*HELP!!* Master 2 month trip planning advice!
I have posted earlier with some preliminary advice and thanks to some great feedback from the MTBR crowd, I have a working draft of my trip.
Some back ground: I will be traveling with a few buddies over the summer to hit major trail systems out west. We are all in our twenties and CAT 1 XC cyclist with both 100mm hardtails and 120-140mm all mountain bikes.
My major question today is: By looking at my excel file, what recommendations do you have for trail systems in the areas that I have outlined. I am using the mtbproject app to find specific trails, however I figured any additional advice would be great!
Hopefully the screen shot is readable!
Last edited by dguggemos; 03-05-2014 at 08:01 PM.
Wow, I’m envious. Looks cool. I’m no expert on any of these places, coming from Hawaii...but I have ridden most of the places you have listed in Oregon. McKenzie river is one of my favorites. I also did Waldo, but in August. I was told being that it’s at higher altitude, it’s not really accessible or rideable until late summer. Might want to keep that in mind. Bend, on the other hand, would be very accessible, and has tons of cool XC stuff to ride.
I think you can probably do better than Cougar in Washington. I'm not really any help here as me and my partner are basically at beginner level and only make it out a couple of times a year to tame trails, but if you posted in the Washington sub-forum, I'm sure folks there would be happy to hook you up with exactly the kind of flow you are looking for.
Originally Posted by dguggemos
ISO: 22" GT Rebound frame, year 2000 model
Five days in whistler is sweet but you gotta find a way to hit trails in squamish, north Vancouver, pemberton, sunshine coast too. But I wouldn't cut any days from whistler so I dunno what to suggest lol.
Thanks for the responses and suggestions. I will look into Washington a little closer. Also, I was pretty torn on splitting whistler into other trail systems like Squeamish and North Vancouver.
if you can factor in sun valley idaho the riding around ketchum and north in stanley is off the charts awesome
dog's best friend
Agree with sun Valley suggestion. By Cougar WA, did you mean Ape Canyon - Plains of Abraham? That is a spectacular ride and worth the detour off the I 5. If the weather sucks that day, you could ride Lewis River instead.
Great you found time for Fruita (Horse thief Mesa!) / Grand Junction (Holy Cross!). I was going to suggest Fruita but it didn't seem like you had time for both Fruita and Moab.
We stay in cabins or campsites in RV parks instead of hotel rooms. Moab Valley RV Resort is in a great location. One in Fruita also.
The trouble with biking around Durango is there is no air. We spend more time gasping than riding. I would pass and spend the time elsewhere on this trip.
Sedona is beautiful and the riding is nice but after Fruita and Moab I would pass on this area and use the days elsewhere. Save it for an Arizona trip because there is plenty to do there. Spend at least a night in Grand Canyon and get up early to watch the sunrise.
Vegas should be several days of exploring. It is an amazing place but maybe you've been there before.
The drive to Lake Tahoe and then back south to Sequoia doesn't work. Way too much time driving. Highway 49 is slow. 99 is faster but still doesn't work.
I recommend Las Vegas through Death Valley with some time there, Badwater and the nearby attractions, then to Long Pine for the evening. Wonderful drive up to the base of Mt Whitney and get pancakes at the Whitney Portal store in the morning. One pancake will feed the family :-) Also, explore the Alabama Hills / Hollywood Hills and the movie museum. You've seen a LOT of movies and ads filmed there and a GREAT place for kids to explore. These rocks are between Lone Pine and Whitney.
Then south to Kernville that afternoon and the Cannell Plunge the next morning. Stay at Mountain and River Adventures campground if you are camping or one of the motels in Kernville. River Inn or McCambridge Lodge Motel. McCambridge has a great view!
The next morning drive north from Kernville into Sequoia and visit the General Sherman Tree. It is big. The world's largest living thing. Drive north to Yosemite and stay outside the park in Oakhurst or wherever.
This timing works. I've done this many times.
The next morning drive into the park and spend half the day in the Valley, the waterfalls suck this year, and then head up Highway 120 and over Tioga Pass. Very scenic drive. Head up the east side of the Sierras to Tahoe.
Spend a day around Tahoe? You could spend weeks weeks between Kernville and Tahoe but time is tight on this trip.
From Tahoe take Highway 89 north to Highway 49 and then over Yuba Pass to Downieville. I strongly recommend taking the shuttle up to Packer Saddle and riding down Burcher Ranch, Third Divide, and First Divide and right back into town. 16 miles, lots of flow with technical, and it won't kill you like Big Boulder. Family will enjoy Downieville.
South Yuba Trail is way cool especially if you get your wife to drive you to one of the trail heads up river. However, you are trying to pack too much into this road trip. Pass on this one and enjoy Nevada City with your family.
Your "free day" after Nevada City will be spent driving. Family will get cranky after this much driving.
Overall you are trying to do too much for a family road trip in this time frame. Slow down and enjoy the trip more. Remember that MTBR has mostly enthusiasts who will recommend lots of great trails but some like Big Boulder are very strenuous and your family will be bored waiting for you.
Spend some time in Vancouver if you haven't before. It is one of the world's most beautiful cities and Stanley Park is a great place for the family to explore.
This is a hell of a road trip! Have a blast!
good advice from jmpreston. You could spend a lot more time in tahoe area and no sense in driving to tahoe and then back to the Sequoia's. Might as well hit kernville and then drive north to tahoe and see the big trees on the way. If/when you ride downieville it can easily be done as loop for you guys. Others may have better suggetions, but I've done it multiple times by parking in town, riding up the highway to sierraville, up the dirt road used for the xc course to packer saddle then down the trails to town.
Might be fun to pick up some maps now so you can start plotting rides:
Map | Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship
Sedona Core Trail map (all bike shops there have it, has worked well for me)
Fruita/GC map sold by OTE shop. Sorry, don't remember the name of it, but again, it worked well for me when I spent 4 days there.
I'm super jealous, have fun!
There are Over The Edge OTE) bike shops in Fruita, Hurricane (west of Zion and near the Gooseberry Mesa trails, and Sedona. They have maps. You can also download the trails from several sites online to your GPS device or smartphone. The MTB Project is on the Web and has mobile apps. Nice to have paper and GPS maps.
There are four great bike shops in Moab for maps and shuttles. Visit all of them. My preferences are Poison Spider and Moab Cyclery but not by much.
Mountain and River Adventures in Kernville has a map of the Cannell Trail but I also track it with my Garman also. The Cannell Trail crosses some forest service roads and can be a little confusing at first. Their shuttle is good.
Yuba Expeditions in Downieville has maps but it would be hard to get lost on the standard Downieville Downhill. Shuttle leaves hourly from their shop in downtown.
Thanks for all the fantastic tips everyone! I think you all have noticed the portion of the trip I was clueless about, getting from Arizona to Oregon.
Here I have attached some more specific trails instead of the previous general locations. I reworked the Arizona to Oregon portion so I am no longer back tracking. Lucking no family on this trip, just a few guys in their early twenties riding bikes, so don't worry about people getting too worn out from driving.
Any suggestions on this trail specific itinerary? Not necessarily hitting them all, just a general outline.
Thanks again for the fantastic replies and help!
Hole-in-the-ground is very good but it is a 3 hours from Downieville. Maybe you mean ride it from Tahoe and then drive to Downieville. You are not going to ride Big Boulder and Hole-in-the-Ground in the same day plus driving unless you are wired on some drugs :-)
Downieville Classic + North Yuba can be done by an intermediate. I'm not sure how enjoyable it would be though. More like checking the boxes day after day. Is that the quality of trip you want?
I suspect that part way through this trip you will slow down. I've done most of the trip often since the 1960's and I think you are trying to pack too much into the time available. You are blasting through a lot of places that are worth a few days to explore and enjoy.
I invented Padrack iPad Dashboard Car Truck Mount Holder for iPads on road trips :-) Not commercialized yet because manufacturing costs a fortune. I use with the MotionX Drive iPad app. I can build you one in aluminum for $75 if you want one. I use it on all my road trips.
Your correct on riding Hole-in-the-ground and driving to Downieville in one day, then riding Downieville the following day. I agree that we will likely fall behind on this portion of the trip. I have tried to mostly compile a huge list of potential trail systems to hit. We likely will stay longer in places we like and skip over areas that may get rain, we don't enjoy as much, etc. Sorry though, no I-pad here...yet!
Does this general flow from AZ to BC seem to work better?
I am also debating skipping the Las Vegas portion and heading straight for Lake Tahoe due to likely hood of better riding in the Tahoe area and hopefully less extreme heat. Any thoughts?
As a conceptual framework or menu this trip is ****ing great! Roll with it.
I've been doing road trips since I was about 10 years old - 52 years ago. I learned that people travel differently. Lots of people try to hit as many attractions as they can fit into the "vacation". They miss most of what can be enjoyed.
If you are traveling with buddies be very careful or the friendships can blow apart after a couple of weeks. Usually less than that. Seen that many times. (I have a story about me, a blond woman attorney and her daughter, and a revolution in southern Mexico long ago...)
Don't bother with Grand Canyon unless you stay at least 24 hours and see sunset and sunrise and I can be heavily criticized for that short a stop. Humans require time to absorb and "get it".
Vegas is an amazing place. We don't gamble because as a tech entrepreneur I have enough gambling on innovation. There are a lot of interesting places to explore. Red Square in the Mandalay is difficult to survive. Don't drive afterward. We stay at Tuscany Suites on most MTB trips in the SW. Just off the Strip and lots of space in the rooms for bikes :-)
The time you have scheduled in Fruita and Moab is minimal but good enough for an exploratory trip. You want to be there in the wrong time of the year anyway. I would pass on AZ for the same reason. Think April into mid-May.
Drive through Death Valley for bragging rights. Nice to hang out at 118F with a beer :-)
There are only a few towns in the SW with MTB camaraderie: Moab, Kernville, and Downieville. These are small towns where a lot of people are into MTB and the outdoor adventure lifestyle and we love hanging out with such people. Whistler is probably that way but I haven't been there since I was a ski bum 40+ years ago :-)
I was first in Tahoe in 1953 have a very long history there both summers and winters. Flume Trail has beautiful views but is only a sandy flat trail. North Star ski area has great downhill riding if you want to ride a ski resort with a crowd. There is a lot to do in the area. I would pass it up on this trip for more time at Kernville and Downieville. These towns along with Moab will give you a deeper MTB experience. I would also pass on Sedona. The riding there is very good but nothing like Moab, the Thunder Mountain Trail, Cannell Plunge, or Downieville. Go back in the future in March to ride the Arizona Trail, South Mountain, and Sedona.
Look at your menu and start narrowing your track.
Jim, you are full of some great advice. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom from past experiences. To give some extra time I was thinking of skipping Durango all together to add some time in Kernville.
From all you suggestions I will have to spend some time reworking my spreadsheet and reading up on some more destinations and trail systems.
I really like Durango but you are doing a survey trip. I would go Moab, Thunder Mountain / Bryce NP, through Zion to Vegas, then Death Valley to Lone Pine, check out Whitney Portal below Mt Whitney and the Alabama Hills, then down to Kernville, the back road (Sierra Way) from Kernville into Sequoia, up Hwy 49 for a day in Yosemite then over Tioga Pass, up Hwy 395 to 89, to Tahoe and up to Downieville. Obviously stop for food, sleeping, etc.
You could spend your life on 89 both in AZ - UT and CA. Different highways but unbelievable experiences.
This passes some amazing treats but you can return to those at another time. Do AZ some April when the Sonoran cactus are in bloom! You can't believe what it is like to bike through blooming cactus! I don't mean bike "into" blooming cactus :-) Ride some single track near Tucson and if you don't make the turn there is a big barrel cactus waiting for your body. Along with a rattlesnake. Even my wife focuses there.
You probably know that we have the worst drought in California and the southwest in the last 400+ years so waterfalls in Yosemite and Sierra rivers suck. Beautiful but not great this year. Kernville usually has some fantastic Class 4 river rafting but not this year.
The Cannell Plunge is the only time I've ever said "I've seen God". I'm atheist. Get it? From the bottom of the trail ride a km to the Kernville Brewing Company and celebrate :-)
Downieville is more than 16 miles of mostly single track downhill technical trail. There are about 5-7 great rides in the area. If you can afford a couple of nights at the Carriage House it is a cool gold country experience overlooking a river. The single woman owner loves MTBers. She's fun! Right behind it is the Yuba Expeditions bike shop but also as you finish the Downieville Downhill you can ride into the river! Then walk a few dozen meters to your room. There is an old west type saloon there to hydrate :-)
Also spend some time in Nevada City. We have over 100 such gold towns in the Sierra but this will give you a sample you won't forget. You'll wonder why you don't live there and join a local MTB club. I have lots of photos of mostly naked women, including my wife, in Nevada City but that is another campfire story.
Again, slow down and smell the roses, or at least a lot of local brews.
I agree mostly with jmpreston, but I would still hit Flagstaff and Sedona. Sedona has awesome riding and is very unique. Weather will probably be hot, but I did a ride there last June and had plenty of fun (was coming from Phoenix at the time so maybe that had something to do with it, 90 is better then 105). Maybe better to do a day or two each in Flag and Sedona then head through Vegas for an off day and then back onto the route jm laid out.
I now live an hour away from Kernville and am very impressed with the riding (haven't even done the plunge yet). However, a lot of the rides are best with a shuttle or some serious fitness and time. Tahoe/Downieville/Lake Basin area would be a good place to spend some serious time, both because the trails are awesome and you should have good weather. I imagine with all the moving around you have planned it might be nice to have a few spots you post up at for more than 2 nights.
Are you guys camping or hoteling or both?
It's kind of hard to throw out suggestions, because there are so many damn options. Again, I'm really jealous. Please post up a trip report when it's all said and done.
Sounds like a great trip. MY GF and I did something similar last October so I hope help you from what I learned. We did Fruita, Moab, Sedona, and Durango. We also hit SantaFe but that wasn’t on your list. We left Chicago on Friday afternoon and were in Fruita by noon Sunday. We have a small travel trailer and set up at Jams Cobb State Park in Fruita.
Riding – I would spend a day at each of what I consider the big 3, The 18 Road Trails, Kokopelli, Trails, and the Lunch loops in Grand Junction.
18 Rode trails are set up like a “T”. You go up the middle then left or right back down. Zippity is a must, along with PBR.
Kokopelli trails. Marys to Horsetheif is what we did and that was enough.
Moab, Same deal go to a trail head and ride. You gotta do slick rock just to say you did, but you can spend a day at Moab Brand, Klonzo, and Klondike Bluffs trails.
Sedona – Do it! I didn’t think I would like it when we drove in but it was great. You can park at the Sedona Bike and Bean, grab a map and leave right from there. One could easily spend 2/3 days at that trail head.
Durango – love it. We did a section of the CT up to Gudys Rest. Then looped back around. We also did the Overend Trails and I believe Horse Gulch.
I have tons of pics on my FB page and all my Garmin files on Strava
Let me know if you would like any more specific information.
Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone. I have done some editing per your responses.
I removed the stay in Durango and Las Vegas. With these extra days time has been added to Fruita, Lake Tahoe, and 2 days in Kernville. (To make a more base feel to these areas instead of constantly moving) We initially were going to try to hit a race in Durango, but decided to skip it. Also, Las Vegas will likely be extremely hot in early June so we thought it best to move onto Kernville and Lake Tahoe.
I also added one day to explore Vancouver before heading to Whistler. We will be indeed camping for 95% of this trip. Trying to keep the cost as low as possible.
Thanks for the more specific responses, this is really giving me a better idea of where to go once getting to an area!
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