Sierra Nevada Adventures Multi Day Rides

Alpine Adventure

ALPINE ADVENTURE RIDE

Here's your opportunity to explore historic pioneer wagon routes through the wild and scenic Alpine County located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada. Alpine County was created on March 16, 1864, during a silver boom in the wake of the nearby Comstock Lode discovery. It was appropriately named Alpine County because of its resemblance to the Swiss Alps.

Your two-day adventure ride begins on the western edge of the Sierra Nevada foothills where you will leave civilization behind and travel east on a combination of curvy back roads and fun dirt roads through river canyons and dense forest on your adventure to scenic Alpine County. Your adventure through Alpine County will explore historic pioneer routes past crystal clear alpine lakes with amazing views of snowcapped peaks. You will have the opportunity to visit historic grave sites of pioneers that perished during their adventure to the California Gold Country. You will also visit the historic Tragedy Springs which was named by members of the Mormon Battalion after an incident on June 27, 1848. Three of their men, serving as advance trail scouts on their journey to Salt Lake Valley were killed adjacent to the spring, allegedly by Native Americans. Mormon Battalion friends, arriving a few days later, buried the three men in a common grave and carved their names (Henderson Cox, Ezra Allen, Daniel Browett) on a nearby tree, thus preserving the grave’s location. In 1848 a company of Mormons, some of whom had served in the Mexican American War as part of the Mormon Battalion, were planning to leave the recently discovered gold fields near Placerville to join the new Mormon colony at Salt Lake City, Utah. Daniel Browett, president and lead scout of the Browett-Holmes Company, decided to ride out with two companions and scout snow conditions and a possible route over the Sierra Nevada against the advice of the rest of the company. When the scouts hadn't returned by July 5, a party of 10 went in search of them without success. On July 19, the main group, now on its way to Utah, arrived at the spring and found a freshly dug shallow grave with broken arrows lying about. Upon investigation, they found their scouts' bodies in the grave, whereupon they named the spring "Tragedy." The victims had been stripped, mutilated and robbed, according to journal accounts.

After exploring the western side of the Sierra, you will cross possibly the most historic pass in the Sierra Nevada known as Carson Pass 8,574 ft. You will have the opportunity to travel in the footsteps of the legendary American Frontiersman Kit Carson who guided the Fremont Expedition over the crest of the Sierra Nevada. The historic journey of the Fremont Expedition traveled across the frontier then turned south from northern Nevada, then eventually reached their camp at Nevada's Carson Valley on January 31, 1844. Local Washoe Indians told them of a route through the mountains but warned them not to proceed through the snow because there would be no food in the mountains during the winter and they would not survive. Frémont duly ignored the advice and directed the group westward. The Washoe were right in that they would not be able to find food or game so, in an act of desperation they ended up resorting to eating dog, horse, and mule just to survive. 

"The Pathfinder," John C. Fremont, his guide and friend Kit Carson made their historic crossing of the Sierra Nevada during the winter on February 20, 1844. Fremont's party was the first Euro-Americans to cross over what we now call Carson Pass. In addition, Fremont, Kit Carson and/or members of his party were the first Euro-Americans to climb Red Lake Peak, Elephants Back, and, possibly, Round Top Mountain. During the winter on February 14, 1844, Valentine's Day, Frémont and Charles Preuss, climbed the north dividing ridge of the Sierra crest where they “discovered” Lake Tahoe, about 20 miles further north. History records them as the first Euro-Americans to see the massive Lake Tahoe which was known by the native Washoe Indians as “Tahoe” meaning “Big Water”.

From present day Carson Valley, Kit Carson guided the Fremont Expedition up Charity Valley Creek into Grover Hot Springs Valley. They then continued up the valley reaching Faith Valley then further on to their winter camp, known as the “Long Camp” where the party stayed while preparing to cross over the Sierra Nevada crest which was reached on February 10, 1844. During their expedition, Kit Carson blazed his name and date on a tree near the top of the pass to mark the historic crossing. Ten days after reaching the Sierra crest, on the 20th, 1844 Kit Carson guided the Fremont Expedition over the crest of the Sierra Nevada at the location of what we now call "Carson Pass" and dropped down to the south fork American River about a mile west of Strawberry. From there, the Fremont Expedition continued west down the American River. The Fremont party reached Sutter's Fort on March 6, 1844 with no fatalities.

After crossing the historic Carson pass, your off-road adventure will explore pioneer wagon routes past abandon gold mines from the 1800's including historic mining routes above tree-line with spectacular panoramic views of the Alpine paradise. Your adventure continues to the eastern side of Alpine County and over one of the most scenic passes in the Sierra Nevada. You will pass through Aspen groves near the summit of this scenic pass which provides panoramic views of the Sweetwater Mountains and the Walker River Valley. From the summit your adventure descends the steep eastern escarpment of the Sierra Nevada to Topaz Lake Lodge and Casino which is your destination for Saturday night.

Day two of your adventure explores off-road past an abandoned open-pit sulfur mine high on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, in Alpine County. This former mining site history dates back to the 1860s when it once produced copper sulfate which was used to refine silver from ore during the Comstock mining era in Virginia City. Although the Leviathan mine history dates back to the 1860’s, major environmental problems originated during open-pit mining that occurred from 1951 through 1962. During this period, the mine was a source for producing sulfur which was used to dissolve copper from relatively low-grade ore at a mine near Yerington, Nevada. In 1962 the mine ceased operations and sold the property to a local interest and no significant mining activities have taken place since.

Beyond the Leviathan mine, your adventure explores the one of the most unique and untamed trans-Sierra routes, known as Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway. Located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada in Alpine County, this scenic byway offers a unique narrow twisty curvy road through stunning alpine scenery with glacially carved valleys, granite outcroppings, basalt columns, volcanic peaks, deep river canyons, ancient Sequoia groves, open meadows, pristine alpine lakes and precarious drop-offs around hairpin corners including two separate summits over 8,000 ft with Ebbetts Pass topping out at 8,730 ft. This unique mountain pass has a deep history from the pioneers that crossed this rugged landscape in search of gold in the Mother Lode to the rich silver strikes on the eastern escarpment that built this scenic Sierra pass. Long before the Gold Rush and Silver Strikes this rugged landscape was first crossed by Jedediah Strong Smith, one of America’s greatest trapper-explores to trailblaze the wild west.

Jedediah Strong Smith was among America’s premiere trailblazers. His explorations contributed to overland routes used by over 400,000 emigrants following the Platte River South Pass Trail.1 Included in these pioneers were an estimated 40,000 children and over 1 million animals enroute to Oregon and California on what would become America’s famous Oregon-California Trail.

Jedediah Smith’s great Southwest Expedition of 1826-28 brought him to California. He started from Bear Lake, Utah, near the Great Salt Lake, with 16 companions. They followed the rivers south across the desert land of Utah and Nevada, to where the Colorado River forms the border of present-day California. After some help from the Indians in the Mohave villages there, Smith headed across the Mohave Desert.

This was the hardest part of the trip, in spite of the fact that they followed Indian trails and had two Mohave guides. It was near the end of November when the party finally left the desert. They crossed the San Bernardino Mountains at a place near present-day Cajon Pass, and went down into the green of the Los Angeles basin.

At Mission San Gabriel they were welcomed by Father José Sanchez. They stayed at the mission for several months. The Mexican governor, José María Echeandía, became suspicious of Smith. He ordered him to report to San Diego, then told him to leave California immediately. Smith, however, had other plans. He wanted to explore California. He and his men went back across the San Bernardino Mountains, but then headed north into the great Central Valley, the first Americans to see this valley. They made their way as far north as the American River near present-day Sacramento, trapping beaver and charting the rivers and mountains.

On 20 May 1827, east of the confluence of the Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers, Smith and two companions left eleven trappers behind at an established camp and commenced a remarkable adventure crossing of the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Ebbetts Pass. After surviving three Native American massacres and one Grizzly Bear mauling, Jedediah Smith and his two companions became the first non-Indians to cross this formidable mountain range known as the Sierra Nevada. After this hazardous mountain journey, the exhausted men traveled across the equally hostile Great Basin of Nevada and Utah and to the rendezvous site at Bear Lake. It was 3 July 1827. Since leaving their comrades in central California, the three resolute mountain men had been enroute for over six weeks. Smith wrote, “My arrival caused a considerable bustle in camp, for myself and party had been given up as lost” by the original party of trappers. A cannon salute highlighted the rendezvous merry making on behalf of the “lost” trappers’ return.

Jedediah Smith’s explorations opened the way to California for Americans. He was the first white man to cross the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the first American to explore in California. No other individual had seen so much of California as Jedediah Smith. What he discovered was shared with other Americans through his letters and journals which provided needed information to create more accurate maps for future pioneers.

In 1830 Jedediah Smith retire from trapping and he sold his business. Jedediah decided to be a supplier for wagon trains heading west on the Santa Fe Trail. He thought this would be less dangerous work. On May 27, 1831, Jedediah Smith was scouting for water along that trail when he was killed in an exchange of gunfire with a small group of Comanche Indians. Jedediah was only 32 years old.

RIDE DETAILS

Multi-Day Adventure Ride: (20 rider max)

This dual sport adventure ride is perfect for medium (650cc) to large 1200cc+) dual sport adventure bikes.
Off-road terrain is rated "mild to moderate" with lots of adventure.
Ride distance 400+ miles round trip (100+ miles dirt roads)
Gas stops (125-mile range required)

Breakfast lunch and dinner at restaurants (meals Not included)

Day 1 bring water and lunch

MEETING TIME: 8:45 am (ride starts at 9:00 am)

MEETING LOCATION: Starbucks Folsom

195 Placerville Road Folsom CA. 95630

Ride returns to Folsom CA (approx. 5pm)

HOTEL RECOMMENDATIONS: 

Riders are responsible to book their Hotel reservations. (Not included)

Saturday Hotels recommended in Topaz Nevada.

-Topaz Lodge 1979 US-395, Gardnerville, NV 89410 (800) 962-0732

-Best Western Topaz Lake Inn 3410 Sandy Bowers Ave, Gardnerville, NV 89410 (775) 266-4661

-Both Hotels available in Topaz in walking distance.

Note: Riders have the 'option' to 'Camp" at Topaz Lake Nevada.

Riders that choose to camp are recommended to make camping reservations in advance.

Friday Hotel if needed:
Hampton Inn and Suites Folsom, CA (Not included)

Additional hotels in Folsom CA

More details listed under "Book this Ride"

Questions email: mark@SierraNevadaAdventures.com

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