Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest (near Clear Lake)

OTE Ratings: O9/T7/E6
Distance: 13 miles
Time: 2 - 48 hours
USGS 7.5' topo: Whispering Pines, CA


Some dirt road but a whole lot of fun singletrack; sparsely forested mildly sloped hills, some challenging but short climbs. The state forest area covers the top of a Boggs Mountain, which is a pretty large and surprisingly flattish (the whole area stays between about 2800' and 4000' elevation).

Directions to the start

(N 38° 49' 46", W 122° 41' 46")
Find your favorite way to Calistoga, at the north end of Napa Valley. Take CA-29 north toward Middletown, and then in Middletown (N 38° 45' 08", W 122° 36' 51"), turn left onto CA-175. Go on through Cobb, then go north about 1.3 mile, to the white-on-blue "State Fire Station" sign. Turn right there (N 38° 50' 16", W 122° 43' 14"), onto "Forestry Road" and drive in about a mile (dirt road) to the camping area. (For me, the total driving time from Mountain View was 3 hours.)

Ross Finlayson notes: The following route (thanks to Doug Landauer) appears to be the fastest way to get to CA-29 (near Calistoga), starting from US-101 northbound from San Francisco:

  1. (N 38° 29' 39", W 122° 45' 06") Take the Mark West Springs Road exit (about 5 miles north of Santa Rosa). Follow this road eastward. (Along the way, it changes its name to Porter Creek Road.)
  2. (N 38° 33' 06", W 122° 38' 59") Turn left onto Petrified Forest Road.
  3. (N 38° 34' 52", W 122° 35' 43") Turn left onto SR-128.
  4. (N 38° 35' 18", W 122° 36' 21") Turn right onto Tubbs Lane.
  5. (N 38° 36' 20", W 122° 35' 40") Turn left onto CA-29, continuing north (up a steep hill) towards Middletown, Cobb, and Boggs Mountain.
Note also that you can shave off a couple more miles by taking the Dry Creek Cutoff (N 38° 44' 40", W 122° 37' 52"), bypassing Middletown.

The ride

Most of the trails are pretty well signed; you can put together several loop trips from the maps that are provided. Here are three suggestions:

Loop 1

Take Forest Road 200 ("FR 200") up above the camping area, and turn left onto Karen's Trail, climb up it, and down the other side (don't miss the Vista Point), then zoom around Hobergs Loop, and where the boughs block it, walk the bike up onto Mac's trail, which zigzags down to hit FR 210 just above where it hits FR 500 by the heliport. But don't go down onto FR 500. Instead, turn left onto FR 210, and then right onto Shaker Trail, which climbs over to FR 200; take the right onto FR 200 to return to camp.

Loop 2

Take Forest Road 200 up above the camping area, and turn right onto Berry's Trail, which turns into Crew Trail. At its end, turn right onto FR 400, then right onto FR 500 (the main road into the area), after 1/3 mile, turn left onto Houghton Creek trail. At its end by the heliport, turn right to return to camp via FR 500.

Loop 3

Take Forest Road 200 up above the camping area, and turn right onto Berry's Trail, which turns into Crew Trail. At its end, turn left onto FR 400, bear right onte FR 300, then find the singletrack John's Trail on the right. (I call it "Mad John's Trail".) It ends on FR 600, turn left and go down a very short way, to Big Springs Trail, which takes you on down to FR 100. Check out the Big Spring (at the bottom of Charlie's Trail), then go the other way (i.e., turn left from Big Springs Trail onto FR 100, take FR 100 past FR 300 and then left onto Grizzley [sic] Trail. Grizzley puts you back onto FR 100 for a short stretch as you cross Spikenard Creek (ow!) then back onto singletrack as Grizzley makes a serious climb up to FR 300. Cross 300 for another Grizzley section, then out onto 300 again. Take 300 as it climbs mildly to FR 200; turn left onto 200 for the rest of your climb back to the Karen's/Berry's/200 junction just above camp.

©1995-2015 Doug Landauer

Ross Finlayson adds: Be warned that Boggs Mountain is quite far from the Bay Area, and consequently, you may run into some 'rural characters' there. In particular, hunters sometimes use this area.

A connection from Harbin

[1997.07.28] Bill Gogesch describes a connection from the Harbin Hot Springs area:
Just ride up the gravel road that climbs out of of the "meadow" area. Climb until you reach a Y in the road. Take the left branch. You will come to a sign that warns you are entering private property. Just before that on the right is what looks like a big gravel pile with a path leading to it. Take that path to the right and continue to climb. Thereafter take only left turns. By now you have climbed maybe 1500' in about 3-4 miles (sorry I won't be able to confirm this until I take a functional cycle computer :-( --)

If you stay on this fire road, which swings north eventually, you will hit the Big Spring trail of Boggs Mountain! You now have some of the finest N. CA. single track at your disposal!

I just discovered that connection on my last visit. In the past it just killed me to hop in a car or ride something like 10 miles of pavement to get to the auto-access to Boggs.

Now you can just roll out of your sleeping bag, hop on your bike and ride! With a soak waiting for you on your return!


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©1995-2015 Ross Finlayson