sound of traffic in the background.
Next time I'll start some where in Tahoe to extend it out, I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.
More pics, GPS track, and stats here
Pony Express - Echo Summit to Silver Fork - MTBGuru: mashing up GPS data, photos and maps to share mountain biking, road bike, hiking and other outdoor experiences
Last edited by TahoeBC; 05-29-2012 at 10:42 PM.
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Another great ride post!
Awesome photos. Love the Strawberry area.
Thanks guy's, no need to be Jealous, just get out there and ride it yourself!
Is he looking for a lost wallet or something after riding the log across the falls?
Wait, and you probably did this ride after skiing the peak in photo #6?
Looks like another awesome ride&adventure, kudos (and envy)!
Sebt frm my iPhne usig Tapaak
Thats look like too much fun! Looks like you went through Sierra At Tahoe resort also
Good to see the outlawed mc trails are still in good condition and they didnt road rip them. Bikes are next on Karen Schambachs list fyi..
Following TBC's and Bullhorn's lead (and those on here that made us aware of this trail), a few of us checked this out over the weekend. It beyond exceeded my expectations and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a new adventure. It had a lot more punchy climbs than I thought there would be, and the 23 miles kinda felt like 33 when we were done. So if you don't mind some route finding, some H-A-B, some overgrowth here and there, and some fallen trees, you'll probably enjoy this ride too
TahoeBC's pix pretty much tell the story, but I can't help myself by posting some too.
We had no snow, but my creaky old bike started with a salt bath at Echo Summit:
Zon muscling up and out of Huckleberry Cyn:
A short H-A-B climb near the top of Lover's Leap (Hwy 50 zig zag by Horsetail Falls in the background):
Top o' Lovers Leap:
Our singlespeeder exiting the western slope of the Lover's Leap trail:
You only get this close to Hwy 50 a few times... I was pleasantly surprised that the trail did leave 50 behind for plenty of the route:
Zon and Jack Slade laying down some artistic tracks:
Pretty impressive work!:
A little off trail exploring found this nice slab:
The trail, for the most part, is fairly well marked. We only looked around a few times for signage:
Just fun trail:
Thanks for the motivation TBC... it was great!
A nice way to finish the day while waiting for the shuttle vehicle to return:
Last edited by Empty_Beer; 06-03-2013 at 11:32 PM.
Reason: fixed pix
That looks like so much fun!!
Its all Shits and Giggles until somebody Giggles and Shits
Right on Jeff, glad you liked it, and a big thanks to Tahoetic who really helped open my eye's to this very under utilized area Some more reading for those interested in the area.
Pony Express Strawberry to Kyburz
Last edited by TahoeBC; 06-12-2012 at 01:02 PM.
There is a lot less water there than last weekend. You should have rode across the log !!
Originally Posted by Empty_Beer
So where we dumped out onto Weber Mill Rd. above Silverfork, does the XP trail continue West on just fire roads?
Has anyone explored the flume west of Silverfork/south of 50, heading west toward Fish Pond or Sly Park?
Just looking at the GPS track I found on Google earth, looking fairly close it looked like the XP was all fireroad from there.
Pony Express Trail - Part2 - MTBGuru: mashing up GPS data, photos and maps to share mountain biking, road bike, hiking and other outdoor experiences
I made a wrong turn between Kybruz & Silverfork, next time I'll probably just exit on that wrong turn as you still get to ride the cool stuff past Kyburz around Sugarloaf, but you can skip that last steep climb with all the downed trees, see arrow on the google earth image of my GPS track.
On Saturday me and my wife and two friends re-traced the Echo Summit to Silverfork route that everyone else has done here. I've been living in Folsom for the past 12 years or so and holy moly I can't believe it has taken me this long to check this trail/route out. It's way sweet! Totally exceeded my expectations.
We also the climb up and over Lovers Leap, and dang the DH off the backside is suuuper fun! For some reason we wasted a bunch of time down on Hwy 50 in Strawberry trying to find where the trail started on the other side, but it turns out we just rode by the one obvious trail marker that you can see from the road. Duh. For the most part though, the trail is REALLY well signed. I was quite surprised how many 'XP' markers were on the trees and how many PnyXprss stakes we saw in the ground. Also surprised to see all the cool rockwork on the trails and all the wooden bridges too.
The section from Echo to the Leap was awesome. Just a bit sandy, but that's to be expected. A little bit of hike a bike to get the top of the Leap. The descent from the Leap is awesome. My least favorite section was probably from Strawberry to Wright's Lake Road where it just seemed to be a bit fire-roady. But then after crossing Wright's Lake Road, it got much better, true singletrack and very rollercoast-y at times with short steep punchers and descents off the back. And then it really got good again from Kyburz'ish to Silverfork.
There were only about 5 downed trees from Kyburz to Silverfork and we were able to move 2 of them out of the way.
Anyway, again, I'm stoked to finally have "discovered" this trail after all these years. Basically been in my backyard the entire time. Go out and ride it! It needs more tracks!
By the way...once you get to Silverfork (Weber Mill Rd I think?), does anyone know if it keeps on going? And if so what is it like? I am also wondering if this could be done as an out-and-back but holy crap that would be a FULL day adventure.
Strava route. Approx 3.5 hr ride time, and approx 5.5 hr total time. I'm guessing could knock off at LEAST an hour know that I know the route:
Mountain Bike Ride Profile | Pony Express Trail (Echo to Silverfork....lots of routefinding!) near | Times and Records | Strava
Two pics. Both from the top of the Leap
I felt the same way Ron, after we did it this spring, how many years have I been driving past this trail!!!
Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces
Turns into fire road after Silverfork, But basically you can add unlimited single track to the front end of the ride. I've been starting from Luther pass or Big Meadows & hitting up Scotts Lake and/or xmas valley first before riding up Hawley to the Pony express. Also doing a side trip over Sierrra at Tahoe to hit the lower portions of Bryant meadows & Sayles Canyon is a worthy extension
Hard to make out the face in your photo, but is that Matt riding with you?
Originally Posted by TahoeBC
Where do you park top and bottom for this ride?
At the top we parked in the SnoPark at Echo Summit.
Originally Posted by mestapho
Bottom we parked at the gas station in Silverfork.
If you zoom in all the way on my map on my Strava link you can see exactly where we parked / started / ended
I've been wanting to do this ride since it was first posted. I just need to find someone who doesn't mind trail hunting a bit to shuttle with me.
Is the Lovers Leap section marked?
Do you guys think the holiday traffic will make this a complete PITA to do this Friday?
You can also just park on the shoulder after the passing lane ends, before getting to the gas station (east bound) , this will put you almost exactly at where you will drop out back onto 50 from this fire road or drive up the fire road a bit and park.
Have not been sure how cool it is to park at the gas station for the day, but sounds like Tyrone had no problems.
There is no sign for Lovers leap stay left before the Pony express drops towards Strawberry.
Originally Posted by TahoeBC
I don't think that's it, I think that's just a hard switchback as you near the top of the leap. the turn is just a bit farther back down the trail (I think!). Regardless, it's pretty hard to get lost I think as when approaching it, the trail just kind of splits...you'll be able to tell that the right hand split heads down toward Hwy 50, and that the left split goes "up". You'll want to go left and up
Originally Posted by mestapho