Often when I go to a new trail I am disappointed with the ride, perhaps the trail is boring or maybe it's Ok but not worth the 2 hour drive to get there. Sometimes trails just don't challenge me and even after a nice long ride I go away yawning. Some trails are very nice but I come away frustrated because there were so many people that it's almost like being on a city street (with more trees).
So when Todd told me he had found a new trail called Elliot's Crossing on Brett's Unicycling Page which followed along the Rubicon River. I was excited but a little bit of a skeptic. Would this trail be worth the effort?
Elliot's Crossing is about 1 hour 45 minutes east of Sacramento along the Rubicon River. We took Highway 49 to Cool and turned east down 193 past Georgetown. About 20 miles past Georgetown, we missed the turnoff for the Rubicon River and continued on for another 10 miles. The turn is about 1 mile BEFORE the turnoff for Uncle Tom's so if you see a sign for Uncle Tom's you've gone too far and need to turn around (Brett's driving directions are a bit dated). We turned around and eventually found the turnoff for access to the Rubicon River. The road descends into the valley for about 5 miles then there is a big bridge, which crosses the Rubicon River. We crossed the bridge and parked on the far side. There is plenty of parking on both sides of the road, but you need to watch for campers.
I rode this trail again with my Kevin, Kelly, and Eric. A word of warning this trail wears on you quickly. We only rode 11 miles, but it seems like we went much further. The loose trails and steep climbs also wear you out a lot quicker than most trails. I was hoping to go the entire length of the trail, but we were exhausted from a 25+ mile ride the previous day in Auburn.
I still think this is an awesome trail but Kevin and Eric didn't like the fact that there were so many places where you were forced to get off and push.
I was a bit surprised, based on the remoteness of this place I figured the trail would be deserted, but there were several cars and a couple of motorcycles at the trailhead. Apparently, this area is also a popular fly-fishing and camping destination. We headed north down a rocky fire road and after a little confusion discovered the correct trailhead (Itís the second trail on the left hand side). Once you get on the trail just keep going straight down the trail and keep the river on your right. If you get too far away from the river you have probably made a wrong turn.
The trail starts out with a medium grade climb for a short time and then flattens out a bit. The first couple of miles of trail include a significant amount of cliffs and several sections were nearly washed out, leaving a narrow off camber trail, which will scare the whoopy out of almost anyone. I suggest riding this trail with at least one other person because you can get seriously hurt going over one of these cliffs.
Before too long we hit a couple of steep climbs where our back tires broke traction and one or both of us wound up clipping out. The first few miles of this trail involve a lot of climbing and really wore me down.
There were also several tough technical sections that had me walking. Todd cleaned most of them but I just kept focusing on the rocks instead of the lines I should take. The steep climbs really wore on me and I was sucking air for this part of the ride.
We encountered a few groups of hikers/ fishermen in the beginning, but as we got further down the trail it became more and more isolated and the serenity and beauty of the environment really started to sink in. We did encounter a couple of motorcycles further in but they were polite and only a minor annoyance overall. We did feel that the presence of motorbikes on the trail significantly contributed to the problem with loose dirt. While we were there I didnít see any evidence that mountain bikes frequent this trail.