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Hey Kids,

I'm heading out to Letts Lake in the Mendocino National Forest in a couple of weeks to go camping and was wondering if anyone has been out there before and if there is any good riding? Not looking for anything crazy because the people I'm going with are just recreational riders and don't have a lot of MTB experience.

Thanks in advance!!
 

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Ah, yes! I love Letts Lake! Been there many times. I've always taken my skis though.

https://thebackcountry.net/bb/viewtopic.php?t=342&highlight=
Most of the pictures are on page 2

I know the area well. I biked to the summit of Snow Mountain one time, but got busted by the Forest Service when they found my pictures posted on line (doh!). Check out the motorcyle trails down by Fouts Springs. A good ride would be to ride to the top of St. John Mountain.
Don't forget to bring your fishing pole. The bass are small but plentiful. And very tasty!
Just for kicks, try having a conversation with the old man caretaker. He and his wife are very nice, but the guy has a serious speech impedement. The conversation can be very amusing! No offense to the poor guy. They really are very nice folks.



Be sure and ride this loop.
https://www.fs.fed.us/r5/mendocino/recreation/trails/all/b-letts/
Most of the riding is on forest roads. Don't be dismayed though, it is nice and cool up there on a hot day and the scenery is epic.
Be sure to take a hike to the waterfall on the north side. Take the M10 from the Summit Springs TH and head towards Upper Lake. Turn right onto the M3 and park at the West Crockett TH.
https://www.fs.fed.us/r5/mendocino/recreation/trails/all/b-letts/
https://images.google.com/imgres?im...s?q=stony+creek+waterfall&svnum=10&um=1&hl=en

 

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I camped at Letts Lake about 10 years ago... brought my bike with the intention of doing some exploring, but had a major mechanical that cut riding real short. However, I recall the area as being potentially awesome for mt. biking. What I did ride was excellent (the trails on/around Miners Ridge)... these are primarily MX trails, so they have been carved out nicely (but you gotta be wary of the MXers!). I went on Memorial Day Weekend and the trails were moist and packed down nicely too... but I imagine they can get pretty loose & dusty (a la bottom of Toads Wild Ride) in the summer. The place has always been in the back of my mind, but with the Sierra so close to me, I haven't gone back for further exploration.

For your group swtballer, you probably want to stick to that Letts Lake Loop and maybe some Miner Ridge, like jibmaster said.

However.... I'm curious if anyone here has done the big rides I see on my map. Done as a shuttle, they look like they could be sweet:

Ride 1: Letts Lake ---> Trail 15/Miner Ridge (5.5 mi) ---> Trail 20/North Trough (8.8 mi) or Trail 22/South Trough (6.2 mi) ---> Fire Road 25/Hornets Nest Ridge (1.9 mi) ---> Trail 28/Hornets Nest Grove (6.7 mi) ---> to Wolf Creek Staging Area (bottom of the mountain)... shuttle back up. That's 23+/- miles! There are also several off-shoots that look good on the map too (Trails 40, 31, 38 & 39)

Ride 2: Letts Lake ---> 15/Miner Ridge ---> 04/Fence Line (6.5 mi) ---> 06/Lady Bug (5.5 mi) ---> any combo of Trails 33/43/36/35 (2-3 mi) ---> 32/Letts Ridge (6.2 mi) ---> to Fouts Springs.... then up Fire Road 34/Potato Hill (3.9 mi)... and back to Letts Lake. That's over 30+/- miles (less if shuttled).

If the riding is good and not too torn up by MXers, I really think this place could be fun... probably best in the spring and fall. So... does anyone have beta? Jibmaster... your thoughts?
 

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Other than your poach of Snow Mt :)thumbsup:), have you mt. biked much on the MX trails? Are they hammered from MX, or are they rideable/fun? Ever linked a top-to-bottom ride (Trough Springs Ridge to Wolf Creek Staging Area or Fouts Springs)? Or, do you not want to let a secret out?
Thanks. Nice ski reports, by the way. Very cool.
 

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I have not biked there before. My guess is that the moto trails would be good to ride, even if they are somewhat loose. I did ride some of the moto trails at Hull Mt. one time.
http://thebackcountry.net/bb/viewtopic.php?t=138&highlight=
They were loose and rocky up by the summit, but down lower the trails were smooth and loamy. The trails around Fouts Springs look really rideable. This thread is making me want to head up that way this summer with the bike.
I did ride to the summit of St. John Mountain one time with a backpack full of ski gear. The gate at the bottom is locked during the winter.:rolleyes: The ride down was a blast.

Snow Mountain is a very special place. There is a power there that can't be described.
Simply hiking to the summit - takes about 5-6 hours round trip - is incredible.
Now I'm going for sure!
 

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I'm going to explore this place this weekend, setting up camp at Letts Lake. If any adventurous/hearty riders want to join us, let me know... otherwise I'll report back.

It looks like it could be really fun:

Twisty and turny?

Open and fast?


Tight and buffed?


Ridge riding?
 

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The trails are ohv, you are going to be on the look out for OHV all day long. Not bad, just be aware. It is possible the best ohv area in the state, now that clear creek is gone(so they say) I ride Stonyford alot. . for pure insanity go down 40, 32 or 26
Don't fall in love with the place, this is one of the last truely great places to ride OHV, MTB are surely welcome but remember it is an ohv park and it will always be. Like it for what it is.

I have never seen a MTB on the trails and ( sorry for this attitude) hope it stays that way.

Honestly, the main OHV trails aren't really suited to MTB travel, better for vehicles with 10+ inches of suspension a "air polluting, stink belching, noisy " dirt bikes.

I couldn't bring myself to go to a dirt bike mecca and want to pedal, and I love to pedal, as much as I love to twist the throttle.

Kinda like bringing a knife to a gun fight.

With that being said your above routes would be fun. might want to consider dropping the 28 trail, some major climbs and very dry and hot. Instead drop down 40 at the end of 20 or follow 30 down the m5 and dropp down into davis flat.

28 and 27 are best ridden in the winter, when there is moisture in the dirt.

32 and 36 are the shiznit
 

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Finally! Someone that knows the lay of the land speaks up! Thank you Zekedawg. I'm fully aware that it's an OHV haven and will respect it accordingly. I'm not in any way, shape or form trying to disrupt the MX way there... just interested in doing something different and adventurous.

Fortunately, it's fairly easy to hear the motos coming when riding a bicycle... in time to get out of their way! I do expect them to be coming a little quicker and more frequently than what I'm used to seeing in Downieville, the Rubicon, Wrights Lake, and around Silver Lake though. Where there are motos, there are usually good trails :thumbsup:

I figure everything is rideable enough, as long as it's not 6" of sand/dust/loosness (which is my biggest concern) Whether it's epic, or "fun-enough", or lame on a Nomad is to be determined...

If it totally sucks, I'll hike up Snow Mountain :)

Thanks a ton for you input.

p.s. Any idea what trail the youtube video I posted is?
 

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ZEKEDAWG said:
Honestly, the main OHV trails aren't really suited to MTB travel, better for vehicles with 10+ inches of suspension a "air polluting, stink belching, noisy " dirt bikes.
Zekedawg, thanks for the input. (gal pal of otbp chiming in) Are most of the trails like what otbp posted in the pics and video? Those look smooth, twisty, fun. Are there really technical spots? I am always up for adventure, I just don't want to do 24 miles of hike a bike. I don't mind technical either but I am wondering if you can compare some of the technical riding to other mtb trails you have ridden. Just want to know if I would be in for an epic ride or an epic meltdown. They don't call me badjenny for nothin'. ;)
 

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http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/mendocino/recreation/ohv/maps/grindstone.pdf

There is a map for you. 20, 22. the "teens" trails is where i would ride a MTB. Stay away from the Little Stony side of the ridge. VERY steep would be a one way ride down...not going to be a fun hike back up. Going down 32 looping back around 34/43 etc.. pick and choose from there might be a fun try out loop. If you go into knowing that you may not be able to ride everything you'll have a fun time. Avoid holiday weekends...its hot and dusty in the summer.
 

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None of the trails are technical enough to be unrideable, only too steep to pedal. and LONG

Trail 26 climbs almost 2000 in about 1.5 miles. fun on a dirtbike, murder on a MTB. The mid elevation stuff is nice single track(ohv style) which means quad trails, but bermed and packed. from the 30,m5, 40 , 20 intersection up is primo. the 21, 26 27,28 little stony side, i would avoid on MTB. steep and loose shale rock. the upper stuff like 4, 6 across the top is all 4000 ft + in elevation to less trees and more exposed (ie last pic)

The first pic looks like 47 looking up to where it hits25?? or 26??? these are fast trails, 30+ mph on a moto bike.

the middle pick is representative of the 20/22/15/32/36 type riding.

as RX says the teens area is awesome.
 

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trail 36


trail 28.steeper than it look here.


Video looks like trail 6 or 4 across the top

Shuttle up m10 or m5, ideally a personl with a quad or rhino style machine could get you into the heart of the best riding.
 

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Headed out to Letts Lake on Friday with aspirations to ride/explore the Stonyford area for 3 days. Mother Nature rained on our parade and froze our booties, so we only did one ride on Saturday morning before bailing. It was awesome.

We parked at the Deafy Glade trailhead on M-10 and rode up a mile or so to #33... climbed up 33 and took 32 all the way down to the bottom... then pedaled 4+ miles back up M-10 to the truck. Only about 14 miles total, but very fun :thumbsup:

We only saw about 10 dirt bikers and had no close calls... they were very easy to hear. One guy did stop to ask Bad Jenny "if this was any place for a bicycle?" :skep:

Letts Lake:


Rope swing:


Climbing Trail 33... yeah, Bad Jenny rode her singlespeed :eek:


Some parts were steep... trail 33 would have been so much fun to go down!:


Through the forest:


Going downhill:


More goodness:


Just before I hit a whoop-dee-doo and t-boned a manzanita :D


Rollercoaster:


Steep and muddy! Very fun section. There were about 10 of these drops over a mile or so:


I lost my front wheel :(


Psyche! :lol:


Out of the forest and onto the ridge above Davis Flat:


Smokin' fast section:


Water crossing at the bottom:


End of the fun... before the 4 mile climb back to the truck:


I'll get back to explore more!
 

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This ride was so fun, definitely different than our usual riding. The climbs were brutal on the SS, short steep grunts that just seemed to go and on. The payoff was worth it. Most of the downhill was fun and swoopy. Very (scary) steep in spots. The ridge riding was the best, good views and super fun.

The only part that had me cursing was the pic below. The pic does not do justice to show how steeeeep that part was. It was covered with about 2 inches of mud over hard pack. I felt like I was ice skating. I chose to walk most of that out of sheer terror. That was where I surprised a moto who out of astonishment at seeing a bike out there asked me "if it was any place for a bicycle". He said "I don't even like riding this section when it is like this". That made me feel better about walking it. ;)

All in all a very fun challenging ride. All the moto's were friendly. Hopefully we can go back to explore when the weather is better. Lett's Lake was the perfect swimming/lounging lake. Great spot to spend a weekend, I highly recommend it!!

 
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