View from Bonanza King Lookout Road
(Trinity Lake and Trinity Alps in Background)
QWR wanted to close out “June is Great Outdoors Month” with a review of Adventure Bike (ADV) or Dual-Sport (DS) opportunities located on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in the Trinity Lake area.
Start of trip to Bonanza Creek Lookout
While many long-distance ADV riders are familiar with Highway 3 that runs north-south through the Forest, QWR believes there are additional high-value “one-day” backcountry touring opportunities where recreationists can range out on various designated native surfaced routes that stem off of Highway 3 or its companion road that snakes along the east side of the lake.
Start of Swift Creek Loop
The purpose of this blog is to give ADV/DS riders who are not familiar with this remote area of California some basic concepts for day-long excursions where there will be plenty of scenic views with opportunities for photos of the Trinity Alps and other mountains, tree lined roads, numerous streams, and wildlife.
Road Access to Swift Creek Trailhead
QWR has another goal and that is to reinforce the important role that Forest roads have in providing access to both motorized and non-motorized recreation on public lands.
View from Swift Creek Loop
Staging for this multi-day project was based in the Trinity Center area where there is gas/food and a number of developed and dispersed camping choices at sites managed by private parties or the Forest Service. There are also several B&Bs nearby for those riders who like that type of lodging.
Dispersed Camping near Trinity Lake
Routes and general areas highlighted with pink markings (see map below) are where you may want to visit. Besides the views, you will be presented with options to challenge yourself on motorized routes that are identified for use by high-clearance vehicles and OHVs.
Near top of Slate Mountain
QWR has divided the potential adventure routes into four areas which are the Swift Creek Loop, Bonanza King Lookout, Eagle Creek Loop, Scott Mountain Pass, Coffee Creek, and the Clear Creek/Slate Mountain Loop.
Eagle Creek Campground
All of these opportunities offer access to some high-quality recreation into undeveloped backcountry areas. Again, there are many designated Forest dirt side roads that can be explored off of the looped route.
Clear Creek Campground
Coffee Creek is a cherry-stemmed route into the Trinity Alps Wilderness with spectacular views of alpine meadows and wildlife. At the end of the 22 mile mostly dirt road, there is great family style dining at Mountain Meadows Resort. Be sure and call ahead for reservations if you plan to visit them for a great dinner. Dinner is served at 7 p.m.
View of Trinity Alps from Mountain Meadow Resort
The Shasta-Trinity National Forest has over 5,000 miles of roads and trails that are designed for street legal and/or non-street legal motorized use. Many of these routes are in the vicinity of your Trinity Lake-based multiday adventures.
QWR encourages you to download the current Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) that identifies seasons of use and what vehicle types are allowed on the route system.
Clear Creek Campsites
MVUM for Trinity Lake Area
Like many National Forests throughout the West, this area has a lot of mixed private sector and federal land ownership. One of the largest private landowners in this area is Sierra Pacific Industries and many of the roads go through their property. QWR believes it is important to respect private property and only travel on routes that are signed or mapped open for motorized use.
Respect Private Property
Many readers of this forum are already doing important volunteer work for the Forest Service or BLM. In that vein, it is also important for you to help be the eyes and ears for the agency when ADV riding by reporting back to them with information on road conditions, seasonal gates that might still be closed after the winter, travel management signs that are missing, and campground or other facility maintenance needs. In addition, you can send in comments on ideas you might have to enhance motorized recreational opportunities on the road and trail network.
Welcome to the National Recreation Area
MVUM Comment Form
Info on Historic Stage Road
This area of California has a rich cultural heritage that helps link us to our past, informs the present, and charts a path forward to our future.
Historical Marker at Scott Mountain Pass
Please give this area some consideration the next time you get the urge to explore the great outdoors in Northern California.
Here are some links to various camping and dining sites.
Trinity Center KOA
Shasta-Trinity National Forest
Mountain Meadow Resort
Trinity Center Dining
PS- Special thanks to Mike Mitchell (retired FS recreation lead and current officer with the Redding Dirt Riders) for running the base camp for this project.