I have been asked so many times, “Is this a trail I can do”? or “Is it really a beginner trail”?
This page will try to describe what makes which trail a beginner trail or advanced trail. I have made an informal rating as well as a short summary description. You’re welcome.

The Chimney
Intermediate
Although the climb is on a fire road, it is fairly long, and not for those who aren’t in pretty good shape. As for technical aspects, the trail is mostly smooth, with a couple of sections that the less experienced should walk.

The Recliner
Advanced Intermediate
This ride also has a long fire road climb, and a fairly steep downhill section, followed by a tricky creek crossing. The downhill is mostly smooth, nothing that can’t be ridden by the average rider.

The Couch
Advanced Intermediate
A very steep initial climb, (one of the steeper ones at Whiskeytown) some very technical downhill sections make this ride for someone who is confident in their skills. With features like the “Trench of Terror”, it borders on Advanced.

Shasta Mine Trail
Beginner to Intermediate
Depending on the route, this can be a good beginner ride, or if you throw in “the climb”, it would be more geared for intermediate riders. This ride is part of the “Peltier Valley” rides, and when we have a beginner
ride in this area, it is mostly flat, some rocky sections, all very rideable for anyone comfortable in the dirt.

Boulder Creek
Advanced Intermediate
Rated so because of the climb. It is on a fire road, but during the summer it can be very hot, and it is a non stop steep climb for over two miles. The downhill is not technical, but does have several creek crossings. Very refreshing in the summer, but cold in the winter!

Oak Bottom
Beginner
Flat, smooth, nothing technical, makes this probably the perfect ride for the beginner. There is one little hill, (probably 30 yards total) that is a very good gauge for your improvement. In the winter the trail is usually very wet, as it is an old water ditch trail, and does not drain well. In the summer this is a great ride as it is right next to the lake, and is mostly in the shade.

El Dorado Mine Trail
Advanced Beginner
Another great trail for those new to the sport. This can be added on to Oak Bottom. This ride throws in a climb on switchbacks, (tough for any level rider) but is very do-able. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t able to ride the switchbacks till your more experienced.

French Gulch
Intermediate to Advanced
This area is all about the climbing. 7 Miles on the shorter course. The downhill is not super technical, mainly motorcycle-made single or double track. Depending on the route, this can be an all day ride!

Dry Creek
Advanced Intermediate to Advanced
This ride is a beauty! The reason for the advanced rating is due to the cliffs on the side of the trail. It can be very technical, and should NOT be ridden alone. There are no major climbs, the trail just hugs the shore, but is very technical. If the dam is full of water, the trail can not be accessed.

Mary Lake Area
Intermediate on up
This is a great new area, hopefully it will stay around, the subdivision is growing and threatening the area. This is an intermediate ride because of the climbing. The trails are wide, and all very rideable, nothing too technical, but you do have to climb. This is a great winter ride area, even for night rides. The view from the top at night can’t be beat!

River Trail
Beginner
A great place to get your “legs”. This trail system is mostly flat, and all paved. There are a couple of single track dirt trails that lead off the pavement, good place to explore, with a friend. Watch out for other trail users.

Clikapudi
Beginner to Advanced Intermediate
This is mainly an easy trail, it does have a couple of good climbs, and features the dreaded “switchbacks”. For the real beginner, it can be rode as an out an back from the boat ramp to the campground. For the hardened rider, it can be a “recovery” ride, or at race pace, or at night for even more challenges. Look for the new addition that RMB is working on now. The trail does feature some “rock garden” areas that the beginning rider should use caution on.

Downieville
Advanced Intermediate
Although this is mainly downhill, it is very technical, and should not be attempted by beginners. There are cliffs, drop offs, rocks, and loose dirt that thrown in with the fact that you are fatigued from the ride, can cause you to let your guard down. But…it’s a BLAST!

Again, special thanks to Max Walter for all his work on his book dedicated to our trails in this area. Max also does a lot of volunteer trail clean ups, and has given a lot to this sport. Check out his book, North State Singletrack!

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Another quick trail finding reference:

Beginner Trails: Oak Bottom, El Dorado Mine Trail, Sacramento River Trail, Keswick Dam River Trail, Clikapudi, Mule Mountain
Intermediate Trails: The Chimney, Shasta Mine Trail, Clikapudi, French Gulch, Mary Lake, Mule Mountain
Advanced Intermediate and up: Recliner, Couch, Shasta Mine, Boulder Creek, Dry Creek, French Gulch
Easiest: River Trails
Best all around: Clikapudi
Hardest climb: French Gulch, Boulder Creek
Most scenic: Chimney
Best cardio workout and fitness gauge: Southfork! This is a 7 mile climb, starts on the dirt road across 299 from the Visitor Center at Whiskeytown. It is all dirt road and is perfect for those who want to just get out and get in shape. Try getting to the first lookout without stopping, then try to get to the top, then try to go all the way without stopping, then try using your middle chain ring up front, etc. The view from the top is great, and this is a good night ride as well!

Most extreme, mountain-based sports have a code of conduct. Either written or spoken, this code allows riders to remain safe and responsible while on the trail. Climbing has one. Skiing and snowboarding has one. Mountain biking, a fast-paced extreme sport wherein several people share a swath of wilderness and may or may not interact with one another, has one, too. In fact, mountain biking etiquette may be one of the more important codes of conduct; you will likely share Redding’s trails with hikers, runners, and equestrians, which increases the need for extreme caution and a reverence for safety. Below, we have listed and detailed the six Rules of the Trail.

 

  1. Ride open trails. You should never ride on trails that are closed off. Respect trail and road closures, and don’t trespass on private land.
  2. Leave no trace. This applies to all outdoor adventure sports. Stay on existing trails, don’t cut switchbacks, and pack out at least as much as you can pack in.
  3. Bike in control. Keep your head up and obey all speed regulations and recommendations. Stay alert and always ride within your limits.
  4. Yield appropriately. Always let other trail users know you’re coming and give a friendly greeting. Do your best to anticipate other trail users around corners, and yield to non-bike trail users. Always yield to riders headed uphill when you are riding downhill.
  5. Don’t scare the animals. Frightened wildlife can be very dangerous, so do your best to stay alert and use special care when passing horses.
  6. Plan ahead. Do the appropriate research before your trip and pack what you’ll need. Know your equipment and your own ability and be self-sufficient. Always, always, always wear a helmet.

Depending on your mountain biking terrain, these rules of conduct should be posted on either the base or the peak of the trail or mountain. Even if they’re not, learn to respect the code and other riders; mountain biking is only safe if you know how to stay in control and handle the trail.

While the Carr Fire rages to the west, several areas in and around Redding remain perfectly suitable for mountain biking. However, some of the city’s favorite recreation areas have been scorched by the blaze. While the trails themselves can’t burn, everything around them can. This can include anything from trees and signs to benches, tables, and culverts. It is estimated that around 100 of the 120 miles of the Bureau of Land Management’s trail are affected in some way, but this does not mean they are irrevocably damaged. In fact, some of these trails may re-open before the close of the season. However, here is a list of current closures and fire-related happenings.

  • Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, which drew more than 832,000 visitors last year, has closed for the summer.
  • Large chunks of the Sacramento River Trail are missing; four bridges were burned on the western part of the loop. The city is asking the public to stay off this six-mile section until it is repaired.
  • Power lines have fallen across trails, and burned trees can pose a danger to bikers.
  • The Swasey Recreation Area has sustained significant damage; officials say it was, ”completely blackened.”

In order to re-open the trails, officials will need to inspect every mile. This is the only way to ensure safety. Officials also warn that the conditions of trails can be deceiving; bikers may see trailheads with intact kiosks and bathrooms, but dangers could lurk down the path.

Mountain bikers should continue to exercise caution as the fire slows. Autumn marks the beginning of the rainy season, and the lack of vegetation will inevitably create a lot of runoff. If the area gets a lot of rain, landslides are likely to occur.

Though much of the biking to the west of Redding has been damaged, trails to the east remain relatively untouched. The City of Redding is still ripe with mountain biking opportunities—tourists and locals should simply exercise caution to the west.

On July 23, 2018, at around 1:15pm, a wildfire began in Shasta County, California. Now known as the Carr Fire, the blaze has swept across both Shasta County and Trinity County, affecting some 1,000 residences, 22 commercial structures, and 500 outbuildings. The most impacted areas are stretches of Highway 299, Carr Powerhouse Road, and Whiskeytown, and around 528 structures remain threatened. Dozens of agencies are cooperating to subdue the blaze, including California Transit, the Shasta County Sheriff, the Redding Police Department, the Shasta County Fire Department, and the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office; the fire is currently 47% contained.

The fire has experienced varying wind exposure, which has worked to both strengthen and subdue the blaze. The abundance of timber in the area has challenged firefighting efforts, but crews will continue to construct containment lines while mitigating spot fires across control lines. Though the fire is nearly half contained, it is beginning to spread into Redding. The Government of California has been providing updated maps of affected areas each day since July 25th; we recommend downloading the most recent map to see how the fire has shifted, grown, and shrunk in recent days.

The hot, dry weather that contributed to the Carr Fire’s inception is forecasted to continue for the next several days, but firefighters are working around the clock to extinguish the blaze. However, the fire itself is so large and hot that it is creating its own localized weather system, hindering forecasting efforts. As of August 9, more than 38,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes.

Despite this natural disaster, this part of the state will remain one of the best cycling and biking spots in the country. While parts of Redding’s greenery have been affected by the fire, dozens of square miles of forest remain untouched. Though scary, the Carr Fire will eventually be put out, and life will return to relative normalcy in the greater Redding area. When that happens, we expect the mountain biking industry to return in full force.

This is something we love about cycling; no matter how intense the devastation appears, enthusiasts are always willing to jump back on the bike. Redding, in particular, may see an uptick in biking interest in the wake of the Carr Fire; mountain biking provides the unique opportunity to explore the aftermath of large-scale fires while trekking through the areas that remain untouched. Cycling will allow both visitors and locals to experience the dramatic effects of this fire first-hand. We can’t wait to get back on the trails.

As with any sport, mountain biking comes with its own terminology and language. Learning the ropes out on the trail is nearly as important as understanding essential commands, equipment, and ways of communicating. In memorizing a handful of important terms, you’ll be able to better communicate with fellow bikers both on and off the trail. The Redding mountain biking scene is full of veteran riders who might tease you if you don’t know your stuff. Brush up on some of the most important words with our guide below.

 

Attack Position: This is the well-balanced position you ride in while you are approaching or riding on rough terrain. The knees are bent, the butt is above the saddle, the elbows are slightly bent, and the head is raised.

Berm: An embankment on the trail

Bunny Hop: A hop you incorporate to clear obstacles, such as logs, without stopping

Chain Suck: The dragging, jamming, and bunching of the chain that occurs in sloppy, muddy conditions

Clipless Pedal: A pedal that has spring-loaded cleats that clip to a rider’s shoe

Dialed In: When everything on your bike is running smoothly

Doubletrack: Two trails that run parallel to each other; this may also be called a tractor trail or Jeep trail.

Downshift: Shifting to a lower gear

Dropping In: When you proceed down a steep single track when other riders are around

Dualie: A bike with both front and rear suspension

Endo: A crash that involves going over the handlebars

Fire Road: a backcountry dirt or gravel trail wide enough for emergency vehicles to use

Gnarl: This is an extreme technical section of a trail often characterized by rough, rooted, slippery, and rocky sections.

Grider: A long, uphill climb

Hardtail: A bike with no rear suspension

Line: The desirable path or strategy to tackle a tricky section of the trail

Ratchet: A riding technique in which the rider pedals in partial strokes to clear difficult obstacles

Upshift: A shift into a higher gear

Wash Out: When the front tire loses traction, especially while going around a corner

Yard Sale: A crash so bad it scatters every piece of equipment