TRAILBEAR CRUISES THE LAKE: The Lake Almanor Recreation Trail
Ratings on the ToolBear Triple Trail Rating Scale (1-5) is 4/4/5
Trail surface - 4-5. Eight foot black top trail with root heaves marked in white as need.
Facilities - 4. Benches, bike racks, overlooks, signage, vault toilet, blacktop parking, etc.
Scenery – 5. Lakeshore sections with views of lake, Mt. Lassen, etc.
The Lake Almanor Recreation Trail starts in the PG&E Rocky Point Campground on the west shore of Lake Almanor, about 2.5 miles west of the dam on Rt. 89 and runs up the lake to the Almanor Campground and beyond. You are riding in forest. Sections have lake views. Other sections are up in the woods.
You have choices of trail head and where to start the ride. You can park at the small trail head at the entrance to the Rocky Point campground road. (GPS: 40d 11.481N x 121d 07.099W) Enter the campground and they will want $$$, however it’s a nice campground with a lot of lake view sites. Sure beats the USFS Almanor Campground (swampy, antique loos) up Rt. 89.
You can park at the Dyer View Trailhead (no fee) to the west and ride some out and backs in both directions (GPS: N40d 12.153 x W121d 08.171). Look for Almanor West Drive off Rt. 89 appx. 0.6 miles west of the campground entrance road. The road into Dyer View is at GPS N40d 12.106 x W121d 08.238. Dyer View has ample parking, a vault toilet, trash, info and interpretative signage, bike racks and benches with lake views. However – no water.
You can go up to the USFS Almanor campground some miles up the road and pick up the trail there. ((GPS: N40 13.046 W121 10.603). There is parking, water, loos, tables, etc.
For a map of the trail…
The trail starts to the east of the campground trailhead on a small point. You can take a nice ride out and back through the campground to the trailhead and then head west. This section has root heaves marked in white paint.
First stop is the wayside and viewpoint on the Point (GPS: 40d 12.199’N x 121d 07.414’W). Enjoy the lake views. There are benches, a bike rack and interpretative signs. The trail winds in and out around trees, up and down slopes, past overlook benches and views and generally is going up or down.
As you near the summer home hamlet of Pratville, the trail leaves the lake and the private lands ahead and climbs inland to get around them while remaining in Forest Service lands. Then it’s down into Almanor Campground where you can find water and restroom. Another route would be to follow the road thru Pratville and thence uphill to Almanor CG.
I did the eastern section of the trail as an Out N Back from my campsite at Rocky Point CG. Where the trail left the lake to get around Pratville, I headed back on Almanor West Drive, then cut down a power line trace to the trail east of Dyer View. Didn’t see much shoulder up on Rt. 89, but that is a quicker way back. I was inspired to get moving back by those wet-looking clouds and the sound of thunder growing ever closer.
Made it back dry, but we were getting deluge showers on as we headed up to Almanor CG in the van. Sat there a while, watching it come down, then packed it in headed on. In summer, make this an early morning ride. If you are off the trail by noon, you don’t catch a deluge. Usually.
If you do Almanor, head over to Susanville and do the Bizz Johnson Trail. Keep an eye on the clouds gathering as you ride. The best parts are the first miles from Susanville to the highway crossing over the Susan River, i.e., tunnels, bridges, canyon scenery. There is also a new mountain bike park in Susanville, so there is something for everyone over there. Even a Wal-Mart.
Trying to outride the rain.