Michigan Bluff to Deadwood

On the Western States 100 Trail
Technical Level:    Intermediate
Strenuous Level:   Advanced plus
Altitude Gain:       5300 feet
The Ride:             14 miles on way, 28 miles total
Where:                 Michigan Bluff, near Forest Hill
When:                  Watch for snow!
 

To get There:

Map of Trail Head  (6 marks the trail head; Click on "More Details" to get a good map)
Map of End of Trail (Again, click on "More Details")

 From Sacramento:  Take Interstate 80 to Forest Hill road in Auburn.  Take Forest Hill Road North East towards the city of Forest Hill.  Stay on Forest Hill road for something like 15 miles.  Turn right on Michigan Bluff Road and head towards Michigan Bluff.  Stay on Michigan Bluff road until it basically dead ends into the little town of Michigan Bluff.  Park along the road somewhere, but make sure you don't get in the way of any residents (If anyone is around, you might want to ask where you should park).  The trail starts on the left hand side of the road just before it dead ends.

The Ride

 Some people would consider it ludicrous, some would consider idiotic, some would consider, well, insane.  We climbers call it fun.  Over a vertical mile of climbing, an epic ride, but don't complain too much, I've done it on a unicycle (and I didn't get to coast back down that 5300 ft drop!).
Critical Turns:
The navigation on this trail should be pretty easy, but you need to be careful, if you accidentally get off the main road you could get really lost.  Follow the Western States 100 Trail down into the Eldorado Canyon.  Just after crossing the small bridge at 2.5 miles, turn left towards Deadwood.  Climb back out of the canyon.  You will reach the deserted mining town of Deadwood about 6.5 miles from the bridge.  Turn right on Deadwood road.  But first go up to the left and check out the old graveyard!!  Neat-O.  That is all that is left of the town!  Stay on Deadwood road for about 8 miles until you reach the paved Forest Hill Road.  Turn around and head back the way you came.  You can go left on Forest Hill road and ride back to your car the way you came, but the trail has got to be a lot more fun!

The Trail

 YEEHA.
I would suggest that you be in very very good physical shape before attempting this ride.  The highest point on the trail is about 5500 feet, so you will definitely feel the effect of altitude if you live at the lower elevations.  This combined with general fatigue could get you in trouble.  Be Careful!!
This has got to be one of the best rides around.  In the first 2.5 miles you will descend about 1700 feet.  That's a 12.8 % grade!!  For comparison, Steven's Trail is about 5%.  Remember, you are going to have to face this climb at the end of a 30 mile ride, so don't be afraid to turn around early.   The ride down is tight single track and gives you plenty of opportunities to fly off of big cliffs.  Big very very careful, this can be an extremely dangerous trail.  Also, watch out for erosion on the trail.  I haven't ridden after it rains, but the trail looks susceptible to washing out.  The climb from the bottom of the canyon back up to Deadwood is longer and higher, but not as steep in general.  But there are a few short sections in this area that are the steepest on the trail.  Deadwood makes a good lunch break.  Deadwood road is a dirt road that gets some automobile traffic, so it is not technical.  It is wide, and seems to be well maintained.  Deadwood road is a steady climb, but it is not very steep.  Be careful to stay on the main road.  There are several turns that you may accidentally take if you weren't paying attention.  I thought it was all pretty obvious, but you may want to carry a detailed map.  The Western States 100 Trail parallels Deadwood road, so you can take that if you would like.  Just make sure you don't head towards Devil's Thumb or Last Chance.
 

Trail Details:

 Sunrise/Sunset
 Weather
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