Excelsior RxR Trail

Comments: Well this trail is for the person who likes to explore. This is a remote area with a gold mine, a creek wash and a narrow gage railroad grade. It's definitely not a manicured trail…this is rather rough! There are a few ways to do this ride. One would be to do the South Yuba Canal Trail and then hook into this trail to access the Pioneer Trail and Hwy. 20. That's a hard ride… I'll describe a loop and you can make variations of that when you are more familiar with the area and trails. There is 700 foot of climb in 9.5 miles on this short loop. If you do the South Yuba Canal trail with this ride its more like 18 miles and 1200 foot of climb. {Those two together are good combination and a good workout.}

Access: Well a good place to start is the Omega Rest Stop, which is 19 miles east of Nevada City on Hwy. 20. {Gold Country Road Map}

On The Trail: I don't have a map for this route yet but you can look at the S Yuba Canal Map and it has some of the route. I like to take the Pioneer Trail that runs east and west on the South side of Hwy. 20. Cross the highway at the rest stop, head a little toward Nevada City {west} and enter the forest. There is a trail here and a trail sign that sez "Pioneer Trail this way". Follow that and where you "T" into the Pioneer Trail take a left {east}. The trail climbs through clear cuts and after .5 mile you will see a left. {This is where the Pioneer trail crosses the highway and follows a dirt road.} Keep straight here to stay on single-track, and take the next left instead. You are on an alternate trail here that parallels the Pioneer Trail but is single-track. You will cross to the North side of the highway and this will continue over to Diamond Creek Road {also called Last Chance Road}. Where the single-track ends you come out on a dirt road {Pioneer Trail}, take a right and it's a short distance to Diamond Creek Road. Take a right on this road and drop down to Hwy. 20. You can see Excelsior Road on the other side of Hwy. 20 just a few hundred feet east {to the left}. Cross the Highway and get on Excelsior Road.

Drop down Excelsior Road keeping to the right the two major intersections. After the last intersection the road gets a little rougher and a little steeper. You drop through heavy forested areas and clear-cuts as you descend. There is a view spot at one point with views of the canyon, the valley, and the Bay area Coastal Mountains. Cool Spot. There is a set of wooden gateposts here but no gate. The road continues dropping. There is a small hill and a dry creek crossing. After passing that look for a road coming in on the right. A hundred feet before that on the right is the trailhead. {Picture}. Kinda hard to see, but look for some motorcycle tracks going up the road embankment. {If you miss it, you drop steeply down the hill to the South Yuba Canal.}

There is a small jump up from Excelsior Road to a rocky small flat and then you can see where the trail does 20 foot drop-in to the railroad grade. In .4 miles you will notice that you are riding over railroad ties on the railroad grade. It's a dense forest here with very large pine and fir trees. At about .7 mile you can see the creek down on the left through the trees. There is a small gully then at 1.3 miles into the trail you come to the bottom of a clear-cut. The trail winds uphill and around following the bottom edge of the clear-cut. {Just look around and you will see tracks. There is a big tree that fell that caused detour up and around it.} It's a rough section through here. At 1.5 miles you come to the North Fork Steephollow Creek crossing. {Picture}This is a wide wash with rocks and trees strewn about…and some nasty looking water. Must be a gold mine upstream. After the creek crossing you get back on the railroad grade. After breaking out into a clear-cut and a small jump, look for the small section of rail on a stump. You cross a small spring a couple miles into the trail. You have views of Excelsior Point passing through the clear-cut. At the 2.2 mile you come to a quartz gold mine. A cool climb on a thin ridge of mine tailings.} The trail is covered with pink, yellow, and white quartz rock{Picture}. After a bit there is a small gully you have to push your bike out of then you come around the point of the hill. There are motorcycle tracks going up the hill but we want to continue around the hill. The trail is faint here, it drops down a few feet and continues around the hill at the same level. A little fainter trail here and at 2.6 miles you pop out on a dirt road. {Picture} There is a logging road intersection here. Take a right on the main dirt road and head up that steep hill. .2 mile you crest the hill at a view spot. There is a sign here that sez Das Hafen 4. Probably the name of the gold mine you just road through because you are at the top end of it… Great views here. As you continue the road splits a short way up the hill, keep left, and then take the right immediately after that. {You can hear Hwy 20, it's very close.}It's a hundred feet to the Pioneer Trail and you will want to take a right {east} on it to head to the rest stop. It's a mile to the rest stop…look for where that trail comes in on the left {thats you were on earlier} that takes you over to the Omega Rest Stop. You have done approximately 700 foot of climb in 9.5 miles…wew, no wonder you are tired!

Trail Pictures 1 Trail Pictures 2 Trail Pictures 3

S.Yuba Canal & Excelcior RxR Movie wvm 574 KB.

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