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Trinity Alps
Ride the Wilderness
roads of Northern california

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Trinity Alps
Ride the Wilderness
roads of Northern Califor
nia

Highlights: Highway 20 • Highway 1Alderpoint RdRuth Zenia Rd • Van Duzen Rd • Highway 36Highway 3 • Stewart Springs Rd • Gazelle Callahan RdCallahan Cecilville RdSawyers Bar RdSalmon River RdHighway 96Highway 299 • Maple Creek Rd • Butler Creek Rd • Kneeland Rd

 

Route planning for a new motorcycle tour often starts with the simple question of 'What if?' What if we planned a super-twisty route through the most remote regions of the Northern California Wilderness.

Could we do that?  What if we could?

If your image of California in your mind’s eye is that of suburban homes so close together, you can jump rooftop to rooftop, clogged freeways, and smoggy skies, you need to get out more. Or just get as far away from all that as possible. We know a place.

The Trinity Alps is a mountain range in Siskiyou County and Trinity County, in Northern California. They are a subrange of the Klamath Mountains and located to the northwest of Redding. The Trinity Alps Wilderness covers 517,000 acres, making it the second largest wilderness area in California...

Now, as a motorcyclist, translate that...

 If you are a rider, it translates like this: It means deserted roads in remote areas that follow rivers, creeks, and streambeds. It means mountain peaks that frame the horizon, roads that carve around peaks, up and over, curves that last for miles gently arcing along rushing rivers that flow into wide valleys of farmland framed by more mountaintops.

You have to experience it ... and if you like mountain riding, keep reading...Our destination is the

Trinity Alps...

West of Willits is one of the most delicious motorcycle roads in the Coast Range no one talks about. You have to experience it. No book or description, no pic set nor program will supply you the true sensation of riding up and over the Coastal Range out to the ocean. And this tour sets off to provide you an immediate shot in the arm. Remember that reason you bought the motorcycle in the first place. That’s our destination. I want to go there!

But first... let’s cover some basics.

The tour group gathers in Willits. And our destination for today is Weed, two places not close, or related in any way.  We’ll ride Highway 20 out to the ocean, onto Highway 1 and through the Leggett section, likely the curviest stretch of road in the state. All before lunch.

Does Highway 36 ever get old? Not likely, but we'll make things a bit more interesting and throw in a few single lane backroads, connecting Alderpoint and the ghost town of Zenia, as we make our way northward through the Trinity National Forest, then further northward over Hayfork Pass towards the Trinity Alps and to the edges of Trinity Lake - one of the largest lakes in the state.

The Racetrack...

Day 2 begins with Gazelle Mountain Summit bumping nearly over 5000 ft, and we'll make a beeline for a road we affectionately call, "The Racetrack". There's a reason for that title, but you have to see it to believe it. Why is this road even here? We don't know either.

But it was built for riders, swooping & bending up and over 6100 ft and across the range pushing deeper into the Trinity Alps range and into the Marble Mountain Wilderness to Forks of Salmon all leading to the Etna Mountain Summit at nearly 6000 Ft.

You can't have mountains without valleys, and our ride dumps us into the Scott Valley, a narrow but lengthy valley full of bucolic cattle ranches dating to the 1860s. These flat mountain valleys are connected by rivers, and the Scott River allows our escape to our next destination.

Klamath River Run on the Bigfoot Scenic Byway...

Highway 96 is one of the longest river roads in the state, spanning over 150 miles of non-stop curves, it hugs the banks of the Klamath River across a very sparely populated region of the state curving around the Marble Mountain Wilderness. Originating in Oregon and at a total length of 257 miles, the Klamath River drains 16,000 square miles. It's one of the few rivers that flows towards the mountains, rather than out.

Plans were proposed in the 1950s to reverse the flow of the Klamath River and send the water via a tunnel under the mountains into the Sacramento Valley and on to Los Angeles. Thankfully, that idea never gained much traction, and we're left with a motorcycling destination unlike any other in the state. We'll follow Highway 96 for 2/3rds its length out to the Pacific Ocean through the heart of Bigfoot country.

Rolling past Klamath RV Riverside Park hand on hip, there’s not much in Orleans, named by miners as Orleans Bar. Orleans is about 20 miles southeast of the site of the famous Patterson–Gimlin film of a purported Bigfoot. You know, that 1960s grainy clip of Bigfoot walking along that creek. Just up the road.

Universal Truth...

There’s a universal truth to every rider we've ever met. Show us a mountainous ridgeline, slap down a paved ribbon of black across its spine, and we'll deliver you a crate full of smiles. Not too complicated. Bald Hills Rd climbs through ancient redwood trees, up and over two ridgelines out to the Pacific Ocean. No towns, few people, and not much of anything out here. Everyone has since gone home and left us some fantastic riding to round out our weekend. Three miles of this road are not paved, but we think once you ride Bald Hills Rd, you'll agree it was worth it.

But wait! There's more...

We love our ocean. We really do, The NorCal coastline has been compared to various other ocean coastlines around the world. There are many like it, but this one is ours. We've been riding along its shores for 20 years, and we never tire of those endless waves, cool temps and magazine cover vistas. Highway 1 is outside our door, and a few miles down the road is the Avenue of the Giants.

Regardless of the direction you choose to head home, there’s a sense of camaraderie and new friendships established on Pashnit Motorcycle Tours that make us conclude every tour by asking each other, "So what tour are you doing next?"

Sign up today...

quick ride

Tour: September 20, 2024
Meet: 3 S Main St, Willits CA
Arrive: 7:00 AM, Safety Brief 7:30, Depart 8:00 AM
Cost: $460 per rider, $119 Passenger

ROADS:
This tour includes numerous narrow single lane paved mountain roads. The ride includes steep grades to 20% and negotiating tight hair-pin corners. All roads on this tour are paved.

 

EXPERIENCED RIDERS ONLY:
This tour is strongly not recommended for beginner riders, cruisers, three-wheeled motorcycles or Very Large Motorcycles. Riders are expected to have at least five plus consecutive years of enthusiastic experience on their motorcycle riding remote challenging paved mountain backroads along with at least 5000+ miles of concurrent recent experience.

HIGH DEMAND:
This tour is limited by the amount of rooms at our host lodging. We have booked rooms months in advance and our tours sell out by the end of January. Get on our mailing list to be the first to know about new rides. Tours are planned & announced in the late fall of each year Book early to ensure a spot on this all new tour. Check with us to see if any spots are open. Once the tour sells out, your name will be added to a waiting list to join the tour group in case someone cancels.

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