Is 4 Wheeling your thing?

4 Wheeling the Tahoe and Plumas national forests offers opportunities for all levels of expertise. Graeagle resides on the edge of the Plumas National Forest. Most of the forest service roads that head to the south will end up crossing into the Tahoe National Forest.

You may be more interested in riding a Quad or ATV, if so you might want to take a look at our page about ATV rides where you can rent ATVs and tour. But if 4 wheeling is your thing continue reading here.

The first thing you will need is the forest service Map for the Plumas. It is a necessity for any 4 wheeling adventure. Always check with the forest service office for road conditions. If you plan to camp overnight ask if any camping permits, or fire permits are required for the area where you plan to stay.

I will assume that you have done this before, and know that you need to take supplies that will provide for your needs for the duration of your trip. Use the adage of packing out more than you take in, that’s trash you know.

It is a real bummer to feel like you are so far out that very few people have been where you are and then find that nasty beer container. I hate that and so does the forest service, it is one of the many reasons we are at risk of losing many of the 4 x 4 trails we travel.

Four wheeling into Spencer lakes is one of our favorite 4x4 trails. The road is not a major challenge but offers panoramic views through out the trip. As I recall it is about twelve miles from Movin’ West RV Park to the lakes. This is an easy trip to do in a half day. The road is everything from very easy to moderate. This is an out and back trip.

We see everything from Quads to four wheel drive Toyota pickups running this part of the road. Just make sure you are high clearance as there are some very rocky stretches along the way.

You can also keep going on this trail and head through Gold Valley 4x4 trail. This truly requires Four wheel drive and a relatively high clearance vehicle. I travel this with a small lift on my Jeep Wrangler, 2.5 inches, not one of the big boys for sure. This is a very rocky trail where I will touch a rock or two on the trip.

Using your Forest service map you can also branch off and head to Snake Lake for this one be sure you have a good high lift, a winch, and a few good friends on the road with you. I do not run this one but talk often with the Grass Valley four wheel Club about it. They provide annual trail maintenance for this trail, the deer lake trail and a couple of others in the area. I will see about getting some of their comments and maybe some pictures of the area.

For some of you, 4 wheeling might not be your thing, but you still may want to get into the back country. For that adventure I would recommend the Johnsville to LaPorte Road. A high clearance two wheel drive will take you through this road. You will pass small creeks, cross over the top of the sierras seeing some great views from the top.

You will see evidence of gold mining all the way across this road. Watch for the tunnel that appears at eye level alongside the road. You can make an easy return trip by using the paved LaPorte to Quincy road. This is also a very scenic route.

Heading east toward Nevada is another favorite of ours. Crystal Peak is an easy run for even a two wheel drive. The last mile is a hike to the peak if you are in a two wheel drive. It is not extremely steep so anyone in good condition can make the walk. It is worth seeing. The road forks to the right for about a hundred yards to get to the peak.

While you are up there be sure to take the left fork also. The view across the rest of California into Nevada is worth the extra 200 feet of walking.

As you can probably tell our 4 wheeling is to get to a destination, see the sights, and not so much the thrill of the rough trail although that is fun too. So that is a start on where to take scenic day trips. Check back as we expand on each of these 4 wheeling adventures and add more as the summer progresses, including trips to active and inactive forest service fire lookouts.

"Ride Quads / Rent Four wheelers" -This four wheelers tour in the Sierra Valley is set in fabulous scenery, a 360 degree view, Oaks, Aspens, and Cedar trees. There are Wild Flowers in the spring, fall colors late in the year, and the meal waiting for you at the end is the topping to a great ride.

"Spencer Lakes 4x4 trail" -One of the easiest 4x4 offroading runs is the Spencer Lakes Trail. Jeeps, off roading trucks, Quads, and motorcycles all run this trail.

"Gold Valley 4x4 trail" -Easy to very challenging off road trails are all around the town of Graeagle. The Gold Valley trail is maintained by the Grass Valley 4 wheelers 4x4 club. The Gold Lake trail continues from where the Spencer lakes trail ended.

"Snake Lake 4x4 trail" -Off-road vehicles, challenging fourwheeling, you can enjoy both on the Plumas/Tahoe National Forrest. The forest surrounding Graeagle has some of the best California Offroad trails.

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