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Willow Creek Trail

This double black diamond downhill trail for full suspension bikes with at least 5 inches of travel. It follows the Willow Creek down from the high country above Bass Lake, California. This is one long adrenalin rush from top to bottom and you dare not take your thoughts off of the trail ahead. I recommend this trail to advanced riders only as it encounters a wide variety of technical spots that will require a high degree of skill. There is a good chance that you will come upon hikers on the lower half of this trail, so keep your eyes peeled and let them know how many more riders are behind you. If any part of this trail scares you, just get off and walk until you come to a spot that you feel is within your skill level.

The easiest access is from Beasore road which intersects Rd. 274 just above the Pines Resort on Bass Lake. We usually park on the little road that follows the shore at the north end of the lake (rd 432) where the river flows into the lake at Falls Beach. From there, we ride along the lake to the Pines Resort and turn left up the hill to rd 274. Cross this road and continue up Beasore road about 3 miles until you see a wide paved pullout area where the logging trucks stop to check their brakes before descending to the lake. About one hundred yards up the road from here on the left is a small dirt road marked by a black X on a stump. This road takes you down about a quarter mile to Mc Cloud’s Flat. Here it opens up into a wide area and continues down to the creek. It is here at the beginning of this opening that the trail head begins. You must stop when you come to the opening and look to the left behind a large pine tree next to a fire pit/ picnic spot. We usually ride down to the creek and back up to this spot as a warm up to get ready for what is to come.

You can also access the trail from a fire road that starts at the west side of Willow Creek and follows it up and back down to the water. If you stay to the left when you reach the creek, there is a log across the creek which is the easy way to go. In summer, you can wade across but your shoes will get wet. From here you will climb up the slick rock terrain until you come to Mc Cloud Flat described above.

This is when you want to lower your saddle, tire pressure and put on your knee/shin and elbow pads. Now the fun begins. Cruise down the first half mile and you will come to the first of the granite sections. I recommend staying on the left through this section until you get to the granite Shute. Balance is key here so roll through and start down the pinball trail bouncing from one side to the other as you pick your own line through the granite trail. This is not the area to be ripping it as you need to pick your line carefully according to your abilities. If you wind down through this section carefully it won’t take too much skill, but if you are used to Moab type trails then you can go for it. You will come to what we call the Sherwood Forest section where you hop some small logs and come to our ladder bridge over the fallen three foot high tree. If you like big jumps, this is where you can huck it off and sail for at least 8-10 feet or chicken out and go down the stairs that I built for the hikers to get over. As you roll along Willow Creek, there is a beautiful pond to your right which is a great swimming hole in the summer months. Just past this you will roll up and down over granite and hard packed dirt until you come back down to the creek at the Angel Falls spot. You will see some deep pools in the solid rock which are tempting on a hot day but be careful. A few people have died and many have been injured at this spot because of the slippery wet rocks. Here you will take an abrupt left up the trail and over the top of a very nice view spot of Bass Lake and Goat Mountain. I always stop here and take in the sights as there are not many views this nice in the world today.

When you have soaked in enough of our wonderful landscape, get ready for the grand finale. After a short granite and a dirt section, you will come to where the water supply pipeline comes down to feed the Bass Lake residents. This pipe is in bad shape and leaks badly. The water that sprays onto the trail makes it very slippery. Just before you get to the slime covered granite, there is a sharp right, left and right turn. Here you can descend to your left without much trouble and arrive at the beginning of the end. If you stay to the left, you come to a Shute through some rocks to jump down to the trails end. If you go to the middle, you come down a steep, loose but ride able line to the bottom. If you chicken out, you can go to the right an follow the staircase type trail to the bottom. From here you will go to the left, over a small bridge and come out at Rd. 274. If you parked down at Falls Beach, continue across the road and left for about 150 feet. You will see a drop in trail following the creek down to a bridge down next to the lake. This is where a nice summer restaurant called the Falls once stood perched upon stilts right over the lake where the creek came in. The parking area is just to the left of this spot on the lakefront road. Hopefully you have arrived in one piece and are ready for another run.

Trail info and photos from: http://www.yosemitebicycle.com/

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