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Biking in Nevada County

Nevada County is the perfect destination for avid road and mountain bikers. Every year the county plays host to numerous cycling events and has a great selection of rides and trails to choose from for the beginner to the advanced rider!

Road Bike Rides

The roads throughout Nevada and Sierra counties have become popular for recreational road riders and bicycle tourists of all levels and include the popular “Burn-of-the-Century” road ride the Saturday before the Nevada City Classic Pro race.

Mountain Bike Trails

For mountain bike riders, Nevada County is a year-round playground. Lush forests, rivers and lakes provide the backdrop for a pleasant cruise or a healthy cycling workout. The routes listed below follow public roads. Please do not trespass or park your vehicle on private property. On the trail, yield to hikers and equestrians. Be friendly and set a good example for our sport. Ride safely & have fun! For more information on mountain biking in the area visit www.bonc.org.

Suggested Bike Rides:

SOUTH YUBA TRAIL

Trailhead: Round Mountain Trailhead, located off Round Mountain Road
Distance: 20 miles
Total estimated climb: 1000+ ft.
Time of ride: 2-3 hours
Season: Spring to Fall
Degree of difficulty: Intermediate+
6 Physical, 6 Technical

A fun and challenging single-track ride with views of the South Yuba River. At one time, the trail was posted as a clockwise riding circuit, but these days most riders seem to prefer a counter-clockwise direction. From Round Mountain, turn left at the South Yuba Trail, left at Lake Vera-Purdon Road, left again at Rector Road, left at Rock Creek Road and return on Round Mountain Road. Watch for poison oak along the trail.

EMPIRE MINE STATE PARK

Trailhead: West gate, at hilltop, off Empire St.
Distance: 1.5 to 10 miles
Total estimated climb: varies
Time of ride: varies
Season: Year around
Degree of difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate
3-6 Physical, 1-4 Technical

Wooded trails with easy to challenging terrain traverse California’s richest gold mine, on both sides of Highway 174. Trail maps are available at the park visitor center but don’t ride in the visitor center area. There is an admission charge at this gate. Please observe the “No Bikes” signs in some areas.

CHAMPION MINE ROAD

Trailhead: Nevada City
Distance: 7-10 miles
Total estimated climb: 300 ft.
Time of ride: 30 min. to 1 hour
Season: Year around
Degree of difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate
3 Physical, 2 Technical

Easy ride on gravel and dirt roads in the Deer Creek canyon. Ride out Factory Street (past Miners’ Foundry) to the pavement of Old Downieville Highway. Pass a few houses and take the first dirt road left. Stay high (right) at the steel gate. Ride to Newtown Road and return. Or turn right at Newtown, ride up to Highway 49 and right again on Old Downieville Highway. Return to town. A tougher alternative: From Newtown Road, cross Highway 49 and return to town via Country, Indian Flat
and Cement Hill roads.

GLACIER LAKE RIDE

Trailhead: Bowman Lake Road at Forest Road 18, or four miles up at Carr Lake.
Distance: 20 miles
Total estimated climb: 1200+ feet
Time of ride: 3 hours
Season: Late Spring to Fall
Degree of difficulty: Intermediate+
7 Physical, 7 Technical

Fun, challenging and beautiful high country ride in the Grouse Ridge Lakes Basin. Take Highway 20 east and Bowman Lake Road north. Park at Forest Road 18 or Carr Lake. Ride to Feeley and Round akes (Trail 12E26). Follow signs to Milk Lake and Glacier Lake via Trail 13E13. Return the same way.

LOWER PIONEER TRAIL

Trailhead: Park at Harmony Ridge Market (mountain bikers invited) or at the horse staging area off Highway 20, one mile east, across from Lone Grave.
Distance: 10 miles
Total estimated climb: 500+ ft.
Time of ride: 1 to 1.5 hours
Season: Can be snowbound in winter
Degree of difficulty: 4 Physical, 4 Technical
Ride eastward on the Pioneer Trail, which runs parallel to Highway 20, on the north side. The trail offers wooded singletrack riding with a moderate climb in the eastbound direction. It is marked with small diamond plaques on trees. Ride to White Cloud Campground and return, or continue eastward to Upper Pioneer Trail for a longer ride.)

NOTE: The entire route has been developed and is maintained by a local equestrian group, the Gold Country Trails Council. Please extend every courtesy to folks on horseback.

UPPER PIONEER TRAIL

Trailhead: White Cloud Campground
Distance: 10 miles
Total estimated climb: N/A
Time of ride: 1 to 1.5 hours
Season: Can be snowbound in winter
Degree of difficulty: 6 Physical, 6 Technical
This trail parallels Highway 20 on the south side and drifts farther from the highway than the lower section. Ride to Skillman Campground and back, or for a longer ride, to Chalk Bluff Road and back. The trail is fairly rugged and mildly technical single-track, offering more challenging riding than the lower section. (This trail can be linked with the Lower Pioneer Trail for a longer ride.)

NOTE: The entire route has been developed and is maintained by a local equestrian group, the Gold Country Trails Council. Please extend every courtesy to folks on horseback.

Additional Info