Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Forest Road 17N40

With the demand for backcountry OHV touring opportunities growing each year, QWR wants to highlight several NEW SxS and ATV riding options in Del Norte County on public lands within the Smith River National Recreation Area (NRA) on the Six Rivers National Forest.

View from CR 405 

The NRA is unique since the county road network functions as the only connector route for many of the designated Forest Service level 2 roads and trails. 

Forest Road 18N17 at CR 316 Intersection

Over the last few years, BRC, QWR, and the CA OHMVR Division, has been working with Del Norte County Supervisors and planning staff on ways to enhance legal OHV recreation in the Smith River area.  Those efforts were largely centered on the county designating 82 miles of their non-paved county roads as “non-highways” pursuant to CVC Section 38001.  Those non-highway designations were made by the county in November 2014.

CR 405 Mile Marker

2014 Del Norte County Non-Highway Resolution

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.

Old Gunpowder Magazine

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.

County Roads 314, 315, 316 Loops

For those who might be interested in taking a SxS or ATV 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.

Patrick Creek Lodge

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.

Just across the bridge from the lodge, there is Patrick Creek Road (County Road 316 – Pink).  There is a staging area just across the bridge but there is a larger day staging area about 1 mile up the road on the left.  Also, there are numerous dispersed campsites along the creek.

Patrick Creek Campground

Follow CR 316 north to Forest Road 18N17 (Yellow) and ride out to the end of Monkey Creek Ridge (18N17 is seasonally open June 15 to October 15). 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 carsonite sign on the left.  Go left and you will be on the Wimer Road.

NRA District Ranger (L), David Palmer, Reviews Map of Area
with Local OHV Leaders

Forest Road 4402 is in the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest.  QWR has confirmed with the Forest that the “blue” portion of 4402 is open for OHV use. 

FS Road 4402 to Diamond Creek/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.  When on the 305 don’t forget to stop at the Stone Corral and enjoy what used to be a resting point for wagon trains and stage coaches.

Wimer 4WD Road

Another trip for your SxS or ATV is the French Hill/Hurdygurdy Creek loop which consists of CR 411 and 405.  QWR recommends that you stage from the Big Flat area where there is a large parking area.  The Yellow Routes are FS level 2 roads open for OHV use.

Wild Azalea

Both areas contain many vistas and potential dispersed camping opportunities.  Set aside plenty of time to explore the country.

Old Stone Corral

It is important to remember that the NRA is still waiting for the Record of Decision (ROD) on the newest round of travel management to be published sometime later this year.  QWR and others are hopeful that it will include additional OHV routes that will complement the county non-highway road system. The county is also working to enhance its signing program.

View of Lake Earl from CR 305

Be sure and stop by the Gasquet Ranger Station and pick up the most recent MVUM.

NRA Ranger Station

If you would like higher resolution PDF files of the two areas, please send a request to:

No comments:

Post a Comment