Trip Ideas

mountain biker enjoying tacky dirt on winter mountain biking trails near Nevada City

Snow Joke – Winter Mountain Bike Trails In Nevada County

From fat biking on snow up high to tacky singletrack down low Nevada County provides visitors to ride all year long including winter. Get the scoop on which trails are rideable and where to find the latest information on conditions.

Tips & Resources

We ask you as a responsible cyclist to say no if the trails are muddy as well as following the 7 principles of Leave No Trace. Consider exploring the paved bike paths in Nevada County such as the Penn Valley Bike Trail or test your cardio endurance on a road tour such as the 14.6 mile LeMond Loop.

For latest trail conditions visit Bicyclists of Nevada County (BONC) homepage and click on the most recent “weather report” to see the day’s view as well as snapshots of the previous days from Harmony Ridge.

Another resource is Trailforks to give you an idea of the conditions. BONC typically updates both Scotts and Talon Show reasonably often.


By Alex Silgalis

Winter is here but that doesn’t mean you need to put away your bike. Rather, it’s the perfect time to enjoy “hero dirt.” Here’s everything you need to know about winter mountain bike trails in Nevada County.

Say No To Mud

Just Say No To Mud

There’s a BIG difference between hero dirt and muddy conditions. Hero dirt is what it sounds like, soft enough that your tires can dig in and get great traction, but not too soft, that it is slick or muddy. If your mountain bike tires leave a rut the size of Grand Canyon, you’re on the wrong trails. Give the soil a chance to dry a bit. In-town trails soil composition with more clay (i.e. Hirschman’s, Tribute, etc) are a no-go after rain. For more as to why it’s crucial – Say No To Mud This Rainy Season.

Below White Cloud Is Average Demarcation Line

winter biking trails in Nevada county at sunset
Image appears courtesy: You Bet Bike Shop

Over the last decade, the mountain bike trails below the White Cloud Campground are normally snow free all winter long. The campground is right off of Highway 20 eleven miles east of Nevada City. Situated at approximately 4,200 feet in elevation, this provides access to routes such as Pioneer and Hallelujah trails. A little lower you’ll also find the newest addition—the Talon Show, as well as Scotts Flat trail just to name a few.

Where To Find The Latest Trails Report

Example of daily snapshot from Harmony Ridge webcam on BONC website

A good place to start is to visit the Bicyclists of Nevada County (BONC) homepage. Due to the volume of people asking if the trails are snow-free, they’ve set-up a webcam on Harmony Ridge. Clicking the most recent “weather report” shows the day’s view as well as snapshots of the previous days. Seeing brown here isn’t a guarantee there won’t be some snow on Talon or Scotts, but seeing snow will guarantee they won’t be good riding. Trailforks is another resource to give you an idea of the conditions. BONC typically updates both Scotts and Talon Show reasonably often.

Fat Biking – Go For A Mountain Bike Ride On Snow

person fat biking on snow in Truckee California
Image appears courtesy: Northstar California Resort – Visit Truckee-Tahoe

For those looking for a change, another option is to try the sport of fat biking. Look to the upper elevations of Truckee-Tahoe for some winter recreation of the two wheel kind. Fat bikes have frames that are specifically designed to fit around wider, squishier tires allowing you to ride comfortably on snow, sand, and all the variable conditions in between. When the conditions are less than ideal for skiing or snowboarding, that’s the perfect time to go fat biking. Think of it as the yin to skiing’s yang.

Where To Try It

For those interested in trying fat biking on groomed snow trails, you can rent a bike for a half-day at Northstar at Tahoe and shove off on their 35 kilometers of groomed trails perfectly sculpted for fat tire biking. Want a bit “wilder” experience? The Sawtooth trail network or Boca Reservoir area are a great spots to find an adventure. For the latest in higher altitude fat biking conditions, check out the Fat Bike Truckee Tahoe Facebook group.

Biking in Nevada County isn’t just an activity, it’s a passion. We guarantee that if you Saddle Up To Nevada County’s Mountain Bike Trails in any season, you’ll have a blast.


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.

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