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Bike Rides of Nevada County

Biking Route
Cyclists at the historic covered bridge at Bridgeport, Nevada County, California – Dave Carter

Nevada City welcomes mountain bike riders and road riders, with trails and routes for all abilities.

For mountain bike riders, Nevada City and the surrounding trails, forests, lakes and rivers of Nevada County are a year-round playground. Come enjoy a pleasant cruise or a healthy cycling workout, amid nature's wonders.

Road riders will discover quiet backroads with little traffic, but should remain vigilant at all times because many of the roads are narrow and winding, without wide shoulders. ****************************************************************************** Mountain Bike Routes:

Pioneer Trail: This mountain bike trail follows the old Emigrant Trail that crossed Donner Summit enroute to the Sacramento Valley. There are portions of the trail where you can still see the double wagon ruts carved by long-ago pioneers. Riders gather and park near the Five-Mile House, on Highway 20, five miles east of Nevada City. Start at Harmony Market and ride eastward along Harmony Ridge and Washington Ridge, through the Tahoe National Forest to White Cloud Campground and beyond. The out and back route parallels State Scenic Route 20 and extends more than 20 miles to Bear Valley, which leads to access to trails in the Lake Spaulding area.

Empire Mine State Historic Park: A variety of trails wind around the historic mine center at this 780-acre state park in the pines just outside of Grass Valley. This is a nice forested area for families and less experienced hill climbers. Park and enter at Penn Gate off of Empire Street in Grass Valley.

Road Rides:

The LeMond Loop. This 14.6-mile ride through rolling hills features pastoral views and is rated easy to moderate. It is named for cycling legend Greg Lemond, who used it as a warm up ride and won the Nevada City Bicycle Classic three times (1979-81) before going on to conquer the cycling world at the Tour de France. Two hundred riders of all levels rode the loop (also known as Newtown Loop) with LeMond in 2000. Distance: 14.6 miles; Type of Ride: Rolling hills with pastoral views. End in charming, historic Nevada City. Degree of Difficulty: Easy/Moderate (one short, steep hill) Start: Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Shop, 457 Sacramento Street, Nevada City. This scenic ride takes you by the local high school (best on weekends and in summer when school is not in session), by farmlands and ranches, through Deer Creek canyon, and back through historic Nevada City.

Indian Springs- McCourtney Loop: Distance: 46 miles; Type of Ride: Mostly rural farmland; Degree of Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult, rolling terrain, some hills. Start: Pleasant Valley Rd./Hwy. 20 Park and Ride. This beautiful, mostly rural ride takes you by vineyards, farmland, horse ranches, and local scenery in and around Penn Valley and Grass Valley.

Allison Ranch Loop Distance: 10.3 miles; Type of Ride: Rural farmland, woods and valleys. Degree of Difficulty: Easy/Moderate - rolling hills with 2 climbs. Start: Nevada County Fairgrounds - Gate 1, 11228 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley (Mill Street Exit off of SR 20). This wonderful ride takes you through farmland, woods, valleys, and over beautiful Wolf Creek twice, all in just a little over 10 miles! The start is at the remarkable Nevada County Fairgrounds, where, during our warmer months, you'll no doubt find an interesting event to attend. Do not miss the historical North Star Powerhouse Mining Museum at mile 0.4 of the ride. There you will also find an inviting park with picnic tables alongside Wolf Creek. Enjoy all the diversity this lovely little ride offers.

Bridgeport- Bitney Springs Loop: Distance: 33.5 miles; Type of Ride: Rural farmland/residential. Degree of Difficulty: Moderate/ Difficult, rolling terrain, some hills. Start: Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Shop, 457 Sacramento Street, Nevada City. This beautiful, mostly rural ride takes you by farmland, historical sites, and crosses the South Yuba River twice. It's also interesting to do this route in the opposite direction.

Old Donner Pass Road Distance: 44 Miles; Type of Ride: Mountains, Yuba River, Donner Lake, historic Truckee. Degree of Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult (one long climb and descent) Start: Cisco Grove exit across Interstate 80 to Hampshire Rocks Road. (Parking available.) This is a beautiful out-and-back ride to historic Truckee that follows only two roads, Hampshire Rocks Road (HRR) and Donner Pass Road (DPR). Bypassing the traffic of I-80, you ride along the river and past ski areas over Donner Pass, where you are greeted with spectacular views of Donner Lake. Continue into Old Town Truckee for refreshments.

Route Directions

Illustrated and well-mapped mountain bike trail guides featuring 12 different routes in the surrounding area are available. The trail guides rate each ride by level of difficulty and include descriptions of scenic, natural and historic characteristics of the trail.

Illustrated and well-mapped road biking guides feature 5 routes in the greater Nevada City area. The trail guides rate each ride by level of difficulty and include descriptions of scenic, natural and historic characteristics of the trail.

Mountain bike and road bike route maps are available from the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce at 132 Main Street in historic downtown Nevada City. Call 530-265-2692 or click on for pdf-printable maps and brochures.

Route Length


Nearby Places