Eagle Bird Drop

Comments: This trail follows an old mining road that used to service the Eagle Bird Mine and probably the mines in the Maybert area too. They probably hauled the machinery and timbers needed for the mines down this steep, and rocky road. This is an extremely hard descent…even the 4-wheelers don't come down here any more. There are a lot of rocks and springs crossing and running down this steep trail. The areas you pass through are spectacular and very dramatic visually. The river is pristine and very cold except for the hottest months. {It's just a few miles to Spalding Dam so it says cool.} This is a very heavily mined area 100 years ago and there are mineshafts and other mining artifacts scattered along the trail route. Most of the mines are on private property so just look but don't take.
Access And Starting Tips: A good place to start for this ride is the Omega Rest Stop off Hwy 20. The rest stop is 19 miles east of Nevada City on Hwy 20. {Here's a Gold Country Map to get you there.} You might consider parking a car in Washington for a shuttle if you start at the rest stop…this will save you 2200 ft of climb after a hard ride.
{I also like to do the Omega Drop-in or the Old Omega Road and then ride up Omega Road to Diamond Creek Road to access Eagle Bird Mine Trail. Less climbing this way}
On The Trail: Well I'm starting this loop at the Omega Rest Stop, and from here cross the Hwy 20 to access the Pioneer Trail. Take a right {east} on the Pioneer Trail heading uphill. Continue past the first left. {That's the Pioneer trail but that section not single-track.} I usually take the second left and cross the Hwy 20 to the North side where the single-track continues for less than a mile. Take a right when you pop out on a dirt road {Pioneer Trail}, and continue a few hundred feet to Diamond Creek Road.
Take a left here, on Diamond Creek Road, and start your climb up Last Chance Mountain. It's not too steep but it does climb 500 ft. Keep to the left till after you crest the hill. At the top I usually like to take in the great views of the Diamond Creek and S. Yuba watershed. Drop down the hill…it's a very fast downhill. After a about a mile you notice a creek on your left. The road to the left crossing this creek goes to the Last Chance Mine. {The mine was being worked a few years ago but I don't think it is now. Some buildings and machinery are there still. The price of gold is too low for to be profitable. Looks like they ran out of cash, logged it and split.}
Continue on Diamond Creek for another mile. Look for a road coming in on the right that is fairly level and wide near the road. {There is a rock the size of a Volkswagen on the far end}. {Road Picture}This is the Eagle Bird Road. Take a right here and the road descends.
For those folks coming from Omega Road there is a bit of steep climbing before you come to the Eagle Bird Road intersection. It's about a mile past where you crossed Diamond Creek and that 4 corners intersection.
Take Eagle Bird Road and after a half mile and look for a canal and take a right here after passing the canal. You follow the canal for a ways and pass over it again in a clear-cut as you climb up Eagle Bird Road. At the "Y" intersection keep to the right. {There is a tree in the middle of the "Y"} Look on the right next to the road there is a sinkhole…{Picture}and another one down the way. It's a little more than a mile to the Gold Bug Mine and cabin. {Cabin Picture}This is private property so be aware. There are tailing piles and mine shafts here.
After passing the cabin the road gets steeper, and you do a switchback to the left. You come to a gate and you want to switchback to the right here at the gate and follow the primitive road. The road is more of a trail at this point and starts descending very steeply with springs flowing down the trail. {Trail Picture}The scenery is very beautiful and dramatic. You are ridding through a thick forest with glimpses of the canyon. There are 9 switchbacks as you descend this mossy, rocky, wet trail. Near the bottom of the drop there is one switchback that overlooks the canyon and the mine. There is a mineshaft on this corner if you aren't too tired to look. {Picture}You can also see where they brought the water along the canyon from Lake Spaulding if you look for the evidence. This is a beautiful vista point.
Eventually you reach the bottom of the canyon. {A friend of mine told me at this point that that wasn't a trail we just rode…it was a pile of rocks!!!}
Take a right and head upstream here to view what's left of Eagle Bird Mine. When you have had enough go back to where you were {bottom of the canyon} and head downstream {west}. There isn't much of a trail, and the beginning is kinda hard to see, but this is the old roadbed. {Trail Picture}You need to keep to the left when in doubt and the trail hugs the canyon edge. {There is a spot along the river here where the river does a waterfall…I'm not telling where and you will have to look for it}.
You will pass an old car, continue on and you eventually will come to a spot where you can drop down the riverbank and rock hop across the river. This spot is right above where the old Maybert Bridge washed out and you can see the old concrete ends if you look.
After crossing the river head downstream a little towards the old bridge. This is where Maybert road ends…or starts for us. {It's probably less than a mile from the mine to the river crossing and Maybert Road.}
You will pass the Jolly Boy mine right off {they have a big glory hole in the middle of the river that they work}. From here the road drops and rolls down the canyon following the river to Washington. Its about 7 miles to Washington and there is a bar and a country store there to help you recover. Lets hope you have a shuttle in town or it's a long ride back up the hill.
Well I hope you enjoy the ride, The Fish

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