Monday, July 6, 2015

ADVENTURE RIDERS - Take the Smith River NRA Adventure Challenge

Top End of Elk Camp Ridge Trail

After meeting a KTM 990 on the Wimer Road last week while working on a backcountry OHV touring project, QWR thought it was appropriate to share a great Adventure/Dual Sport opportunity with our readers.  The routes are on the Smith River National Recreation Area (NRA) which is located on the Six Rivers National Forest in the Northwest corner of California.

The Wimer Road

If you have not ridden in this remote part of California, you are missing a real adventure that takes you back in time to when many of these routes were primary access roads in the 1800s.  This area has a rich mining history. 

The NRA is also home to many streams and much of the Smith River which is a prize fishing stream during the late summer and fall seasons.  During the hot summer months, many of these waterways have great swimming holes where you can cool off after a long days ride.

Old Powder Magazine from Mining Operation

For those who might be interested in taking an adventure tour of this area, QWR would like to offer some suggestions for the northern loop which goes into Oregon and then back into California.

Forest Road 18N17

A great staging area(s) for several days of riding is at Patrick Creek Lodge where they have comfortable rooms and great dining.  If you want to camp, there is the Forest Service Patrick Creek Campground just across the highway from the lodge.  A refreshing swimming hole is close by for that after ride cool down.

Patrick Creek Lodge

Just across the bridge from the lodge, there is Patrick Creek Road (County Road 316 – Pink).  Follow CR 316 north to Forest Road 18N17 (Yellow) and ride out to the end of Monkey Creek Ridge.  Come back out to CR 316 and take a right and head north until you T into Forest Road 4402 (Blue).  Turn left on 4402 for a few miles and watch for a 4402 sign on the left.  Go left and you will be on the Wimer Road.

The Wimer Road is a rocky 4WD route that will take you past Forest Road 18N09 (Diamond Creek – Yellow) and over to CR 305.  The 305 will take you past some great views of the mountains and the coast.

View of Lake Earl

If you have enough energy for day two, there are a couple of A/B enduro skill-level motorcycle only trails that will test your ability.  The Elk Camp Ridge Trail and High Dome Trail are marked in red.  QWR would suggest that you plan (using CR 315) your day so that you go DOWN those routes instead of climbing them. 

WARNING – many of these routes are for experienced adventure/dual-sport riders only.

Enjoy your summer and let QWR know if you take the NRA challenge.  


  1. You don't mention the Mad River RD trails in Six Rivers. I spent a whole lot of time writing comments on them during TMR and they closed most of them anyway, which was disappointing.

    1. Bruce, this is a story on the Smith River NRA. The Mad River RD still has some good trails in the Pilot Creek Trail System. There is new leadership on Six Creeks and I hope there is a new direction there. Thanks for writing those comments!

  2. Ah the memories of being the first rec people on the Six Cricks to open up the High Dome trail with John Theuerkauf...crawling through the buckbrush on hands and knees to find the original blazes from the 30'-40's. And then being the first bike through Elk Camp Ridge in years on an old clapped out XR200 that I had to pick up and throw over the blow downs (there were many!). Yup if you are on a true dual sport bike going down the two is much easier for sure!!!

  3. Gosh Durn it Don, I was just out there last Wednesday on my brand new (80K miles new fifth rebuilt) XR 250. I had heard that the Wimer was closed due to the fire after you go east of the north fork Smith bridge, so I did not go out that way. I came up from the town of Smith River, Rowdy Creek, over 17no7 and the trails back there, the Quasket toll road over to three ponds, Patrick creek over to Little Joans creek, on down to the roak creek area of the south fork Smith. Rock creek is as challenging as the Mc Grew also. I remember once "going off" the rock scree near the top of High Dome. My footpeg hit a rock, I wheelied off the rock scree (you know the one) and barrel rolled on the bike down about 30 feet, ended up with the gas overflow in my face. I will never forget that trail, ever...
    Sorry I did not see you up there last week
    Lee bin Rydin in Brookings