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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hunter's Trail is 20mi of out-and-back singletrack along the Rubicon River 30mi east of Georgetown. (85mi east of Sacramento)

Complete photo set here:
https://www.pbase.com/jenn_dox/hunters

I failed to complete the 20mi out-and-back of Hunter's trail in my first 3 solo attempts. On June10, 2006 I recruited the help of Chris from Natomas Bike Shop in Sacramento to accompany on me fourth attempt. First off this attempt was more of an adventure than a ride. I estimate that we only rode about 80% of the 19.5mi of singletrack. The other 20% was either unrideable, washed out, too technical, too steep, too overgrown, or too exposed!

The 2 of us crashed several times including twice that made us sit down and contemplate turning back. In the end we made it too Hell Hole Reservoir and back. Although we ended the day battered, bruised and bloodied we both felt a major sense of accomplishment finishing the ride. Except for 1 fisherman at the bridge we saw nobody till we reached Hell Hole Reservoir.

Trail Report ->

(0mi - 4mi) Ellicott Bridge to Hales Crossing
The first 4 miles are fairly typical Gold Country singletrack. There are a few steep climbs, a half dozen creek crossings and several washed-out sections. If seemed as if we were climbing the whole way and felt like we rode 10mi when we reached Hales Crossing.

(4mi - 8.5mi) Hales Crossing to The Switchbacks
About 1mi past Hales Crossing we got the feeling that we were the first people on this section of trail this year. Much of the trail is overgrown and at times hard to follow. We probably removed 2 dozen fallen trees from the trail on this section alone. This section of trail is fairly flat and had at least two 1mi sections of flowing singletrack that was the best on the whole ride.

(8.5mi - 11.5mi) The Seven Switchbacks to Hell
This last section was simply brutal. A 1000ft climb in 1.5 miles at an almost constant 12-15% grade. Many times the singletrack was just a collection of football sized rocks. Once you get over the mountain there's a brief technical fireroad decent to a paved road that leads to the Reservoir. On the way back this section turned out to be one of the most technical downhill sections I have ever been on … certainly no place for a hardtail.

A few pics…

Trailhead


Rubicon River Valley


Singletrack


Woodpile


Rubicon River


Seven Switchbacks to Hell!


Hell Hole Reservoir


Spillway
 

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Nice Pics.

I used to fish that first 3-4 mile section with a buddy of mine. Great brown trout fishery...
Always wanted to head up there with my bike and ride as much of the Hunters trail as I could but never got the chance. Looks like quite the adventure and more than just a bike ride.

Thanks for the write up it got me interested in riding there again :cool:

OD
 

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Sweet

mtb_Canuck said:
Hunter's Trail is 20mi of out-and-back singletrack along the Rubicon River 30mi east of Georgetown. (85mi east of Sacramento)
Nice. I've ridden the section from Ellicots crossing but never made it anywhere near Hell Hole. The return trip back to the car is a blast, super fast swoopy singletrack. You said you thought you were the only one on that trail, that trail always feels that way. I don't think it sees much use, it could definitely use a little more MTB traffic.
 

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mtb_Canuck said:
I estimate that we only rode about 20% of the 19.5mi of singletrack. The other 20% was either unrideable, washed out, too technical, too steep, too overgrown, or too exposed!

The 2 of us crashed several times including twice that made us sit down and contemplate turning back. In the end we made it too Hell Hole Reservoir and back. Although we ended the day battered, bruised and bloodied we both felt a major sense of accomplishment finishing the ride. Except for 1 fisherman at the bridge we saw nobody till we reached Hell Hole Reservoir.
Hey man, 20% + 20% is only 40%.

If that stuff was too technical for you and y'all crashed several times, then it must be waaaaay hard. Cause you can ride man!! Bet that big cooler of yours was a welcome sight at the end.

francois
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks man … I corrected my math! We rode 80% of the trail. You’re right my cooler was a welcomed sight … and it was well stocked too. Good thing, because the trailhead is about 35mi from civilization.
 

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Heeeeeeey, cool, I haven't seen or heard of/from Chris in a long time. Nice to see him out and about....

Bigboulder's try'd to lead us on a ride up there a couple times but other rides have always developed. Your pics are enticing and I've got a feeling our group may be adding some tracks out there soon.

Thanks for the ride report. :thumbsup:
 

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I just rode this trail yesterday... what an awesome trail! I didn't have time to go up the switchbacks to Hell Hole, but will go back and get 'er done another time.

Parts of the trail remind me of the 2nd Divide and Lavezolla Creek... very nice.

Thanks for moving fallen trees... the trail was pretty clear (other than some overgrowth).

Note: I had intended to camp by the Rubicon River (at the bottom of the dirt road below the bridge), but new Forest Service regulations have closed that perfectly good dirt road. It's a $175 fine if you're caught down there.

If anyone with a sense of adventure (cause that's what this ride is) is planning on doing this ride, please let me know as I'd like to join up. Thanks.
 

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September 2013 Update

Old thread bump! Sept. 2013 Update.

It's been - gulp - 7 years since I hunted out Hunters Trail. I hadn't thought about this trail in a long time, until I saw it was being utilized in Sean Allan's California Sierra Trail Race. I remember liking it, but I didn't have time to "finish" it by going up the nasty switchbacks to Hell Hole Reservoir. I set out on Saturday to give 'er a go, hoping time hadn't been too rough on this little known trail, but figuring if Sean routed his race on it, it couldn't be too bad.

I was pleasantly surprised that the trail was in great shape. There's evidence of deadfall being cut out, and there really was only one downed tree to go over... unlike the Spaulding Lake trail (forest section), where there's a tree every 38 feet to go over. Whatever washouts may have existed are all very passable and the trail was very easy to follow. I think the MX guys are keeping this trail alive :thumbsup:

My trip report/ride summary:

The first 8 miles (uphill direction, towards Hell Hole Res.) to the switchbacks are pretty straight forward... some short, steep climbs mixed in with gradual climbing as well as level or slightly downhill recovery sections. A handful of short HAB sections where it's either a little too steep and loose, or just a little too technical. Nothing terrible. Trail bed is mostly great. Forest greenery is great. Minimal views of the Rubicon River (I did not take any side trails to the river). Gnats were awful.

To keep the ride "fun", turning around where it gets steep and enjoying the descent is a good call (and a solid 16+ mile out and back)

To suffer, head a mile and change up the rocky switchbacks... you'll likely walk a lot, but there are some rideable sections too. When you hit a junction (about mile 10), the trail goes to the right, to Hell Hole. I made the mistake of staying left, climbing another mile on some crappy, rocky, fire road width "trail". Gnats were even worse.

Since coming back down from the top was relatively fun, if I could do this again, I'd like to shuttle this spot and just enjoy the 12+ mile descent to Ellicott Bridge, taking some side trips on the way down.

One of the few open views of the Rubicon River:


Around the rock we go:


Example of one of the short HAB's on the way up:


Where I topped out (right here):


From the above photo (Road 21 on Point Ridge), I went back down a hundred yards and picked up nice singletrack (riders left) that meandered over to Hell Hole Rd. Before I got to the road, I dropped my bike and walked through the woods briefly to get a nice view of Hell Hole:


After carefully going down the loose, rocky road, some fun sections opened up nicely:


In the event someone actually is inspired to ride this after reading this TR, here's where you can avoid the crappy climb to the top (this was taken when I came back down):


Still above the rocky switchbacks, the trail was fun. The old sign on this tree says the trail was once called "Long John Trail":


Hell Hole Flow Trail:


A selfie on the flow:


Then things get chunky:


mtb_canuck said there are 7 switchbacks... I think I counted 11:


iPhone action cam... do you feel the speed? ;)


There are lots of these relatively level cruiser sections, which are nice:


A neat section of trail:


Lots of Jurassic/Mendo moments with the green canopy and loamy dirt:






If I get giardia, it's from this spring:


The end. No bungee jumping:


Next time out there, I'd like to also give the Ellicott Trail a shot. I didn't have time on Saturday, but scoped it out a bit. It's there. Could be a neat 4-5 mile DH.


p.s. Brent/mtb_canuck - if you read this, I hope all is well!!
 

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nicely done empty!

If you stay south of the spillway, there is some fun technical singletrack that climbs east, up and around the reservoir. I don't know how far it goes, as it gets pretty tough to follow in the winter months.

Thanks for the trail report!
 

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Nice work Jeff. As usual very nice report/pics. We only go down the trail in the trail race, but many did that trail in the dark with under 400 lumens total, gnarly.....

My scouting of Ellicotts trail was that it was a no-go going up and pretty faint coming down in places, that was a year or two ago. I didn't feel it worthy of adding to the race, lots of trees down at that time.

There is also a trail that comes down to Parsley Bar from the south side that is pretty sketchy, it comes from NE of Loon Lake via some roads and such, I'll see if I have a GPX for it, definitely an Empty Beer kinda ride..... The motos are in fact keeping Hunters open, I've met a couple out there with saws on the back of their motos, very cool.

The trail on the south side of Hell Hole( Hell Hole Trail) was covered in downed trees last I was on it, I mean hundreds... Too bad, I had ridden that many years ago to the back of the lake, up and over Mckinstry Peak to the Rubicon OHV and back, wonderfully technical HAB type of ride. I tried it from the back of the Rubicon/McKinsty Peak trail last year and was turned around within a few hundred yards, really nothing left of it even at the top where you can drive right to it. F-ing Forest Service.....

I do believe the face gnats were put on this earth to make me miserable. Pretty much 20 hours of them last weekend, they really didn't go away till nearly 6000' and at that I had some at the lake in the morning. God I hate those damn things....
 

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James- hopefully it's not another 7 years before I get back there! This was a last minute audible, as I overslept and missed a Tahoe ride.

Red- I was going to ask you more about the Hell Hole trail along the lake, but I think Sean just answered it.

Sean- In eyeballing ways to hit Hunters in the future from the top, I was looking at going from Loon to McKinstry Tr. to Hell Hole Trail... but one blog I found from '08 makes McKinstry sound awful/gone... you confirmed that :bluefrown:

Two moto pals went to check out Ellicott on Sunday. I had told them that I hiked a little down from the top, and little in from the side (Road 2), and a little up from the bottom and deemed that the trail is being used by motos (as evidenced by tire tracks and recent brushing). They explored from the top and from a couple entries off Road 2, but turned back as it was a little too much for their motos (and one huge tree down). They thought an mtb could probably have some fun on it though.

Also, after they went up Hunter, they came back on Road 21 (Point Ridge, I think) since they were running late. I was curious if that would be a good way to ride up to the top... they said it would suck because the dirt was so deep. Bah. I guess the best way to hit Hunter is as an out and back (or shuttle :))

I see the South Fork Trail and Parsley Bar trail on the map, but since Parsley basically gets you to Hunter trail, unless someone told me it was WAY better than Hunter, that's probably one I'll avoid.

I was thinking ear plugs for the gnats...
 

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Sean probably went alot farther on Hell Hole Trail than I did, but I went last winter and saw no downed trees. I probably only went in ~2mi.

If other people are reading this, please post more trail reports! They are truly appreciated!
 

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Sean probably went alot farther on Hell Hole Trail than I did, but I went last winter and saw no downed trees. I probably only went in ~2mi.

If other people are reading this, please post more trail reports! They are truly appreciated!
Maybe it's been cleared, I was in there 2 years ago and no way I made it two miles without being off my bike a significant amount of time. That would be really cool if it had been cleared out.
 

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oh man this brings back memories...I last rode Hunter's Trail around 2006 - 2007 as well. Remember it very well, because when I got back to my car at the staging area it had a completely flat tire..doh!

Anyway, I completely forgot about this trail...thanks for digging it back up!
 
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