Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bald Mountain Road

Distance: 46.86
Climbing: 5237 Feet
Difficulty: Hard
Start: Arcata

View of the distance Pacific Ocean from Snow Camp Road.

This route is sometimes called the Snow Camp ride, but I chose to call it Bald Mountain Road because a true Snow Camp ride would involve several more miles of dirt roads. This route follows the gravel surface of Snow Camp Road for about 4 miles before turning on Bald Mountain Road. The ride involves just over 5,000 feet of climbing, including some short 15% gravel stretches. Most riders simply use road bikes with standard tires because 94% of the ride involves pavement. The best seasons to ride are in the fall, late spring, and early summer when the road is clear of snow, but before the temperature rises and the road surface gets loose and full of washboards. The maximum elevation is just over 3100 feet near Bald Mountain, which can lead to significant amounts of snow in the middle of the winter. The majority of the ride follows low traffic roads. However, some riders may not like spending 10 miles riding on Highway 299, so this should be considered before taking on this challenging ride. There is a low traffic alternative that follows "Old 299" but this involves traveling through private timberlands, which I do not advocate. However, I will say that "Old 299" is a popular alternative of local riders.

The following route is based on one Garmin GPS so make sure to look for road signs and don't rely on the mileage markers down to the 100th of a mile.

Detailed Route:

  • 0- Start at Adventure's Edge, 650 10th Street, Arcata, CA. Head west on 10th Street and turn right onto G Street.

  • 0.7- At the stop sign at Sunset Ave. turn right and then immediately left onto L.K. Wood Blvd.

  • 1.4- Turn right onto St. Louis Road.

  • 1.55- Turn right onto West End Road.

  • 2.7- Go straight at the intersection of Giuntoli Lane (next stop sign).

  • 8.85- Left on Hatchery Road.

  • 9.8- Bear Right on H Street towards the "Famous Logger Bar." Turn right on 1st Street and merge onto Railroad Avenue.

  • 10.43- Turn right onto Blue Lake Blvd. and almost immediately left at the intersection of Blue Lake Blvd. and Korbel Road. This takes you up the "Scales Hill" to the CHP truck scales on Highway 299.

  • 12.28- Turn right onto Highway 299. The road has a narrow shoulder averaging 2 feet wide.
  • Lord Ellis Summit, Elevations 2263 feet. The summit was named after Blue Lake businessman Edward Ellis and gold mine owner William Lord. Both depended on packtrains for business survival. They petitioned the government for improved access across these mountains.

  • 22.3- Lord Ellis Summit Elevation 2263 feet. Turn right off the highway and head up Snow Camp Road. This is the dirt road on the right side of the road that immediately begins to climb. You will have just over 4 miles of gravel road that winds its way along the ridge to Bald Mountain. There are some great views coutesy of the clearcuts along the ridge. The condition of the road varies throughout the year depending on the weather, traffic, and road maintenance. Often during the winter the gravel is pounded down and smooth from traffic. During the summer the gravel is often loose and the road surface has lots of washboards.

  • Climbing Snow Camp Road on road bikes.

  • 26.5- Turn right onto Bald Mountain Road. This road is paved most of the way, but has small sections of dirt and lots of pot holes so be cautious.

  • 32.4- Turn right onto Maple Creek road and begin the descent down towards Korbel.

  • 36.3- Turn left onto Railroad Avenue back towards Blue Lake.

  • 36.9- Turn left onto H street, which turns into Hatchery Road.

  • 37.9- Turn right onto West End Road. Stay on West End Road all the way to the roundabout on St. Louis Road.

  • 45.27- Turn left onto St. Louis Road.

  • 45.5- Turn left at the stop sign and continue over the highway and bear right onto L. K. Wood Blvd.

  • 45.97- Turn right onto Sunset Avenue.

  • 46.1- Turn left onto H Street.

  • 46.75- Turn left on 10th Street.

  • 46.86- End at Adventure's Edge.

Here is a printable route sheet

Here is a link to GPS data and a Google map via Garmin Connect

Below is a map from Clicking on the map will direct you to the website where you can view the map through Google Earth or download a Garmin Course or GPX file. You can print a copy of the map with step by step notes too.

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