Break out your mountain bikes. It’s time to hit the trails. Some of the very best places, anywhere, to ride mountain bikes are in El Dorado County.
Early in the season the trails are still pretty well packed down. There isn’t a lot of loose dirt or sand, which means the skidding and sliding aren’t a big concern yet. The dust factor is low too.
The trails in Pollock Pines are extremely well known in the mountain bike community. There are trails for just about any skill level.
The area to head to is Sly Park Lake. The lake itself has an incredible series of trails that circle it. You can ride in or drive in.
Stop at the entry kiosk and ask for a map, if you plan to start your ride from there. You can also download a map from the EID recreation web site.
If this is your first ride at the lake, going in at the main entrance is a smart thing to do. The trail starts just a short distance from there.
What you’ll find is well maintained single track, with some more open fire roads thrown in. The terrain runs from what we in the mountains call “flat”, which isn’t, to some more steep pitches as you progress around the lake.
You will find more than one place to exit the trails and use the paved road that runs from the entrance to the camp sites and the back of the lake, if you need to.
Stop and take a dip if you need to cool down. If you make your way up the water fall, at the back of the lake, which may or may not be falling, and decide to plunge into the water there, be prepared for a cold experience. It could be just what you need.
If you are new to mountain biking, take your time. The trail is multi-use. The equestrian crowd uses the horse trails a lot, and these well marked trails are only for them. If you do meet a horse and rider while you are pedaling, the horse has the right of way. Always.
Another spot up in Pollock is also internationally known among the mountain bike crowd. The Fleming Meadows trails are extensive. They are 95% single track, with old fire and logging roads making up the rest.
The actual trail head is at Blue Gouge Mine, just past Ferrari Mill Road, although you can jump onto trial 8 right from Mormon Emigrant Trail, just past the second Sly Park Dam.
These trails can be very challenging when they get loose and dusty. For your first few rides here, go with someone who knows the trails. While they are marked, there are many places to take off on an old fire road, or to pedal out Ferrari Mill Road till the day light runs out.
This is generally a loop trail and for the most part it isn’t very technical, which means average riders can handle them. Nothing is overly steep, rocky, or anything like that.
You can get off the trails and turn it into an out and back ride too. There are trail maps, sometimes, at the trail head. The best thing to do is to download a map from the Forest Service web site.
Getting lost in the forest is a very easy thing to do. Having a good map with you lessens that possibility. Ride with a buddy, wear your helmet, and take water and food with you, as there aren’t any vendors out there with lattes and crumpets for you snacking pleasure.
These two trails can take up more than just a day each of your riding time. Ride what is comfortable for you, and come back to do so more. Both rides are a pleasure.