Cross Hwy 49 Legally?

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GrizzlyGuy
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Cross Hwy 49 Legally?

Postby GrizzlyGuy » Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:21 am

Does anyone one know of a legal way to cross Hwy 49 (on an ATV) between Downieville and Yuba Pass?

The obvious way per the maps would be at Yuba Pass. But we were out there yesterday and found that the road heading north from the pass is still closed to ATVs, as it was last year:

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I have no idea why it is closed.

I saw a track on aerial photos that leaves the back of Yuba Pass Campground and heads west to connect with 49 down where FS 09 heads north. We hiked down it a ways and found it to be blocked by a large 3-4' diameter tree right about where my track ends in the map below. Even without the trees, not sure if it would be legal to ride, especially with the latest fire restrictions:

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Crossing through Bassetts would involve riding Gold Lake Highway for a ways on the east side, so I doubt that is legal. I got lots of strange looks the last time I rode into Bassetts from the south for a milkshake and some gas. :roll:

And I'd think that law enforcement in Downieville would not take kindly to me riding through town from Galloway Road to the south. If Downieville were in Utah, no worries. But dang it, its in CA. :wink:

Any other ideas, other than to just take my chances on that 1.5-ish mile of stretch of Hwy 49 heading west from Yuba Pass to FS 09?
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Re: Cross Hwy 49 Legally?

Postby hemingray » Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:36 pm

GrizzlyGuy wrote:
And I'd think that law enforcement in Downieville would not take kindly to me riding through town from Galloway Road to the south. If Downieville were in Utah, no worries. But dang it, its in CA. :wink:
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Postby d2photo » Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:15 pm

Difference there is they were riding ON the highway.
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Postby Chadd » Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:46 pm

We might have been on the Highway But we were lost. lol

I think that sign is up from this winter. It's to keep wheeled vehicles off the groomed snowmobile trails. In the summer your all right.
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Postby GrizzlyGuy » Tue Jul 10, 2007 7:53 pm

Thanks for the info!

Looks like it was a real bad day in Downieville when that picture was taken. But what a great picture! Looks like he was calling for backup or a paddy wagon when that shot was taken. I hope you guys didn't spend too much time in the pokie or have to bust up too many rocks (with the sledge hammers, that is). :lol:
Chadd wrote:I think that sign is up from this winter. It's to keep wheeled vehicles off the groomed snowmobile trails. In the summer your all right.
That makes perfect sense to me. But since we're dealing with the government, where sense is sometimes optional, I decided to ask them for clarification via E-mail. Hopefully the response will be a get-out-of-pokie free card for those riding in the Yuba Pass area. :)
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Postby Ken » Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:42 pm

Sense is totally optional.


He was calling us in, just to check for warrants. He let us go.
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Postby scotte » Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:28 pm

I don't know about access on quads, or even access these days with all the restrictions, but we used to snowmobile (this was almost 20 years ago) across hwy49 from Bassetts, and from there you can loop up around to the pass. You can even get to Jackson Meadow Lake and beyond.

You mentioned between Downieville and Yuba Pass. Did you mean Sierra City? Just checking (Since Yuba Pass is much closer to Sierra City).

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Postby GrizzlyGuy » Sat Jul 14, 2007 11:17 am

Thanks for the info, scotte.

I'd be happy to make the crossing anywhere between Downieville and Yuba Pass, but riding straight across Yuba Pass would be the easiest. l usually unload at Little Truckee Summit and take the snowmobile route up to the top (FS 05, 15 and 12). From there, I've ridden all the way to Bowman Lake (via Meadow Lake Road) but Hwy 49 has had me blocked for going north.

Crossing at Sierra City would be fine, but I'm not sure if I can get down there from the south, and I don't know if that county road leaving town to the NW is legal for ATVs (at least the part down by town).

The day after Chadd posted, I sent a nice E-mail to the forest service (via the contact info on the TNF web site) asking for clarification or confirmation of what he said since it makes sense. I didn't get a reply. So Friday I called the Sierraville ranger station. The lady didn't know for sure, and said that if there is a Road Closed sign as I reported, I was right to stop until I heard otherwise. Thinking maybe they had forgotten to take down the winter sign, she referred me to someone at Truckee ranger station. I called him, left a message, but haven't heard back yet.

I may just drive down to the Truckee ranger station on Monday or Tuesday and refuse to leave until I can get a straight answer to what seems like a real simple question. :lol:
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Postby Ken » Sun Jul 15, 2007 12:32 am

Haven't heard back.


Just another case of the pathetic state of the USFS....We all have to obey their nearly invisible rules, and they can't even return a phone call for clarification. The only worse than the USFS....is BLM and the only thing worse than them, is the IRS.
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Postby GrizzlyGuy » Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:42 am

Yeah Ken, I know what you mean. I'll bet that most of us try real hard to respect their rules and laws, but it's kind of hard to do that when it isn't clear as to exactly what they are in the first place.

There does seem to be a difference between the FS out here and the FS out in Utah, such as Fishlake NF. It is easy to get good info from the ranger stations out there, their signage and maps are better/clearer, and some of the FS folks even hang out on the forums like ATVUtah to answer questions and keep everyone up to date on changes. Out there the FS seems to be pro-OHV, and out here I kind of wonder if they want us on OUR lands at all.

But the more I research this, the more I'm convinced that Chadd is spot-on. I found this expired forest order that probably explains the sign being originally placed years ago. I can't find any other orders closing that road, and there were plenty of tire tracks on it when I was there. So I may just give it a whirl and take my chances with the judge if they ticket me.

I do have to give our BLM boys kudos, though. We've got a hang gliding launch that's been used for 25 years or more up at Hat Creek on BLM land. Each year the pilots would whack enough bushes and weeds out of the way to be able to launch quasi-safely. Then one day the BLM contacted the Chico hang gliding club and asked them if they would like that launch improved for free. Apparently the BLM was looking to *expand* the public use of their lands instead of restrict it.

Naturally the club said yes, and actually got to help plan/design what the BLM was going to do. They brought in equipment and made a nice graveled parking area that any car can now get to (used to be just a 4x4 track to launch), knocked down bushes and a few trees by launch, installed a toilet, and hauled in more dirt/gravel to make a nice dirt ramp. Now it is much safer for paragliders who need more room than we do, and much less annual weed/bush whacking is needed. This place is now one of the most popular flying sites in Northern California, so the BLM did good on that one. :)
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Postby Ken » Sun Jul 15, 2007 11:31 am

It's very strange that the USFS service here in Tahoe is so whacky, and Utah is not nearly as much...although that's changing...as several trails closed this year in Moab.

The only way to advance in the USFS, is to move....so consequently, in our area, the Forest Supervisor is a new guy...and he's not from around here. In some ways that's good...but in most ways it's bad...because these newbies, have no idea the history of California wilderness...really have no clue the significance of the Rubicon or Fordyce area to us USERS of land we own as members of our country.
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Postby Chadd » Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:05 pm

Ken wrote:It's very strange that the USFS service here in Tahoe is so whacky, and Utah is not nearly as much...although that's changing...as several trails closed this year in Moab.

The only way to advance in the USFS, is to move....so consequently, in our area, the Forest Supervisor is a new guy...and he's not from around here. In some ways that's good...but in most ways it's bad...because these newbies, have no idea the history of California wilderness...really have no clue the significance of the Rubicon or Fordyce area to us USERS of land we own as members of our country.
Both the Lassen and the Plumas are getting new forest suprivisors. The lady sup that the Plumas is getting is from Moab so that might be a good thing for OHV's.
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Postby GrizzlyGuy » Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:27 pm

On Sunday, I went out and did a little field investigation on the 'Road Closed' sign at Yuba Pass. I could find nothing in the Forest Orders closing it, and the FS wasn't clear on the situation when I called around and asked. Anyhooo...

Off I went from Little Truckee Summit and made a high-speed beeline to Yuba Pass. I looked at the tire tracks going in/out of that road, and they all appeared to be light truck or passenger car radials. Not the type expected on 4x4 vehicles, ATVs or motorcycles, so unlikely this was going to be just a trail that would be closed per fire restrictions.

I waited along Hwy 49 for about 10 minutes, hoping to flag down a FS truck so I could say "Hey, watch this!" as I did what I was going to do next. That would give them an easy opportunity to ticket me if it really was closed. No FS trucks came by. Oh well, I tried. :)

I hit the gas, waved at the sign, and headed north. Here is what I found at the other end of this road:

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Looks like a normal/legal FS road to me. No 'Road Closed' signs anywhere to be seen. In fact, there were many other signs in that area directing traffic from the north to use that route to get back to Yuba Pass:

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Neat. So now I was real-real danged sure that this is a legal route. :)

Having come that far, I decided to go on out and see Gold Lake. Beautiful country along the way there:

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I rode right into the campground at Gold Lake, having crossed Gold Lake Highway via FS28 (which begins right there). Got a lot of strange looks from the campers even though I cruised through at 5 mph, but I didn't care. It is a nice lake:

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The campers must have had a good time that weekend, just look at how much trash they neatly stacked in and on the dumpster:

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Took a side trip up to Mills Peak. Neat place. Looks like a great place to launch a hang glider. Maybe next time I'll bring mine:

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Old Glory was being proudly displayed by the FS guy (Dave) manning the tower:

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Great views from up there:

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The north side of Sierra Buttes still has snow:

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I'll be darned, I crossed into Plumas NF and hadn't realized it:

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On the way back, I did some exploring of various roads in the Haskell Peak area. Found a fancy bed-and-breakfast inn: :wink:

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That road heading north from Yuba Pass actually forks. The west fork is a snowmobile route, while the east fork is a nordic ski trail (really just a big wide road in summer). I rode the snowmobile route on the way out, then the nordic ski trail on the way back. The snowmobile route is a bit tighter and steeper (for a road), so was more fun:

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By the time I got back to Little Truckee Summit, I had put 103 new miles on my wife's special edition Grizzly. So now both grizzlies are good to go for the 200 mile first service (I put 95 miles on mine the day before).

If you want to see more pictures, you can go here and view the "103 Mile Ride - Gold Lake/Mills Peak" album:

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Postby Ken » Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:46 pm

Dang...Sweet ride. Gold Lake is nice. If you look at our photos...I know the guy who has the camp on the far side of the lake. Jimmy Reed.

Downieville to Gold Lake and back..is 94 miles. Great ride....and BETTER STAY OPEN. GRrrrr.
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Postby GrizzlyGuy » Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:39 pm

Ken wrote:Dang...Sweet ride. Gold Lake is nice. If you look at our photos...I know the guy who has the camp on the far side of the lake. Jimmy Reed.

Downieville to Gold Lake and back..is 94 miles. Great ride....and BETTER STAY OPEN. GRrrrr.
Yeah Ken, I saw those photos of the 2005 ride you guys did to Gold Lake from Downieville. I think that is the album with the famous Downieville Deputy shot, right? :lol:

So now my mission is to figure out how to get around that lake to go say hi to your friend Jimmy, then continue north or west. :wink: Hopefully you or someone else on here has the answer.

Here is my track log at Gold Lake:

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You can see how I came in then headed south through the campground. Right at the end of that track is the boat ramp and the pavement begins there. I didn't know if it was legal to keep heading around the lake on that pavement, I was getting lots more strange looks, so I retreated. :(

Per Google Earth, it only looks like about a mile of pavement, then dirt again. No help from the signs around the boat ramp area. But if I read "Vehicles on roads only" from this sign kind of loosely, then maybe I would have been OK(?):

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If I had made it to the dirt again, it looks like those would be trails that are closed per fire restrictions. But I don't know(?).

I was thinking of bringing some inflatable pontoons next time and seeing if I could get a tow across the lake from a ski boat. But there has to be an easier way, right? :lol:

I'd actually like to go all the way to Quincy. Someone told me at the ATV shop years ago that you could ride from Truckee to there. I forgot to ask HOW. So if I can crack Gold Lake, I might have a shot at it when fire restrictions end.

If I can bag Quincy, then maybe Oregon is possible. Gotta ride 'em while you still can, right? :lol:
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