Monday, June 15, 2020

MTB- Ossagon Trail

Distance: 18.5 miles
Climbing: 1347 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Start: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Orick

Updated June 15, 2020

I road this loop recently and found it more challenging than it used to be.  Where the Ossagon trail meets the Coastal trail, the route is very difficult to find due to multiple elk trails and lack of maintenance.  Also, the Ossagon hike/bike-in campsite is no longer maintained for camping.  Just a warning that the route may turn into an adventure.

Original Post
This popular mountain bike loop has a lot variety. It travels through old growth redwood forest, coastal Sitka spruce forest, prairie, and along the beach. The route travels along 6 miles of paved roads before turning to 5 miles of singletrack and 7.5 miles of gravel/dirt roads. The riding is not very technical, but a lot of fun, especially the Coastal Trail which has some fast twisty singletrack. There are areas of special interest such as a cool waterfall, Fern Canyon, and Gold Bluffs beach. You can't avoid getting wet because there are several creek crossings and a particularly troublesome swampy area along the beach. If you choose, you can also camp out along the way.

To get to the start head 40 miles north from Arcata to Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway. Go approximately 1.2 miles and turn left and park near the visitors center. You may be lucky to view a herd of Roosevelt Elk grazing in Elk Prairie.
  • 0- Head north on Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway
  • 5.68- Turn left on the Ossagon Trail
  • 7.38- Cross the creek and take the first trail left, which is the Coastal Trail.

  • 7.42- Take the first trail left through a swampy area.

  • 7.75- Continue straight at the West Ridge Trail intersection.

  • 8.75- Stop to check out the cool 100 foot waterfall.

  • 10.11- Stop to check out Fern Canyon. Bear left to stay on the trail.

  • 10.36- End of the Coastal Trail and beginning of Davidson Road. There is a bathroom located in the parking area at the end of Davidson Road. Continue approximately 4.8 miles along Davidson Road until you turn onto the trail back to the Elk Prairie Campground.

  • 15.17- Left onto "bicycle/jogging" trail. The trail is an old road that has overgrown into fast singletrack.

  • 16.25- Straight over the bridge and continue on dirt road.

  • 16.97- Left on road

  • 17.2- Right on road

  • 17.35- Go through the gate and turn left proceeding through the second gate. Follow the signs back to the start at Prairie Creek Redwoods visitors center.
Click on the map to see a larger view or print it out. The trails are well marked and the map has the major turning points marked for reference.

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