Mississippi Lake Ride
ElevationAscent: 5,281' 1,610 m
Descent: -5,281' -1,610 m
High: 2,623' 799 m
Low: 856' 261 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 24% (14°)
Current trail conditions
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“A big ride with nice views, a creek trail, and a lake at the end.”— Darius Rike
This area gets very hot in the summer, so the best time of year is March/April when the wildflowers are blooming. This ride is best done as an overnight bike-packing ride, be sure to leave early if you're going out and back in one day.
Get ready for one more tough climb before it evens out a bit. I know you'll want to just get the climb over with, but make sure to stop and take in the views. On a clear day you can see clear back to Monterey Bay over the coastal range.
After Passing Wilson Peak Trail, look for the Serpentine Trail on your left and prepare for some descending. Parts of this trail are pretty steep and there is often a pretty rutted section near the bottom. Grizzly Gulch Trail is at the bottom and you'll take it to the right for some more climbing up to Wagon Road. There is a toilet at the intersection of Grizzly Gulch Trail and Wagon Road.
After turning left on Wagon Road, you'll stay on this for quite a while with some climbing and descending along the ridge line. Look for another toilet at the intersection of Wasno Road and Wagon Road. Stay on Wagon Road and eventually you'll find Live Oak Spring Trail, which bypasses some additional climbing and dumps you out onto Coit Road. Go right on Coit Road and descend to Pacheco Creek Camp.
This is a great place to stop for lunch or a snack as there are picnic tables. The Pacheco Creek Trail goes out the back of the camp and is not clearly signed but starts on the left side of Pacheco Creek and continues to criss-cross the creek all the way up to Willow Ridge Road. The last mile or so before the road is a tough climb with little shade. Go right and follow the signs the rest of the way to Mississippi Lake.
When you hit the lake, go left to a shade shelter with a picnic table and toilet, or right to the dam and toilet. Both are nice places to camp for the night or take a break, soak your feet in the lake and have a bite before heading back. There are multiple ways to get back, but going back to Grizzly Gulch Trail and descending it to Coit Road is probably the most direct.
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Land Manager: California State Parks - Henry W. Coe State Park