MTB Project Logo

South Fork Trinity River Trail

 4.0 (3)
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

34.1 Miles 54.9 Kilometers



3,155' 962 m


-3,155' -962 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (16°)

3,120' 951 m


2,358' 719 m


Shared By Joshua Smith



Getting forecast...

A beautiful ride along the wild and scenic South Fork Trinity River.

Joshua Smith

Dogs Unknown

Features -none-

Family Friendly The first 3 miles are along a narrow road and are very family friendly (though the further you ride upstream, the less friendly it becomes). It starts at the family friendly Scott Flatt Campground.


A wild experience: mostly singletrack 18 miles one-way. The trail travels through old growth forests, along the wild and scenic South Fork Trinity River, and through the Chinquapin Roadless Area.

Need to Know

The upper sections can be snowed in during winter as can the passes along Highway 36.
There are no amenities in the area. If you need something your best bet is Fortuna, Red Bluff, or Hayfork.

Some sections of singletrack are narrow and exposed over the river.


This area is more wild than most official wildernesses, don't expect to see other people and be prepared to take care of any issues on your own.

The trail is a road for the first three miles until it crosses the river at a bridge, however, the majority of the trail is tight singletrack. It winds on fairly mild contour along the wild river with plenty of great river and mountain views. Swimming holes abound and if you're there the right time of year you might even see spawning salmon (several species call this river their home including one of the last remaining populations of spring Chinook salmon in California).

The singletrack gets narrower and less used the further upstream you travel. It is maintained but typically only once per year so there can be logs down.

There are six spur trails that connect to the main River Trail but they are predominantly historic trails; steep and not well maintained. As long as you stay on the main trail along the main stem of the South Fork Trinity River, you're good to go.

The majority of the trail is through dense mixed conifer forests but it also contours a number of old river terrace meadows. The majority of the meadows are private property so please respect the privacy of the land owners.

The trail can be ridden as a directional downhill with a shuttle but the drive to the upper extent of the trail is long and remote on poor roads.

The wildlife is spectacular due to its remoteness and roadless character. Black bear, black tailed deer, and bald eagles are common while rumors of Bigfoot also abound.


You & This Featured Ride

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Ride

Your Check-Ins


Aug 19, 2018
Brian Katz
Trail is really a Forest Service access road to summer cabins. A fun ride.
Sep 4, 2017
Timothy Perry
Jun 21, 2016
Emily Sinkhorn
Backpacked through on June 20-21. The trail is well graded and easy to follow. Great swimming opportunities along the way.
Mar 26, 2016

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 3 votes


  4.0 from 3 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star


in California


27 Views Last Month
1,845 Since Dec 7, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

Ti Ko  
The way this ride is posted is deceptive. The best place to start this ride is at Scott Flat, near Forest Glen, at a campground. There is a trail head and begins at a cable foot bridge. The profile shown above depicts the ride to start downhill from Wild Mad Road, which is way out in the middle of no-where. If you start near Forest Glen, you would be at about mile 16 on the above profile. Oct 22, 2016
Brian Katz
Alta Sierra, CA
Brian Katz   Alta Sierra, CA
You have to use Hells Gate Campground, East of Forest Glen, to access the Trail Head and cable foot bridge described in Ti Ko's comment BUT, bridge is closed for repairs as of my visit August 19, 2018. I went over to the other side of the River by accessing a Forest Service Road opposite Forest Glen Campground (on the other side of the bridge), and driving a couple of miles until I saw the sign for a locked gate. Trail is really a road for access to some Summer Forest Service cabins, but there's almost no traffic and the road is a fun ride !! Aug 19, 2018

MTB Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Mountain Bike

MTB Project is supported by

Support Your Local IMBA Chapter