Trip Reports » Grouse Ridge overnighter


Took a spin up to Grouse Ridge over the weekend. Grouse Ridge is located in the Sierra Mountains of Northern California. Even though it’s only an hour from my house it’s been years since I’ve been up that way. I fought hard  to keep that area open to bikes when it was being considered for a Wilderness designation and have always considered it a special place.

The past few years have seen little to no maintenance from the Forest Service, a common theme anywhere other than the Lake Tahoe basin, which seems to have an endless supply of money despite no apparent revenue stream from timber sales.

I rode a bit down lower on the Upper Pioneer extension and Spaulding Lake trail, just a quick spin as I had worked earlier in the day and wanted to get up to the top of Grouse Ridge before sunset so Sasha and I could head out to Five Lakes Basin for the evening.

Spaulding Lake Trail


The campground had a few hearty souls car camping as we drove through to the trailhead parking lot. It looks like some money has been spent on the campground, now if they could just spend a bit of  time cleaning up the 100’s of downed trees in the area that would be great.

Looking South from the trailhead.


View from the trailhead parking lot

Looking North from the trailhead.

I loaded up hurriedly while Sasha enjoyed herself tormenting some unsuspecting chipmunks. I had just thrown some stuff together in the seatbag and nearly filled my Osprey Talon 22 to capacity before we headed out, I didn’t think I would need the Apline Explorer bag, but it would have been nice not to have to cram all my stuff in my race pack.


We headed out to Five Lakes Basin via the Sand Ridge Trail.  The trail was free of downed trees for the most part, but the 1/2 mile hike a bike seemed to have escaped my memory. Once we finally got to the ridge it was all good, lovely views and lighting all around.

Heading out.

We finally made the first lake, it looked like a couple of other bikes had been that direction recently, I have never continued down that trail to see where it goes, perhaps down to Fordyce Lake.

Home for the night.

After a bit of searching we found a great little spot and unloaded. Sasha promptly found a nice little muddy spot to get down to the water, great, muddy dog in the tent……

Not a bad spot.

Muddy dog feet after a bit of cleaning…..

We hiked a bit and settled in for the night. I knew I was undergunned in the sleeping area as I had only brought my 45 degree bag on what was likely to be a sub freezing night. It gets dark early this time of year and after playing a few games on the I-Pod we were off to sleep. I made it till about 4 am before I was uncomfortable, slept pretty restless till daybreak but overall slept better than I thought I would. Thankfully I had brought my warm sleeping bag liner or it likely would have been a rough night. Sure enough upon waking in the morning Sasha’s water bowl was frozen over…..

Wonderful light.


Looking for something to chase!


Fading daylight.

It warmed up pretty quickly and after a  bit of breakfast we were off for the return trip to the truck. I had a bit of work to do so we headed out pretty early and were back to the truck by 9 am.

Heading home.

We rambled down the 6 mile dirt road to the pavement and headed home for the day. I nice way to end the year as it looks like we have snow coming this weekend.







Comments (4)

slimOctober 25th, 2012 at 11:38 am

That looks beautiful!

So you are saying it was a two dog night, nut you had only 1 dog?

egearOctober 30th, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Nice man real nice. You cali guys are lucky nice land and decent trails. Thats a lucky dog you got there.

Jeff KatzDecember 20th, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Great report, awesome pictures- bueno time for you AND the dog! Looks like a great place for a quick tour up high: we’re currently discussing poaching the PCT here in OR. If the horses can screw it up, why can’t we?…

Jeff KatzDecember 20th, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Oh yeah, what kind of tent is that? Looks super spartan and deliciously light!

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