Mountain Biking

Welcome to Mountain Bike Country.

For mountain bike riders, Nevada County is a year-round playground.

Lush forests, rivers and lakes provide the backdrop for a pleasant cruise or a healthy cycling workout.

For more information visit www.bonc.org.

Trails in and around Nevada City

The routes in this guide follow public roads. Please do not trespass or park your vehicle on private property. On the trail, yield to hikers and equestrians. Be friendly and set a good example for our sport. Ride safely & have fun!

1. EMPIRE MINE STATE PARK
Trailhead: West gate, at hilltop, off Empire St.
Distance: 1.5 to 10 miles
Total estimated climb: varies
Time of ride: varies
Season: Year around
Degree of difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate
3-6 Physical, 1-4 Technical
Wooded trails with easy to challenging terrain traverse California’s richest gold mine, on both sides of Highway 174. Trail maps are available at the park visitor center but don’t ride in the visitor center area. There is an admission charge at this gate. Please observe the “No Bikes” signs in some areas.

2. UPPER SOUTH YUBA TRAIL
Trailhead: South Yuba Camp
Distance: 18 miles, up and back
Total estimated climb: 1000+ feet
Time of ride: 2-3 hours
Season: Spring to Fall
Degree of difficulty: Intermediate+
4-6 Physical, 4-6 Technical

3. BANNER – JONES LOOP
Trailhead: Brunswick Basin
Distance: 20 miles
Total estimated climb: N/A
Time of ride: 2-3 hours
Season: All year, possible snow in winter
Degree of difficulty: Intermediate+
6 Physical, 3 Technical
This is a favorite mountain bike ride for road riders. From Brunswick Road, take Old Tunnel Road (behind Lucky’s) to Banner Lava Cap Road. Turn right, ride up Banner and out to Red Dog Road. Turn right toward Greenhorn Creek then right again at Tumbling Creek Road (old wooden sign). Continue down Meadow Way to Jones Ridge, turn right at Greenhorn and right again at Brunswick. Return to start.

4. GLACIER LAKE RIDE
Trailhead: Bowman Lake Road at Forest Road 18, or four miles up at Carr Lake.
Distance: 20 miles
Total estimated climb: 1200+ feet
Time of ride: 3 hours
Season: Late Spring to Fall
Degree of difficulty: Intermediate+
7 Physical, 7 Technical
Fun, challenging and beautiful high country ride in the Grouse Ridge Lakes Basin. Take Highway 20 east and Bowman Lake Road north. Park at Forest Road 18 or Carr Lake. Ride to Feeley and Round lakes (Trail 12E26). Follow signs to Milk Lake and Glacier Lake via Trail 13E13. Return the same way.

5. CHAMPION MINE ROAD
Trailhead: Nevada City
Distance: 7-10 miles
Total estimated climb: 300 ft.
Time of ride: 30 min. to 1 hour
Season: Year around
Degree of difficulty: Beginner-Intermediate
3 Physical, 2 Technical
Easy ride on gravel and dirt roads in the Deer Creek canyon. Ride out Factory Street (past Miners’ Foundry) to the pavement of Old Downieville Highway. Pass a few houses and take the first dirt road left. Stay high (right) at the steel gate. Ride to Newtown Road and return. Or turn right at Newtown, ride up to Highway 49 and right again on Old Downieville Highway. Return to town. A tougher alternative: From Newtown Road, cross Highway 49 and return to town via Country, Indian Flat and Cement Hill roads.

6. AUGUSTINE AGONY
Trailhead: Nevada City
Distance: 12 miles
Total estimated climb: 1800 feet
Time of ride: 3 hours
Season: Year around
Degree of difficulty: Advanced
7-10 Physical, 3-6 Technical
Ride up Cement Hill Road, turn right at Augustine Road and then keep left all the way down to the South Yuba River. After a swim, attempt to climb back out.

7. BANNER MOUNTAIN TRAIL
Trailhead: Nevada City
Distance: 10 miles
Total estimated climb: 800 feet
Time of ride: 1 to 1.5 hours
Season: Spring to Fall
Degree of difficulty: Intermediate.
4 Physical, 3 Technical
Start at Sacramento Street and the freeway. Ride Railroad Avenue past the Northern Queen Inn to Gold Flat Road. Turn left, then right on Gracie Road. Turn left at Banner Mountain Trail, pass the gun club and ride to the top of Banner Mountain. Return on pavement via Banner Lava Cap and Gracie roads or turn left at the top of Banner and return via Banner and Red Dog roads.

8. LOWER PIONEER TRAIL
Trailhead: Park at Harmony Ridge Market (mountain bikers invited) or at the horse staging area off Highway 20, one mile east, across from Lone Grave.
Distance: 10 miles
Total estimated climb: 500+ ft.
Time of ride: 1 to 1.5 hours
Season: Can be snowbound in winter
Degree of difficulty: 4 Physical, 4 Technical
Ride eastward on the Pioneer Trail, which runs parallel to Highway 20, on the north side. The trail offers wooded singletrack riding with a moderate climb in the eastbound direction. It is marked with small diamond plaques on trees. Ride to White Cloud Campground and return, or continue eastward to Upper Pioneer Trail for a longer ride.)
NOTE: The entire route has been developed and is maintained by a local equestrian group, the Gold Country Trails Council. Please extend every courtesy to folks on horseback.

9. UPPER PIONEER TRAIL
Trailhead: White Cloud Campground
Distance: 10 miles
Total estimated climb: N/A
Time of ride: 1 to 1.5 hours
Season: Can be snowbound in winter
Degree of difficulty: 6 Physical, 6 Technical
This trail parallels Highway 20 on the south side and drifts farther from the highway than the lower section. Ride to Skillman Campground and back, or for a longer ride, to Chalk Bluff Road and back. The trail is fairly rugged and mildly technical single-track, offering more challenging riding than the lower section. (This trail can be linked with the Lower Pioneer Trail for a longer ride.)
NOTE: The entire route has been developed and is maintained by a local equestrian group, the Gold Country Trails Council. Please extend every courtesy to folks on horseback.

10. CASCI RANCH LOOP
Trailhead: Five Mile House. Riders invited to park at Harmony Ridge Market.
Distance: 12+ miles
Total estimated climb: 1500 feet
Time of ride: 2 hoursSeason: Can be snowbound in winter
Degree of difficulty: Intermediate.
4-6 Physical, 3-4 Technical
Start near the Five Mile House. Follow the Pioneer Trail on the north side of the highway four miles east to Casci Ranch Road. Turn right. Descend to Scotts Flat Reservoir. Return to the Five Mile House via Scotts Flat Road.

11. BUCKEYE LOOP
Trailhead: Cascade Shores General Store
Distance: approx. 20 miles
Total estimated climb: N/A, very hilly
Time of ride: 2-3 hours
Season: Can be snowbound in winter
Degree of difficulty: Intermediate+
6 Physical, 3 Technical
Ride east on Quaker Hill Road, turn right on Greenhorn and right again on Buckeye Road. Cross Greenhorn Creek. Turn right on Red Dog Road, stay right to Quaker Hill and descend to Cascade Shores.
This route follows remote logging roads with few road signs and fewer people. Be equipped and begin early enough to complete the ride by dark.

12. SOUTH YUBA TRAIL
Trailhead: Round Mountain Trailhead, located off Round Mountain Road
Distance: 20 miles
Total estimated climb: 1000+ ft.
Time of ride: 2-3 hours
Season: Spring to Fall
Degree of difficulty: Intermediate+
6 Physical, 6 Technical
A fun and challenging single-track ride with views of the South Yuba River. At one time, the trail was posted as a clockwise riding circuit, but these days most riders seem to prefer a counter-clockwise direction. From Round Mountain, turn left at the South Yuba Trail, left at Lake Vera-Purdon Road, left again at Rector Road, left at Rock Creek Road and return on Round Mountain Road. Watch for poison oak along the trail. Trail review on mtbresource.com

Local Bike Shops & Outfitters

Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Shop
457 Sacramento Street
Nevada City, CA 95959
(530) 265-2187