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Old 02-14-2013, 11:35 PM   #1
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Foot hills are turning green

Briceburg 02-08-2013 weekend trip report.

We are getting some fairly warm weather here in California. It's a great time of year and I try to make every weekend I can even if just to camp. Provided Yosemite is in your sights, the burma grade road is a fun trip. I've written about it on my web site, so if you want information you can read it here. The road can be wicked at times but this year I think a car could have made it without any problems. This is a good one for a Sprinter, just be prepared to come away with some pin stripping.

The climb starts at the Merced River and the Briceburg bridge

You can see Highway 140 at the base of the canyon. Below is a cropped picture showing the bridge.

The trail is very narrow in spots and on coming traffic can pose a problem.

Most of the brush is light along this section.

The road does have a few switchbacks.

The road straightens out as it winds around the mountain.

Not good on the paint job...I hate that sound.
The area burned several years back. Too bad, it was quite scenic through here at one time.

Besides ruts and washouts along the switchbacks, here is where dead trees love to fall across the trail after a storm. I was lucky, most of the trees were removed when I ran the trail but they sure don't leave much room. I had to get out and cut a couple branches to get through. Soon you'll reach the area that the fire missed.

This was and still is a mining are.

A spring, but I'd never drink out of it.

There are only a few boon docking spots. This is one area but you can't really get too far off the trail. The flower bloom in March can be fantastic up here but it was way too early on this run.

The route is fairly easy to follow but there are some spurs and a map is a good idea to have.

The markers don't help much but my Garmin shows the route.

This by far the best spot to camp along the trail. Above this area the trail crosses over the creek in a couple spots.


Finally you'll get into private property but just sections of it.

I sure hope this area never burns. It's a beautiful area as the trail climbs.

It had snowed earlier during the week and I was actually surprised how clean the trail was. At the end of the trail, some of the best land is private property. What a nice ranch to own.

I camped up towards Anderson Flat in the pines along Bull Creek.

This is a nice little run and perfect at this time of year. Things start to dry out during April depending on the rains. It's always best to contact the Groveland Ranger District about the trail condition if you plan to run it. As mentioned on my site, there are several other trails in the area to take, and the Old Coulterville Trail is still the only free way into the Yosemite plus it was one of the first trails into Yosemite National Park.

Enjoy, Dave
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2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

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Old 02-15-2013, 12:17 AM   #2
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Foot hills are turning green

Screw you Daveb! And your green hills, and your nice weather!

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Old 02-15-2013, 07:49 AM   #3
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Re: Foot hills are turning green

Nice pictures Dave. But in my envy I was thinking the same thing as Zeta. This picture was taken the week before we got 14" of snow.

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Old 02-15-2013, 08:35 AM   #4
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Re: Foot hills are turning green

Thanks for the post. Looks like a cool trip!
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:04 AM   #5
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Re: Foot hills are turning green

And here I'm missing the low snow. I have yet to make it to the sierra's for a nice snow storm.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:04 AM   #6
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Re: Foot hills are turning green

Nice write up Dave.

We took it several years ago. The overgrowth on the main trail was just too much to get through with a new paint job. (I was squeamish back then.) We eventually made it out using spurs. I was wondering if the fire cleared out enough of the brush to go back and try it.
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Old 02-15-2013, 06:48 PM   #7
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Foot hills are turning green

Great scenery. Thanks.
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:18 PM   #8
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Re: Foot hills are turning green

Charlie, I usually run it a couple of times a year. During years of heavy rain the ruts are so deep that I'll stay clear of it. So, the agency in charge of keeping it open, (probably BLM, Forest Service or County) and they figure it's not worth constant repair??? Also since the fires, much of the Burma Grade trail is open with less brush and it's less constricted. Yeah I took on some scratches but in general it was more accessible this year than I've ever seen. IMHO I think a Sprinter could have got through with only minor difficulty. Most of the side trails before the road into Anderson flat are closed due to the fires but the main route up to the Coulterville Trail is open out of Anderson. The Coulterville trail is not accessible above the Mc McCauley ranch where a tree went over. I found out about that back when I went to meet Steve from LA up in Yosemite back in 2011 and the road is still compromised at that point. A jeep should be able to get through but I haven't seen what the runoff has done to that spot. The rangers told me they won't go through it. I bitched about it and they assured me it would be taken care of this year. Yep, like they didn't know? Well that is what they said. I was told that the trail to Pilot Peak has been cleared. It's been over 10 years since I've seen that trail open and would love to revisit that fire lookout. I don't even remember what it looked like. As far as fire lookouts, the Trumble lookout trail is closed until further notice due to the fires. The fires might be a blessing because the worst damage to my van occurred on that trail. The forest service plans to open the lower and/or upper trail this year.

JFYI, the forest service has started a restriction operation for boon docking. Not longer can you just pull into a flat area to camp even if a road leads into a good camping area. The rule is just a short distance off the road is acceptable...we're talking something like 6-10 feet! This is BS and folks need to complain about these rules. Some areas are requiring a "camping permit" but I haven't seen that yet.

I hope I can retire from this world before ALL camping is restricted unless you're in a campground.
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:57 AM   #9
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Re: Foot hills are turning green


I drove the Burma Grade years before we got our SMB and the scariest part of the drive was seeing discarded beer cans along the narrow sections! So, rednecks obviously drink beer while driving this trail!

Regarding the road to Trumbull Peak...I've been in contact with the Groveland Ranger station about getting access restored out to the top of the logging incline there. Hopefully, we'll get some action on it in the next year or two...
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:53 AM   #10
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Re: Foot hills are turning green

Wicked cool trail Dave. Muy bueno!

I got some green too near Ramona Ca while bombing around.

Wenatchee Wa has not got its green... yet.

Two wheels or four, its all good. :-)
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