Yuba Mountain Guides

How does this look? Look tasty? Then you will want to contact us so we can show you where the goods are. The Lakes Basin of the Lost Sierra has consistently shown up on magazine top 10 lists, come out and explore it.

The Lost Sierra has miles upon miles of thrilling adventure, we'll be happy to show it to you.

Mountain Bike guiding in the Lost Sierra

Looking for Something Different?

We offer custom trips by request only, no trip or event is too big or too small. Whether you want to ride one of the classic descents in the area, or set up a multiday event, we have you covered.

A Few of the Guided Options

Jamison Creek
If raw is your middle name, than this trail is an old relative! One of the least ridden trails, yet one of the best. This ride does not require a shuttle, so be prepared for a long fire road climb right off the bat! Luckily, its not to steep. We start right outside the town of Johnsville, and gain elevation into the mountains. Once at the top of Jamison Creek, we descend into a pristine alpine valley on trails that most likely don’t have any other tire tracks. Once we reach Grass Lakes, we have another technical descent back to the cars. This descent consists of steep perfect loam, and chunky technical granite rock gardens. Due to how technical, remote and committing this trail is, it is only for advanced riders.
Total Mileage: 18
Vertical Gain/Loss: 2,000’/2,000’

Mt. Elwell
Mt. Elwell needs no introduction, it was recently named one of North Americas top 10 descents and a “must ride” trail. We meet in the town of Graeagle in the morning before taking the shuttle to the trailhead. One of the appeals of Mt. Elwell is not only its amazing views, scenic alpine lakes and world class single track but its sense of remoteness. We take the guess work out of which trail to take and get you through the terrain with ease and confidence. This ride is definitely considered an “adventure ride”, with sections of hike a bike and sustained steep climbs. Those willing to go through with this adventure will be rewarded with a descent from the summit all the way into the town of Graeagle. We travel through all different eco systems along the way, starting in the granite capped high alpine peaks, into old growth forests and finally into where the mountains meet the high desert, all on single track.
Total Mileage: 17
Vertical Gain/Loss: 2100’/5,000’

Lavezzola Creek Trail
One of the bigger and more remote rides offered from Packer Saddle. Our shuttle leaves at 9am from Downieville, once at the top we start on a traverse across the Lost Sierra Crest. As we climb above Deer Lake, over the ridge and look down into Gold Lake on the right, Gold Valley on the left. The epic scenery and unobstructed views of Lakes Basin, and drainages into Downieville are over whelming. Once we reach Lavezzola Creek trail, we start with a rough rocky descent into perfect wooded single track. We follow the meandering trail back into Downieville.
Total Mileage: 25
Vertical Gain/Loss: 2,200’/5,500’

Big Boulder to Second Divide
This route is a must do from Packer Saddle, it covers some of the best trails and rarely ridden terrain in the area. We take the shuttle directly from Downieville and get dropped off at Packer Saddle, we then follow the new Gold Valley Rim Trail to the section formally known as “Baby Heads.” From there we descend into Gold Valley and climb to the top of Big Boulder Trail. We descend about 2500’ vertical feet with no climbing on some of the smoothest trail in the area! Once at the bottom we connect onto second divide, this trail contours above Pauley Creek and offers everything from fast flowy trail to technical sections, as well as swimming holes along the way. From there we cap it off with Lower First Divide back into town.
Total Mileage: 26
Vertical Gain/Loss: 2500’/6,500’

Check out all the trails in the Lakes Basin area, ready to explore?

Lakes Basin Map

 

When you're ready...

Set up your custom trip with Yuba Mountain Guides Operational Director, contact Max at max@sierratrails.org or 1-530-559-1857

Contact Max with questions or to set up your trip

 

Downieville riding

Mills Peak riding

Mt. Hough riding

Your Guides

Max Wittenberg

Max Wittenberg is Yuba Mountain Guides lead guide and operations director. Max is no stranger to the Lost Sierra and has spent a considerable amount of time exploring the endless trail network this area has to offer. He first came to work at Yuba Expeditions a handful of years ago and never really ended up leaving the Lost Sierra.

Living in Truckee, CA, he routinely finds himself coming back over the hill to ride what he considers “the best trails in Northern California”. During the winter Max spends his time teaching avalanche courses in Tahoe and running his own business in Lassen National Park, in the spring he makes his yearly pilgrimage to heli ski guide in Valdez, Alaska.

Kurt Gensheimer

For the last four summers, Kurt has explored the far reaches of the Lost Sierra by mountain bike, hunting forgotten prospecting trails and mining camps from the Gold Rush. His passion for history, riding raw primitive trail, bushwhacking and hike-a-bike exploits have earned him the nickname "Trail Whisperer".

His other nickname is The Angry Singlespeeder, but considering how steep the mountains in the Lost Sierra are, Kurt doesn't ride the singlespeed much these days. With Yuba Mountain Guides, Kurt will provide insight on the region's rich frontier history while taking guests on a true backcountry mountain bike adventure, riding trails and seeing vistas that few ever get experience.

 

 

FAQs

What do I need?
We recommend wearing or bringing anything you would normally have on an all-day ride. Plenty of water, trail food, small personal items, a good working bike and you being in good physical condition. Upon signing up for a trip, you will be sent an itinerary, pack list and medical form. Be sure to check the weather and dress appropriately.

When Should I Arrive?
We recommend arriving about 30 minutes before the start of your trip. This gives us plenty of time to make sure everything you need is sorted for the day.

What if I want to demo a bike?
All demo bike arrangements can be made through Yuba Expeditions. We can help sort out getting the bike to the meeting place for the days ride.

What is the level of skill needed?
The Lost Sierra doesn’t offer many “green” trails, we recommend that you are at least an intermediate rider in good physical condition. The riding in The Lost Sierra has something for everyone, but most of our trails are for the adventurous at heart.

What if I need to cancel?
We will refund 100% within a week, 50% within 3-7 days and no refund within 48 hours. If needed, we can work with you and reschedule for a later date.

What if my bike breaks?
All of our guides were at one point mechanics, they carry pretty much anything needed for trailside repairs. We do recommend you have a small standard repair kit with you (tubes, patches, multi tool etc..) with you.

Who are your guides?
Our guides have been long exploring The Lost Sierra and know these trails like the back of their hands. They are all local, full time employees. Our guides work in the industry year round and have guided all over the world. Each guide not only knows the trails, they are bike mechanics, hold at least a Wilderness First Responder and adhere to industry standards.

Who do I get ahold with any other questions?
Feel free to email Yuba Mountain Guides Operational Director, max@sierratrails.org

Lakes Basin Panoramic

Yuba is the pioneer of backcountry mountain biking in the Lost Sierra, and the first to offer trailhead transport in this part of the Sierra. Our drivers are skilled and have knowledge of the surrounding trail system; and our vehicles are commercially insured, professionally tuned, and equipped with top of the line Thule racks.

RESERVATION POLICY

PAYMENT IS DUE IN FULL AT THE TIME OF RESERVATION
please have your credit card ready

CANCELLATION POLICY

  • more than 48 hours notice: full refund
  • less than 48 hours in advance: cash/credit card refund, minus 20% service charge
  • less than 24 hours in advance: No Refund

SUSTAINABILITY POLICY

We DO NOT run with less than 4 riders per van, so bring friends to guarantee a lift

Yuba Expeditions is operating under Special Use Permit of the Tahoe National Forest, Yuba River Ranger District.

 

WHERE TO MEET AND PARK

Shuttle Pick Up

Shuttle pick up is in Graeagle behind Buckaroo Chocolates at the Yuba barn (see image).

Take highway 89 to Graeagle and drive behind Buckaroo Chocolates.

Google Maps link to Buckaroo Chocolates.

Where to Park

Park near the Yuba barn
(look for the Yuba sign above the front door)

But please do not block the barn entrance.

Parking for Mills Peak Shuttle

 

The shuttle at the top of Mt. Hough! Go get it!

Yuba Expeditions Shuttle on top of Mt. Hough