This is the most MTB-friendly, bike-legal, dirt connector from Barker Pass to the Rubicon Jeep Trail
Staging Area. It is best ridden from the top of Barker Pass to the Rubicon Jeep Trail
. This way you'll do the bulk of your climbing on lightly travelled pavement and avoid climbing the toughest rocky sections.
The route heads from the end of the pavement at the top of Barker Pass and follows Forest Road 03 before turning left onto FR 03-04. (It is actually the most travelled route since FR03 dead ends a few miles away). I would recommend taking the Barker Meadows OHV Route
to where it rejoins this route. Much prettier ride through the Meadows.
When passing Bear Lake, make a left around the lake, or take a quick detour down to the lake for a dip. Past Bear Lake there are numerous unmarked intersections, so check your position on the MTB Project app to verify you are on this route. The last 3/4 mile before you rejoin the Rubicon Jeep Trail
is quite rocky, but all rideable and downhill.
The USFS did significant grading and drainage improvements here in 2015, so it's a much easier ride now. There are still a few tough, short climbs, and a few rocky, jeep road descents, but it is 100% rideable.
Since I live here on the West Shore, I've included this connector to assist those looking for a big backcountry adventure. This route is by far the most MTB-friendly connector. There are a ton of old logging road spurs, many of which are steep and unrideable. Be prepared out here! It is a long walk back, and there are no bail out routes.
Riding further out the Rubicon Jeep Trail
(toward Loon Lake ) is not recommended for MTBs. It gets really dusty, powdery, and loose, and you'll descend a steep canyon (down Cadillac Hill) to the Rubicon River and have to hike out. (The ride from Loon Lake to Tahoe is feasible, but it took two of my friends over 11 hours to cover the 25 or so miles).
Those wanting a huge backcountry adventure could combine this with the second half of the West Shore Backcountry Lakes Tour
, and finish up the ride entirely on singletrack.
There are gorgeous views into the massive granite formations in Desolation Wilderness. A stop at Bear Lake is recommended as well.
This route also crosses the PCT/TRT. Sadly, it isn't bike legal. Hopefully, some day this section of the PCT will be bike legal as it is a gorgeous, flowing, and lightly traveled singletrack.