This weeks ride was Bear Valley. If you’ve never been to Bear Valley you have missed out on some amazing trails. About an hour 45 minutes east of Stockton on Highway 4 it’s a great destination for cyclists. The 50+ mile trail system there is 100% legal and abot 80% singletrack with some fun jeep roads added for flavor.
Our ride this weekend started at the Bear Valley store and climbed up to the Silvertip campground. From there we went east a bit on a paved path to Slick Rock trail and eventually cut behind lake alpine. The trail behind Lake Alpine is really challenging in either direction with a lot of rocky challenges. If you are going east as we were you have to be insanely good at technical climbing to ride some of the sections. Fred was on his A-game getting up some really impressive grunts, me? I did Ok, but even on my best days I’d have been walking.
Cap Horn Trail comes in at the campground at the east end of Lake Alpine and most people either shuttle it or pedal up the road and ride down it. We chose to climb it. The climb up to Cape Horn is strenuous, even more so on the trail and there are a few challenging climbs where it’s steep and a bit loose. We took it easy and slow pedaled up to to Cape and took a munchy break near the lookout.
From the lookout there is an optional extension to add about 1.5 miles to the top. I don’t care for the extension but if you are interested they can tell you how to find it at the bike shop.
Heading down from Cape Horn is a fast challenging downhill. It’s not quite a black diamond trail but if you take it at speed it’s close. Maximum grin factor on the downhill. Even beginning riders can enjoy Cape Horn Trail but for stronger riders it’s a blazing fast grin-fest.
From the bottom of Cape Horn we cut across to Alpine Trail. At this point I was blown up. I haven’t been riding enough lately so I was just done and even the small climbs I pushed. Alpine seems like it’s uphill in both directions but it’s a fun section of trail with lots of challenging rocky spots.
We finished the ride by climbing to Lower Ring Trail, Ring is a fast black diamond downhill with lots of rocky technical bits. In spite of my state of exhaustion I was grinning from ear to ear when we hit Powerline. After that it’s a short little spin over to the slabs which is a great finish for an awesome day of riding.
Overall… an amazing day of riding in a beautiful place. While you are in Bear Valley consider stopping by the bike shop, they are very active in maintaining the trails and you can usually get a lot of good trail advice and maps.