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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Before heading down to Joemama's Group Ride I spent some days wandering around Sierra Buttes and the Gold Lake Disgtrict, a location I got excited about for a possible future group ride.


While I certainly didn't count corners there were a lot! I did find a few straight-aways but being mountainous with historic prospector horse and wagon trails the current roads seemed to wrap around every possible bend. When the trails turns every 50 feet or so one can easily rack up hundreds of corners per hour.
Here is a quick video of a straight road between Lower and Upper Sardine Lakes, two of perhaps a dozen or more lakes I visited.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
While there were lots of challenging rocky jeep roads to back country mines, lakes and mountain peaks there were also extensive super smooth graded gravel roads as well as paved twisty roads to beautiful locals for easy riding. One morning I took one of these smooth graded roads to a remote fire look-out where Richard the Fire Warden invited me up for the view and a 40 minute chat about life on a fire tower. Amazing job but these guys often crave new company
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We won't be able to make it down your way for the rest of this year, but boy that sure looks inviting with gorgeous views.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The real adventure was getting to and back from the Sierra Buttes LookOut Tower which entails either a rather long steep hike up the Pacific Crest Trail or an exciting TW climb up a jeep road followed by a shorter hike climbing up a few hundred feet , many switchbacks then the 192 stairs to the tower veranda itself.

Back in the 1880's a Mr. Johnson climbed the summit and scrawled this still legible "I was here graffiti.


Why the Gold Lake name? I think the 106 pound gold nugget had something to do with it and the subsequent mining road development I played on.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
The riding was outrageously good; from smooth cruising roads to long 4x4 rocky routes I had a ball on all of it. I did find one trail too nasty for me, the drop into Snake Lake just got way too steep with bushel sized boulders in mid-trail so I turned around while I could still climb out. Some Mountain Bikers later directed me to some nice single track with corners every twenty feet or less. I'll have to cook up some videos later for your entertainment.


I was hanging onto a tree to take last picture of Snake Lake so as to not slide down slope. Camera doesn't capture the steepness, level horizon is at top of photo. Jeep trail is at lower left and disappears around corner to the left at a seemingly 1:1 slope. If I went down there I knew it would be one way and I would need to find a supposedly connecting other jeep road on far side leading to more lakes and some indian rock art. Gotta return with Adam for safety and try approaching from far side.
 

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I didn't take the same back road you did but last year me and Patti did 2up on a different trail and were able to get pretty close. We hiked the rest of the way to the Sardine Lake fire lookout tower. I can hear you huffing and puffing near the end of the video must have had a blast.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Local mountain bikers recommended this single track as an easy example of supposedly many miles of nearby trails they like. I found it a delight of endless tight turns feeding one into another. Wish I had the time and energy to explore more.
 

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Awesome pictures and video, thanks for sharing! Gotta love the country a TW can take us into.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
TW was a great way to visit many a lake in the area. Some were viewed just from a distance, others wetted my tires. The big lake of Gold Lake used to be a 4x4 camping/kayak/fishing destination for me and my dogs with usually nice trout fishing.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Interesting signs for us motorcyclists could be seen:


At Gold Lake some folks use dogs as fish finders


Gold Lake sure is pretty and yields some nice trout. Jeep roads wrap around one side of lake then climb to ridge line leading to other lakes and the Sierra Buttes proper.


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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
More teaser pics:


"STEEP" is a relative term...all depends on what one is used to. In my mind some of this country was darn steep. The descent from the lookout tower @~8,500 ft in six miles or so to Sierra City @~4,300 ft in one continuous push is steep in my mind. I then rode another thousand feet lower down HWY 49 to pick up another gravel road that headed back 13 miles at a much gentler, smoother climb. Riding up from Sierra City last year without an oil cooler I paused midway to cool off at a waterfall, only resting spot on a sun baked slope. This year I paused there to rest my wrists from leaning on the bars going downhill. I took a slightly different shorter, steeper route near the top avoiding the blue route shown below. sierra-city-ge.jpg

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Discussion Starter #15
Most of those photos came from a 70 mile figure 8 ride one day, starting with jeep roads climbing to a ridge line and beyond to the failed Snake Lake approach, Then a rocky ride along ridge line shared with the Pacific Crest Trail led to the Sierra Buttes massif and a couple hiking approaches to the tower top. The video's waterfall on the descent to the Yuba River made for a really pleasant break on a hot sunny afternoon. That old road to Sierra City wasn't rough, just narrow , a little steep and a consistent downhill. Then a jaunt down HWY49 towards Downieville took me to Union Flat where I was able to pick up a relaxing smooth graded gravel road back. Several active gold mines likely pay to maintain these lightly used roads. Eventually connecting to asphault near Packer Summit and dropping back down into the resort area allowed the completion of a wonderfull figure 8 loop.
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