Route advice? Sac./Winters to Clear Lake paved or dirt- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Route advice? Sac./Winters to Clear Lake paved or dirt

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    Finally in a position to do a little bit of short touring again.

    Looking for a low traffic route between Winters to the Clear Lake Riveria (southern Clear Lake area), as part of a longer trip.

    Happy to do dirt or paved, although this will be a touring bike (not MTB), with wide tires, and a full load of camping gear, so prefer dirt roads to single track, but willing to tackle single track that isn't too tight for panniers or overly rough.

    I also know that one of the routes in the Berryessa area has a ford rather than a bridge for a water crossing. I'm game for this adventure as well.

    No need for amenities, I can portage plenty of water and happy to stealth camp when there aren't other options.

    My main concern is traffic and finding a low traffic road. Last time I went through this area, I couldn't find a decent route, and ended up making my way from Middletown to the Clear Lake Riviera on a road that had a lot of traffic, with no shoulders, that was very mountainous, with the traffic moving fairly fast, and due to the terrain, the sight-lines were either short or non-existent at times. It felt pretty dangerous. I don't mind more climbing, or a somewhat longer route, if it means taking a low volume road. I don't mind a road with no shoulder if it is low traffic.


    Muchas dankes!
    ISO: 22" GT Rebound frame, year 2000 model

  2. #2
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    My trips to Mendocino from home (Foresthill) always go around the north side of Clear Lake but can be done via mostly all dirt roads or very low traffic paved roads. You could come around Clear Lake via Upper Lake to et to the south end of the lake. Your approach would have to be up through Lincoln, Auburn/ Yuba City though so not sure if that works for you.

    I've never wanted to do a route out through the Davis/Winters area. Wayyy too much narrow roads and traffic moving at mach speed. I did a route that went up through Calistoga and came down Oat Hill mine, but I did that on an MTB, I don't think much of it would be fun on a touring bike. Even that route had too much paved narrow roads and I wouldn't recommend it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Allan View Post
    My trips to Mendocino from home (Foresthill) always go around the north side of Clear Lake but can be done via mostly all dirt roads or very low traffic paved roads. You could come around Clear Lake via Upper Lake to et to the south end of the lake. Your approach would have to be up through Lincoln, Auburn/ Yuba City though so not sure if that works for you.

    I've never wanted to do a route out through the Davis/Winters area. Wayyy too much narrow roads and traffic moving at mach speed. I did a route that went up through Calistoga and came down Oat Hill mine, but I did that on an MTB, I don't think much of it would be fun on a touring bike. Even that route had too much paved narrow roads and I wouldn't recommend it.

    Thanks for the tips! I'll be visiting a friend in Woodland (right next to Davis) and then visiting more friends in the Clear Lake Riviera, so those two points are fixed. I feel like traveling all the way from upper lake to the south end of the lake would end up putting me on about the same amount of high traffic roads though.

    All of Yolo County has low traffic options, as there is a county road at one mile intervals in each direction. Cycling up through the Capay Valley is really nice. Around Berryessa it gets really mountainous, but if it isn't the weekend, the roads are low traffic. Last time, the hills kicked my ass going up past the dam, but after that, the descent into the Napa valley on 128 was awesome. No problems with traffic whatsoever, but IIRC, I was traveling on a weekday.

    I'm looking forward to cycling in the Davis area again (actually Woodland to Winters) as that area is all quiet country lanes.

    One time the route I chose from Calistoga to Middletown was the Ida Clayton Road. Absolutely deserted, but some very tough climbs. Halfway through it transitions to dirt for the descents, which can be a little scary, as it is hard to control your speed (at least on a loaded tourer) and there's washboard in places. Makes some of the turns a little hairy. I rode my brakes for so long I was worried about the rims heating up and my having a blow out.

    This time, I'm hoping for dirt roads, more or less as the crow flies between Winters and the south end of Clear Lake, but won't be surprised if that isn't really possible.


    The pay off for the wicked climbs up Ida Clayton Road:

    Route advice? Sac./Winters to Clear Lake paved or dirt-idaclayton1.jpg

    Route advice? Sac./Winters to Clear Lake paved or dirt-idaclayton2.jpg

    At times, Mt St Helena was visible as well.


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  4. #4
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    I think this route might be your best option for the type of riding you want but might require more riding than you want?

    https://blog.sfgate.com/bicycle/2016...-springs-road/

  5. #5
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    There is a great ride connecting highway 16 to clearlake oaks. From winters, ride the pavement west of road 86 for minimal traffic. When you get to highway 16, ride north to the county park at Rayhouse road. Try to ride 16 early on a weekday - it is narrow and the road race crew likes the curves.

    At the county park, ride across the closed low water bridge and over the summit of the blue ridge. This road leads into the Morgan Valley east of the south end of clearlake and ultimately into clearlake oaks on the south east corner of the lake. Most of the roads west of highway 16 are less used country roads.

    When you get to the summit of Rayhouse road, the road leading south has a nice camping area on a pond in about 3/4 mile. It's a great place if there aren't already yahoos there.
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  6. #6
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    Highway 128 to Knoxville Rd/Morgan Valley Rd which puts you in Lower Lake.

    Highway 20 to the low water bridge on Cache Creek(Rayhouse Rd.) to Knoxville Rd.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by king_dave72 View Post
    I think this route might be your best option for the type of riding you want but might require more riding than you want?

    https://blog.sfgate.com/bicycle/2016...-springs-road/

    Thanks! Strongly considering that route!
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by telemike View Post
    There is a great ride connecting highway 16 to clearlake oaks. From winters, ride the pavement west of road 86 for minimal traffic. When you get to highway 16, ride north to the county park at Rayhouse road. Try to ride 16 early on a weekday - it is narrow and the road race crew likes the curves.

    At the county park, ride across the closed low water bridge and over the summit of the blue ridge. This road leads into the Morgan Valley east of the south end of clearlake and ultimately into clearlake oaks on the south east corner of the lake. Most of the roads west of highway 16 are less used country roads.

    When you get to the summit of Rayhouse road, the road leading south has a nice camping area on a pond in about 3/4 mile. It's a great place if there aren't already yahoos there.

    I'm very interested in this option. Can you provide a bit more detail:

    "From winters, ride the pavement west of road 86 for minimal traffic."

    I'm not seeing pavement West of County Road 86, with the exception of County Road 29. I'm open to gravel and tame singletrack options too.

    Is the route out of the county park (Cache Creek Regional, right?) via Road 40/the Fiske Creek Trailhead?

    Your route is pretty tempting, I'll actually be leaving Woodland* with my next planned stop 1-3 days later in Kelseyville, with your suggestions, I could either hammer a 75 mile day through the hills, or camp somewhere mid-way.


    * I was just using Winters as what I figured the nearest point to my expected path through the hills would be.



    Great tips, thanks!




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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jibmaster View Post
    Highway 128 to Knoxville Rd/Morgan Valley Rd which puts you in Lower Lake.

    Highway 20 to the low water bridge on Cache Creek(Rayhouse Rd.) to Knoxville Rd.
    I've done 128 to Knoxville-Berryessa Road (but continued on 128 towards Calistoga that time). Not only would I like to try something new, I'd like to avoid that climb up to the dam and past the boat ramps. I wasn't geared for it last time, so it really kicked my ass, and even geared for it this time, I dread the hilly area between Putah Creek and Capell Valley.

    Considering your second option though, thanks!
    ISO: 22" GT Rebound frame, year 2000 model

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