Sierra Nevada Adventures Single Day Rides

Bear Trap Basin


Here’s your opportunity to EXPLORE the forgotten Kit Carson West Point pioneer route to the beautiful alpine mountain meadow known as Bear Trap Basin. Your OFF-ROAD route venture into the High Country to a historic cabin nestled in a scenic mountain meadow on this amazing ADVENTURE.

Your off-road adventure explores the forgotten West Point pioneer route discovered by the famous scout Kit Carson while searching for a pass over the Sierra Nevada. Kit Carson was an American frontiersman, fur trapper, wilderness guide, Indian agent, and U.S. Army officer who made important contributions to the westward expansion. After meeting explore John C. Fremont in 1882, Carson became Fremont’s personal guide and friend on their quest to explore and extend the boundaries of the United States of America.

The historical reference indicates that while searching for a way to cross the Sierra Nevada, Kit Carson traveled through present-day Bear Valley to Big Meadow before exploring the south ridge of Blue Creek which is a tributary of the majestic north fork canyon of the Mokelumne River. It’s believed that Kit Carson then veered west along the dividing ridge between Forest Creek and the north fork Mokelumne River before reaching present-day West Point. Kit Carson found himself stranded at this location and unable to proceed further due to the high floodwaters of the middle and north fork of the Mokelumne River which had blocked his path. While stranded at the confluence of the raging Mokelumne River Kit Carson named this western terminus, West Point.

Your adventure begins in the foothills where you will venture out on a series of curvy back roads through the historic Gold County before reaching Kit Carson’s western terminus. Your off-road adventure begins shortly after this historic point as you will find yourself exploring the forgotten Kit Carson West Point pioneer route through remote forest and mountain scenery. At this point, you can only imagine the difficult effort Kit Carson endured while exploring through this dense forest and rugged mountain landscape with no maps, no towns, and no guarantee of surviving the elements or Grizzly Bears that roamed the Sierra Nevada back in the day.        

Beyond the dense forest, you will soon find yourself in the beautiful alpine meadow known as Bear Trap Basin which is full of wildflowers and surrounded by large quaking aspen trees. For example, two quaking aspen trees in Bear Trap Basin were recently recorded by the Calaveras Ranger District as the largest quaking aspen trees in California. You will have the opportunity to enjoy your lunch in this alpine meadow including the opportunity to visit the historic Bear Trap Cabin. This historic two-story cabin is owned by the forest service and opened to the public. The small mountain cabin is maintained as an emergency refuge and is generally stocked with dry food and firewood in winter. It can be used at other times under a special permit from the Calaveras Ranger District. The cabin is sparsely furnished and has a stove for heat which could be a lifesaver if one finds themselves stranded during a winter storm. Bear Trap Basin and the surrounding area is known for extreme winters and record-setting snow depth. For example, nearby Tamarack holds the greatest snow depth ever measured anywhere in North America. Tamarack holds the U.S. snowfall record for one month 390 inches (32.5 feet) recorded in January 1911. Tamarack holds the U.S. seasonal snow depth record of 454 inches (37.8 feet) recorded in March 1911. Tamarack also holds the Sierra Nevada record snowfall during one season 884 inches (73.7 feet) recorded in 1906-07 in Tamarack California.

After your visit to the beautiful Bear Trap Basin, your adventure continues exploring on a perfect combination of curvy back roads and scenic off-road adventure through dense forest and the historic California Gold Country.

Event Details:

Single-Day Tour: (15 to 20 riders with 20 riders max)
This adventure ride is designed for (650cc+) to (1250cc+) dual-sport adventure bikes.
Off-road terrain is rated mild to moderate with some challenging and lots of adventure.
Ride distance approx. 175 miles round trip (75 miles dirt roads)
Gas stops (125-mile range required)

MEETING TIME: 8:30 a.m. (ride starts at 9:00 a.m.)
MEETING LOCATION: Mel’s Diner Jackson CA.
Mel’s Dinner 31-CA88 Jackson, CA 95642
Arrive in the morning with a full tank of gas.
Ride returns to Jackson CA. (approx. 5:00 p.m.)

MEALS (Meals not included)
Bring water, snacks, and lunch.

OPTIONAL HOTEL Prior to Event: (Hotel not included)
Riders are responsible for booking their hotel reservations.
-Best Western Amador Inn, 200 South Highway 49 Jackson, CA. 95642 (209) 223-0211
Additional hotels are available in Jackson CA.
Truck/trailering your bike? Parking is available at the meeting location.


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