|Ponderosa Way, heading south to the N. Fork of the American River|
After doing a little research it seemed like Ponderosa Way should be ride-able. I put my 37C shod wheels on the Mercian to handle what was most probably a good long stretch of dirt road, and I wasn't disappointed!
|Here's the plotted route I took, going in a clockwise direction.|
|On Ponderosa Way, just crossing I-80. (This was taken on my scouting ride, hence the "skinny" 28C tires!)|
You'll go about a mile or so on easy paved roads until you reach this gated point, where the pavement ends.
Now you begin a long, dusty and rough descent to the North Fork of the American river. This road is rough. There are lots of eroded channels in it and plenty of stones. I needed to ride my brakes more than I cared to. At one point I stopped to let the rims cool a bit. Disc brakes would be useful here. The road is in worse condition that Yankee Jims, you need to take your time...
|A look southward, down the Canyon. The road snakes it's way down the hillside!|
|Finally, the river crossing!|
|Not the greatest bridge surface, but it worked.|
The climb up from the bridge is moderately steep, again rocky and rough. I used 26f/28r gearing for the lower section and that was adequate. It is a tough going but fortunately, you're on the north facing side of the hills so there is some shade protecting you from the sun. I strongly suggest you do as I did and take this ride in a "clockwise" direction. Your descent into the canyon will be in the sun and your climb will be in the shade. I think descending on the shady side would also be tricky because you may not see the irregular contours of this rough road surface well enough to avoid some ruts, etc.
|The vista point on the south side, looking back down into the canyon, you can see the road descending on the far side.|
You enter the pine tree level again and finally come to a sharp switchback which has a private gate at its apex. From this point the road improves, with some sort of tar surface on it, not quite asphalt, but not too bad.
|Looking back, back on the blacktop!|
|Post ride shot of the bike with the 37C tires and a coating of dust.|