Just rode 2 days in the Swasy Trails system. Loved it! Great terrain and loved the views after a week riding in the Oregon forest. I prefer big views over being deep in a forest.
Locals sent us up Wintu Trail counter-clockwise a little before noon on our first day. Redding was supposed to reach 96F that afternoon so getting warm by then. 13% grades in the hot sun was un-fun even to hike the bikes but I guess that is how the locals test visitors.
When we finally got to the top of the new jumps section of Wintu we decided to move on and descend Meiners Trail instead. Several locals told us the jump trail part of Wintu had huge gap jumps that couldn’t be avoided. The signs at the top are hardly encouraging.
We’ve worked on and rode the Demo Flow Trail and the Corral Flow Trail at Tahoe and played around on small gap jumps at the famous Post Office Jumps in Aptos so we aren’t complete cowards but the trail advice made it seem like a bad idea for us. Maybe next time…
No problem because we loved dropping the east side of Meiners! Even found a few rock gardens and I was desperate for rocks after a week of riding X/C near Bend and above Oakridge.
We were going to drive home to San Jose after this ride last Sunday but decided to ride again Monday, Memorial Day. We moved on to the saloons in French Gulch in the afternoon, an old mining town, and some free campsite near Trinity Lake on a rushing stream. Still a lot of snow higher up.
Odd thing happened on Sunday. Some equestrians gave us great trail advice. I haven’t had the best experiences with equestrian advice starting with backpacking in the early 60’s.
We got an earlier start on Monday, about 9 AM at the TH, and climbed Meiners, Escalator, and dropped down Mule Mountain Trail. This route was recommended by a very welcoming local guy. The climbing was easy, even fun. Loved the descent on Mule Mtn!!! Rock gardens, large gravel, narrow trail with steep drop-offs, the technical riding that I prefer. My wife has been very cautious since her ER trip last fall but she started to regain her mojo on this trail. This is what our Yeti trail bikes were designed for.
There is a lot of poison oak in the area but it was well clear of the trails we rode. Only a few mosquitos. I was surprised how early the trailheads clear out. It wasn’t that hot and we had a nice breeze.
The trailheads we visited have nice toilets and picnic tables. They are crowded early in the morning but the locals run away when it heats up. We were fine with the heat.
We did a Google search for bike shops to get local info and maybe a map with more trail info than the apps. None of the shops in the search results were open, really odd for a place that seems to want to be a destination. I searched through some related mtbr.com posts until I found a referral to Sports LTD and they were open.
Not only are they not listed under a bike shop search, pretty dumb for a business not to have basic SEO, but their bike shop info is under the Backpacking section of their site. Talk about clueless hicks. It was very difficult and ate time to try to figure out what they do.
The guys in the shop were awful at describing trails, probably the worst I’ve encountered in the U.S. west, and their map was a cheap tourist thing and worthless. They made riding the Whiskeytown trails seem awful so we didn’t consider them. I’ve heard since then that they are great trails. I was pissed off for wasting my time on this wild goose chase.
The bike shop scene needs improvement for Redding to be considered an MTB destination. Good opportunity for an Over The Edge shop. The trails qualify and the extra attractions in the area such as swimming, fishing, exploring old gold towns, etc are also qualifiers. Don’t miss the saloons in French Gulch! Bring cash.
(Destination MTB tourism has well established criteria.)
It would be good if Redding had a map from AdventureMaps.net like Oakridge, Bend, and many other MTB destinations in the west. Their maps give visiting riders a much clearer picture of what is available than the smart phone apps. Or something like the maps that Moab has available.
Anyway, other than the shops, I highly recommend Redding! I’ve rode CA, NV, UT, CO, AZ, WA, AK, OR, and even Russia. Seen a few trails and towns.