Biking Trails of Colfax


Bicycle Ride from  Colfax to Baxter

Bicycle Ride from  Alta/Baxter to Truckee/Lake Tahoe

Bicycle Ride from  Colfax to Auburn

Bicycle Ride from  Auburn to American River Bikeway

Bicycle Ride from  Colfax to Iowa Hill

Bicycle Ride from  Colfax to Grass Valley and Nevada City

Bicycle Ride from  Auburn to Rocklin


Bicycle Ride from Colfax to Baxter

From downtown Colfax take Main Street north, via Historic US 40. This will lead you by Lake Rollins and up the hill. The climbing begins but it is not impossible. Lake Rollins Road will take you over I-80 and onto Magra Road. Now pedaling on the other/south side of I-80 will offer some views of the American River Canyon. At the Gold Run monument you cross back over I-80.

LT over the RR tracks on Lincoln Road. Continue for several miles to a “T”.

RT to Monte Vista Inn.

LT to Dutch Flat and Alta.

Later you make the choice of staying on Sacramento Road and going into Dutch Flat, a nice, old community worthy of a look, or continuing on Ridge Road that goes along the way for a

LT to Alta on Bonnynook Road. Then its through Alta on Bonny Nook Rd. and into Baxter. There is no town site here. Across the freeway is a service station.

This is where all frontage roads end and you must go on the freeway to Cisco Grove, about 15 miles. No fun but no other way exists so it is legal for bicycles.

Return to top

Bicycling from Alta/Baxter to Truckee/Lake Tahoe

Baxter is where all frontage roads end and you must go on the freeway to Cisco Grove, about 15 miles. No fun but no other way exists, so it is legal for bicycles. Stay far right on the shoulder and be VERY careful at off/on ramps.

Bicycles must exit at Cisco Grove. Cisco Grove has a gas station and restaurant. Cross over the overpass and turn right/east onto old US Hwy. 40. It is called Hampshire Rd. at first and later becomes Donner Pass Rd. At Soda Springs you pass over I-80 again and go through a few ski areas heading to Donner Pass.

At the top is a beautiful view of Donner Lake and then it’s down the twisty old road to Donner Lake and on to Truckee. Stay on the north/left side of the lake as the south side is not paved all the way through. I understand a mountain bike can do it easily and come out just behind the Donner Memorial State Park.

Stopping at the Donner Historical Museum and its adjacent campground is worthy of some time. Going over the freeway and going through the new and old Truckee is also interesting.

Taking Hwy. 89 north will direct you to several campgrounds on the way to Sierraville and Downiville. The road has very little shoulder so caution should be uppermost in your mind.

If you are interested in visiting Lake Tahoe, take Hwy. 89 south out of Truckee. There is a very wide shoulder and then a bike trail all the way to Tahoe City.

Approaching Tahoe City a RT at the “Y” leads you to a nice bike trail that continues along the west side of the lake for several miles.

Straight ahead at the “Y” goes through Tahoe City where you can pick up a bike route for several miles.

Return to top

Bicycle Ride from Colfax to Auburn

Leaving downtown Colfax via Grass Valley St. west, up hill to the stop sign.

LT at Rising Sun to wrap around a hill on your right to come to the intersection with Tokayana Rd. (A RT here would pass you by the elementary and the high schools and a residential area and a dead end.)

LT for a few miles w/o a bike lane but there is not a lot of traffic EXCEPT during the AM and PM commute, as both of the schools are at the other end of this road.

At the next stop sign you begin Placer Hills Road. Continue straight. (A LT will wrap you around back into Colfax via an I-80 frontage road, South Auburn Road.)

The next wide spot in the road is Meadow Vista. There are several rest spots with food available in a grocery store and restaurants. The next stop sign is at the intersection of Lake Arthur Rd. Bend right and continue alongside I-80.

At the junction of Dry Creek Rd. and Christian Valley Rd., bear left on Bowman Rd. and peddle up a grade alongside I-80.

At the stop sign LT to go under I-80 and then a

RT will put you on Lincoln Way, leading all the way into Auburn.

At the big lighted Foresthill Rd. intersection continue straight ahead (a LT here will put you on a nice road to Foresthill) a couple more miles until the small lighted  intersection with Hwy. 49.

RT to sweep into Auburn. (A LT here will take you down Hwy. 49 to the American River Canyon at the Confluence of the North Fork and the Middle Fork and on to Placerville on a narrow road with no shoulder.)

Return to top

Bicycle Ride from Auburn to American River Bikeway

From downtown Auburn head south on High St., Lincoln Way or Sacramento St. to begin a southern travel direction on Auburn-Folsom Rd. past the county fairgrounds. This is a bicycle friendly road as it does have a nice shoulder and the road is fairly new. Pleasant riding all the way to Folsom.

At a big signaled intersection LT to head into Old Folsom. Very soon there will be a down hill paved trail to the right. This goes under the big new bridge and on to the American River Bikeway. It’s now 30 miles to Old Sacramento.

Return to top

Bicycle Ride from Colfax to Iowa Hill

With option to Sugar Pine Res. and Foresthill

This is not a long distance ride but rather a very difficult hill climb after crossing the North Fork of the American River.

Leaving downtown Colfax on Grass Valley St., head for the old Colfax Hotel, bending right for Auburn St.

LT at 2nd Stop sign to go over the freeway.

RT on Canyon Way, past Stop sign and

LT on Iowa Hill Rd. There is a Historical Monument and Indian Cemetery at this turn.

Continue following this curvy road to the bottom of the North Fork American River canyon. Some turns are more than 180 degrees. Be careful. Roadbed is good.

Cross the river and immediately head up a two mile 12% (?) grade. It is very steep!

At the 6 mile point of your ride from Colfax, you are about at the end of the steep climb. Congratulations! I measured a 1,200’ climb from the river bridge to this point.

Onward to Iowa Hill over ups and downs, totally doable.

At the 8 mile point you should be at the Iowa Hill Post Office, bar, etc. The Colfax Chamber has information on Iowa Hill.

The Return trip uses a lot of braking. My rims get very hot and I stop a couple of times before the river crossing. This may be over compensating but you do your thing.

From Iowa Hill you may continue through “town” and head for Sugar Pine Reservoir. This is a rolling upward ride on a nicely paved road. At the dam continue on paved road to Foresthill Road.

RT on Foresthill Road to go through Foresthill, where city conveniences are available, and head for the intersection with I-80 in north Auburn.

LT for Auburn on Lincoln Way or

RT for Colfax. Use the “Colfax to Auburn” directions (in reverse).

The complete loop would total about 80 miles.

Return to top

Bicycle Ride from Colfax to Grass Valley and Nevada City

From downtown Colfax proceed west on Grass Valley Street to stop sign. Turn Left and follow street around and up hill to a three way stop at Tokayana Way and Ben Taylor Road. Turn Left on Tokayana and follow it to a Stop sign where it joins Placer Hills Road. Continue straight on Placer Hills. (A left turn here would take you back into Colfax.)

Continue a couple of miles to a Right turn on Dog Bar Road. This will go down hill to cross the Bear River. Continue a couple of miles and go straight past a left turn onto Magnolia Road (which would take you to Lake of the Pines, Bear River High School and Hwy. 49).

Continuing on Dog Bar, with not much shoulder but also not too much traffic, Mount Olive Road will be on your right. This is a steep climb on a rough dirt road for a couple of miles. Skinny tires don’t do well. Once at the top it is paved down to the Chicago Park Post Office and an intersection with Hwy. 174.

Continuing on Dog Bar there will be a right turn onto Rattlesnake Road that leads to Hwy. 174 just east of the Empire Mine turn off. On your left will be a turn onto Alta Sierra Drive that leads to the community and then to Hwy. 49. Continuing straight ahead the road changes name to La Barr Meadows that soon changes to Auburn Street and you are soon in downtown Grass Valley.

To continue to Nevada City: stay on Auburn St. until it dead-ends in downtown with Main St. Turn right and continue on East Main, turning Left at the major stop sign intersection. (Going straight here is Idaho-Maryland Road that comes out on Brunswick Rd. that is a good way back to Hwy. 174.) Main St. becomes Nevada City Hwy. and then Zion St. in the Seven Hills Shopping District.

Around the right hand bend on your right is THE bicycle shop in the area, Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Shop. Just ahead is a “Y” in the road. Go left, down hill on Pine St., across a bridge and up into Nevada City. Enjoy a cuppa Joe before returning the route you came.

Returning to Colfax: I suggest the same route in reverse. Hwy. 174 is very narrow with hardly any shoulder but with a decent load of traffic. Happy Riding!!

*** Should you want to take the direct route to Grass Valley via Hwy. 174, a word of caution is in order. The first half of the ride is without shoulder space, curvy and some slow uphill travel. That makes for a not so safe nor comfortable riding condition. This way is about 14 miles. The above route via Dog Bar Rd. is about 20 miles. It’s longer but you can enjoy the scenery along the way. ***

Return to top

Bicycle Ride from Auburn to Rocklin

Coming into Auburn on High or Lincoln, head toward Old Town Auburn. Pass in front of the county "Capital" building and cross over I-80. LT at the "T" and down hill to Freeway on ramp. Hang right as it's only a short distance to Ophir Road off ramp. This is OK officially. (If you are coming down Hwy. 49, RT at the blvd. of Elm/Fulweiler Ave. At the "T" with Nevada St., LT and you will be taken to the same I-80 on ramp.)

Continue on Ophir Road to a "Y" at a large, old PG&E building. Bend left. You are now on Taylor Road for nearly the rest of your trip.There is a decent shoulder until Sierra College crossroad. Notice the several old gas stations along Historic US 40.

At Sierra College the shoulder disappears until nearly Rocklin Road. The other side has had the work done so someday this side will be done. For now, LT here onto Granite. This is a new frontage along I-80 with much development and good shoulder. It ends at Rocklin Road. RT back to Taylor/Pacific. A LT here will take you to Roseville.

Return to top