Off-Road Vehicles: 4-Wheel Drive & Dirt Bikes in Sierra County

Along the Pliocene Ridge, the Lafayette Ridge OHV Trail near Alleghany leads adventurers through heavy brush that gradually opens up to a panoramic view of the Middle Yuba River. Many of the off-road vehicle trails in the area were once the trails of miners, traders, and mule teams. You can drive Henness Pass Road from Camptonville to Verdi. It links the southern part of the county together from east to west and has historical sites along the way. The Forest Service has a map of the area titled From Gold to Silver—The Comstock Connection, a Historic Driving tour of the Henness Pass Road. 4-wheel drive, a detailed map, compass and dedicated map reader is strongly recommended.

In the River Canyon, the Chimney Rock, Fir Top and Poker Flat trails are three great OHV, 4-wheel drive and dirt bike routes. Chimney Rock goes by the Saddleback Lookout and is exceptional for bikes, as is the Poker Flat trail. With a trail-rated SUV and some experience driving difficult back-country, you can visit the ghost-towns of Poker Flat and Howland Flat, crossing Canyon Creek on the way to Lost Sierra’s La Porte.

In the Sierra Buttes there are several off-road trails popular with 4-wheel drivers, including the Sierra Buttes trail which runs from the most scenic transfer station in California, to the Sierra Buttes Lookout parking lot and then on to Packer Saddle, traversing the southwestern face of the Buttes with breathtaking views. Don’t miss the actual lookout, a short hike from the parking lot. There is an amazing viewing platform that runs all around the lookout for 360º views. Not recommended for anyone with fear of heights.

The Lakes Basin Recreation Area has numerous off-road vehicle or 4-wheel drive trails from moderate to most difficult. The trails pass through a variety of terrain and offer fishing, wildlife viewing, and exceptional scenery. The area around Gold Lake is a favorite for ATVs and in the winter snowmobilers.

In the Sierra Valley, the Bear Valley Loop OHV Trail near Loyalton is 18 miles of pure exhilaration and scenic beauty. The trail is open late spring to fall.

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