Trip Ideas

cyclists pedaling over South Yuba River on Heart Of Gold Gravel race from up above

Nevada County – Crossroads Of Great Gravel Races

Home to some of the least ridden roads in the foothills of the Sierra. Stunning scenery of places likes the South Yuba River and the High Sierra surrounding Truckee. And most of all courses for every ability the Gravel events in Nevada County offer it all and then some.

Tips & Resources

Learn more about the event and register for the Heart of Gold Gravel.

Take a deep dive into what makes the Tahoe Gravel special and to register.

Explore the endless possibilities of gravel grinding surrounding Truckee.


By Alex Silgalis

Have you heard of the latest boom in cycling? It’s called gravel riding. It fits somewhere between road cycling and mountain biking. Instead of just pavement or singletrack, bikers use a drop-bar bike (i.e. road bike) with a bit wider tires to access a spectrum of terrain. Another twist in the gravel cycling world is that the term “gravel races” is a loose word. Yes, there’s a competitive aspect. But at its soul it’s more of a community gathering of like-minded folks to test their personal limits.

Gravel Grinding Season

cyclist pedaling on rough gravel road on Heart Of Gold Gravel race
Image appears courtesy: Topo CollectiveBike Monkey

Nevada County is biking nirvana. Due to its vast elevation profile ranging from 1,000’ above sea level in the western section to almost 10,000 feet in the eastern half, gravel-istas can pretty much ride all year long. Even so, prime cycling season in the western half is from late fall through early summer. For the eastern half due to its high elevation, it’s when the snow melts. So that means it’s all about late spring into summer. Nevada County’s gravel races are like two bookends of the cycling season. Each is scheduled in the cycling season’s best time to ride for each section of the county.

Truckee Tahoe Gravel

June 29th,  2024

cyclists doing gran fondo in Truckee California
Boca Road near Truckee, California (Photo: Craig Huffman) – Image appears courtesy: Visit Truckee-Tahoe

One of Truckee’s premier adventure races, the Truckee Tahoe Gravel was started in 2018 by 3x world road racing champion Peter Sagan. This gravel ride is a good introduction to the endless possibilities of gravel grinding surrounding Truckee. While the event itself happens on one day, throughout the whole weekend you’ll find a full plate of fun activities for the entire family to enjoy. You can expect live music, beer, local cuisine, and a vendor expo. New this year all three of the Truckee Tahoe Gravel’s events are competitive meaning that they are timed. The 30 which is actually 26.7 miles long while not a beginner ride by any means it does have a higher percentage of pavement to gravel compared with the longer routes. And for those that want to up the challenge, their medium now has been upgraded to a 66.3-mile course and the long course stretches over the century mark at over 104 miles giving event goers an opportunity to pick their poison.

Heart Of Gold Gravel

October 5th,  2024

Three cyclists pedaling up a hill in the South Yuba River Valley on a gravel road during the Heart of Gold Gravel
Image appears courtesy: Topo CollectiveBike Monkey

As the name suggests, this is a tour of Nevada County’s gold country. Due to its mining past, the foothills and mountains surrounding Nevada City and Grass Valley have a vast network of prime gravel roads to explore. Even with so many options it can be challenging to connect them into an enjoyable loop. The Heart of Gold Gravel is a great way to introduce to the area since it isn’t a “groad” but a true gravel tour. The route features an overwhelming % on dirt. This type of riding can take its toll on the bikes, but we’re fortunate enough that our local bike shop YouBet is providing mechanical and neutral support throughout the ride. And 100% of the proceeds go to support teen mental wellness in Nevada County! It’s no wonder that the Heart Of Gold Gravel is one of the prime things to do in October.

Cash Purse For Top 3 Men And Women

As of 2023 there is a cash purse of $2,000. The winnings are split evenly between both men and women for each of the top three men and women on the long course segments. But as we said earlier, at its soul the Heart of Gold gravel race is a community gathering. The real reward is a chance for you to pedal through some of the least ridden places in the foothills of the Sierra.


Alex Silgalis

Alex founded Local Freshies® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.

Related Posts