Tahoe National Forest Fall Colors 9/26/12

Colorful, Scenic Drives in the Tahoe National Forest

Nevada City…..Fall is an exceptionally pretty time to explore the Tahoe National Forest.  Warm days and crisp, cold nights make forest outings especially enjoyable.   At the lower elevations (2,500 – 4,000 ft.), autumn colors are at their best in mid October through early November while in the higher elevations (4,000 – 9,000 ft.), colors peak from early to mid October.

Scenic drives, picnics, day hikes or bike trips are especially popular in the fall.  Although most trails are open year round, many of the campgrounds will begin to shut down in preparation for winter weather.  Some campgrounds, however, can be used (without services) all year.  Also, campfire restrictions are still in effect limiting campfires to developed recreation sites. These will stay in effect until there is significant rain or an increase in humidity levels.

Scenic Drives:

Highway 49 – A beautiful drive along Highway 49 from Nevada City through Downieville to Sierra City features big leaf maple, oak, locust and dogwood foliage.  As you wind through the North Yuba River canyon, dogwoods and oak trees start to change colors in early October.  The colors are often reflected in the river, doubling the intensity of color.

Campgrounds along Hwy 49 will be open through the weekend of October 27 except for those in higher elevations which may close sooner.

Campgrounds at Bullards Bar Reservoir will close October 15.

Gold Lake Road — In the Sierra Buttes vicinity, color peaks in early to mid October with the yellow and gold of aspen and maple trees in this beautiful alpine area. Views of and from the Sierra Buttes are outstanding.

Campgrounds in the Sierra Buttes area are open through October 27.

Highway 89 — Fall colors extend from late September though the month of October.  The drive along Hwy 89 from Lake Tahoe through Truckee and on to Sierraville is especially picturesque with aspens, willows and cottonwoods painting the landscape with brilliant yellows.  Expanding the drive from Sierraville west via Hwy 49 up to Yuba Pass provides spectacular views of the Sierra Valley.  The drive from Hwy 89 through Kybuz Flat and Sardine Valley is also especially nice with grasses, willows, cottonwoods, and aspens.

East of Highway 89 and north of Boca Reservoir, cottonwoods, aspen, and willows follow the Little Truckee River.

Campgrounds along Highway 89 and northeast of Truckee are open until early October to late October, depending on conditions. Contact the district office for more information.

Highway 267 — From Truckee south toward Lake Tahoe through Martis Valley, the gold and browns of willows and grasses contrast with the deep green of the pines.

Highway 20 — East of Nevada City, the landscape comes alive with crimson hues of dogwood and bright yellows of the big leaf maples.  Bear Valley is especially pretty as the grasses, willows and cottonwoods turn gold.

Campgrounds along Highway 20 will close October 1.  Campgrounds in the Bowman Lake/Grouse Lakes area close when access is eliminated due to snow.

Mosquito Ridge Road — Mid-September to mid-October is a great time to drive Mosquito Ridge Road, east of Foresthill, which passes through beautiful canyons and forests of oaks, maples, dogwoods, and evergreens providing an array of fall colors.  A cautionary sign reduces the road to one lane for a short distance where a slide damaged the road. The Big Trees Picnic Area is an excellent stop to view the northernmost stand of Giant Sequoia interspersed with the ruby red of the dogwoods.   Mosquito Ridge Road also leads to French Meadows Reservoir and the Granite Chief Wilderness where fall color can be outstanding.

Campgrounds on the American River Ranger District – The group sites are all currently closed.  Regular campgrounds will close between Sept 30 – Oct 21.

Old Highway 40 and I-80 — Another scenic drive follows old Hwy 40, parallel to I-80 along the rocky South Yuba River lined with aspens and cottonwoods.  When the leaves turn, the vibrant yellows and golds are duplicated in the reflections of the river.  These colors are usually best in early – mid October.       

Campgrounds along I-80 will close October 1.              

Deer Hunting Season (rifle) begins on Sept 22 for the west side of the Forest and on Oct 6 for the east side.  Use caution and wear bright colors if you plan on being in remote areas and off roads or trails.

Tahoe National Forest (TNF) Office Hours

As the fall season progresses and the number of forest visitors decline, most TNF offices will reduce their office hours to Mon-Fri.

  • TNF Headquarters – open Mon – Fri                                                 530-265-4531
  • Yuba River Ranger Station – open Mon – Fri                                     530-288-3231
  • American River Ranger Station – open Mon – Sat (through Sept)            530-367-2224
  • Sierraville Ranger Station– open Mon – Fri                                     530-994-3401
  • Truckee Ranger Station – open Mon – Sat (through Oct)                        530-587-3558

Please call for more information or view the Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe




8/29/12 Labor Day Recreation Tips

Recreation Opportunities Labor Day Weekend in the Tahoe National Forest

Nevada City……All recreation sites in the Tahoe National Forest will be available Labor Day weekend.  This is one of the big weekends of the summer and campgrounds, picnic sites, and trail systems are expected to be busy.  The forest is especially dry, however, and visitors are urged to be very careful with fires.  Fire restrictions are in effect which limit campfires to developed campgrounds.  In the backcountry, portable propane-type stoves can be used with a campfire permit.  Campfire permits are free and are available at all Forest Service offices.

In addition, campers may see some changes to their favorite campgrounds as bear resistant food lockers are being installed in many of the sites.  “These have been very successful – virtually eliminating bear problems.  But we need everyone’s help to insure that food is placed in the lockers rather than leaving it in a vehicle, their tent or on the table,” stated Quinn.

Campground Reservations and Availability

Reservations can often be made up to 3-4 days before arrival.  Most campsites can be reserved through www.recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777.  Many campgrounds do have some first come/first serve sites available, but these often fill up quickly on a popular holiday weekend.

Bullards Bar – The campgrounds at the reservoir are open.  Recreation and reservation information can be found at the Emerald Cove Marina at www.bullardsbar.com or 530-692-3200.

North Yuba River – There are some first-come-first-serve sites but they fill up quickly.   Those sites farther east on Hwy 49 are often more available on a holiday weekend. The sites near Sierra Buttes fill up fast as well.  For more information, contact the Yuba River Ranger Station (530) 288-3231.

East of Nevada City/Along Interstate 80 – Some of these campgrounds are expected to have first come/first serve sites available. Contact 530-265-4531 for more information.

Truckee and Sierraville – Campgrounds and day use sites are expected to be full.  The most popular sites are those near  reservoirs.  Some sites are available on a first-come-first-serve basis.  As campgrounds fill near Truckee, others farther to the north are often available.  For additional information contact the Truckee Ranger Station (530) 587-3558 or the Sierraville Ranger Station 530-994-3401.

East of Foresthill – Sugar Pine campgrounds are expected to be very busy.  People without reservations are advised to arrive by Thursday or Friday at the latest.  French Meadows Reservoir usually has more first-come-first-serve sites available.  The OHV area is dusty and folks are advised to bring dust masks and lots of drinking water.  A reminder that the Heritage Festival is celebrated on Saturday and Sunday in Foresthill. Traffic may be congested – please drive slowly through town.  For additional information, contact the American River Ranger Station (530) 367-2224.

Additional information can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe or contact the Forest Headquarters, (530) 265-4531.


Hole in the Ground Trail Volunteer Weekend and Trail Maintenance: 

August, 2012

Truckee… The Forest Service and the Truckee Trails Foundation are jointly hosting a Hole in the Ground Trail Volunteer Weekend, August 18th-19th.   The Hole in the Ground Trail is a popular mountain biking trail on Donner Summit.   Volunteer participants will work under direction from local Forest Service and trail advocate crew leaders.  Novice trail volunteers are welcome!  All volunteers should bring sturdy shoes, sunscreen, water, lunch, and appropriate clothing for a full day (or two!) of trail work.  We will be meeting at the I-80 Pacific Crest Trailhead (Boreal/Castle Valley Exit) at 8:30 AM and will be working until 4:00 PM both days.  Interested volunteers must pre-register for this event with the Truckee Trails Foundation. This event is free and open to the public. Please contact Allison Pedley at the Truckee Trails Foundation with questions and/or to register: allison@truckeetrails.org.

Volunteers will complete such tasks as brushing, drainage work, tread enhancement and repair, and even a minor re-route.  To complete the remaining deferred maintenance on the Hole in the Ground Trail, the Forest Service received a $14,000 grant from the Nevada and Placer County Resource Advisory Committee.  Utilizing the grant funding, the Forest Service developed a participating agreement with American Conservation Experience (ACE) to complete the necessary trail maintenance.  ACE’s trail corps crews, under direction from Tahoe National Forest Trail Technicians, will begin three weeks of trail maintenance activities starting August 20th, 2012. Many local businesses and non-profit partners supported this grant including:  TAMBA, FATRAC, Ace Mountain Hardware, The Backcountry, Truckee Donner Land Trust and Truckee Trails Foundation.   “We are excited to host the trail weekend and to have such an outpouring of support from the community to maintain this popular mountain biking trail,” stated Joanne Roubique, Truckee District Ranger.

8/15 pm More Lightning Activity – Flashflood warning

Heavy thunderstorm activity occurred on the Sierraville Ranger District today with rain and lightning.  Flash flood warnings were issued for Sierra County until 5:30 pm. Two additional fires in the Tahoe National Forest were added to the count today bringing the total to 19.  All are contained, controlled, out or expected to be by this evening.  All fires remain less than an acre.

Fires in the American River District –

1 north of French Meadows Reservoir – contained

2 farther north of French Meadows Reservoir – north of Sunflower Hill – both controlled

1 near Robinson Flat – contained

3 in or near the Granite Chief Wilderness – Two are out and one is expected to be contained tonight

Fires in the Sierraville District –

1 east of Jackson Meadow Reservoir – controlled

2 more near Jackson Meadow Reservoir  – one is out and one controlled

1 north of Stampede Reservoir near Kyburz Flat – controlled 

Fires in the Truckee District –

1 near the Cedars – about 5 miles south of Interstate 80 at Norden – 1/2 acre – out

1 near Barker Pass – 4 miles from Lake Tahoe – controlled

1 on south eastern side of TNF – 5 miles from Lake Tahoe  – 1/3 acre – controlled

1 along the Sawtooth Ridge – out

1 near Boca Reservoir – out

Fires in the Yuba River Ranger District –

1 near Old Man Mountain – north of Interstate 80 – controlled

1 north of Interstate 80 near Rainbow off ramp – out

1 near Signal Peak north of Interstate 80 – north of Cisco Grove – contained – expected to be controlled by this evening

Continuing thunderstorm activity is expected this evening with additional activity into the weekend.

 8/15/12 Lightning Strikes-

Ann Westling, Public Affairs Officer for TNF reported : Additional thunderstorms brought 206 strikes to the Tahoe National Forest yesterday.  In the afternoon, lightning and rain occurred near Jackson Meadow Reservoir and in the Sierra Buttes/Haskell Peak areas.   Last evening thunderstorms brought considerable rain and lightning to the Truckee area.  Three additional fires were identified.

All fires remain less than an acre.  Out of the 17 total, 9 are contained or controlled.

Fires in the American River District –

1 north of French Meadows Reservoir – contained

2 farther north of French Meadows Reservoir – north of Sunflower Hill – both controlled

1 near Robinson Flat – contained

3 in or near the Granite Chief Wilderness – Smoke jumpers remained on scene last night working on two fires. One fire contained.


Fires in the Sierraville District –

1 east of Jackson Meadow Reservoir – contained

2 more near Jackson Meadow Reservoir  – crews worked most of the evening

1 north of Stampede Reservoir near Kyburz Flat – controlled

Fires in the Truckee District –

1 near the Cedars – about 5 miles south of Interstate 80 at Norden – 1/2 acre – Crew continuing with heavy mop-up and remained on the fire overnight.

1 near Barker Pass – 4 miles from Lake Tahoe

1 on south eastern side of TNF – 5 miles from Lake Tahoe  – 1/3 acre

Fires in the Yuba River Ranger District –

1 near Old Man Mountain – north of Interstate 80 – controlled

1 north of Interstate 80 near Rainbow off ramp – controlled

1 near Signal Peak north of Interstate 80 – north of Cisco Grove – crews to head out today

Continuing thunderstorm activity is expected this afternoon and tonight and throughout the week.


Sierra County Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) Meets September 7

(and/or September 10 if necessary)

Project Proposals Due Aug 27

Sierraville ….. The Sierra County RAC will be meeting on September 7, at the Sierraville Ranger Station, Hwy 89, Sierraville at 9:00 am.  The purpose of this meeting is to vote on project proposals.  A back-up meeting is also scheduled for September 10 at the Downieville Community Hall, 327 Main Street, at 9:00 a.m. in case an additional meeting is needed or if the Sept 7 meeting needed to be  cancelled.  The public is invited to attend.  Approximately $120,000 is available for recommendation by the RAC for projects that meet the intent of the legislation and benefit the National Forest.

Project proposals must be submitted by Aug 27, 2012, to Quentin Youngblood, District Ranger, Sierraville Ranger District, PO Box 95, Highway 89, Sierraville, CA 96126 (qyoungblood@fs.fed.us.)  Projects should be submitted electronically AND as hard copy.  “The most recent legislation has a very fast timeline for the RAC project recommendation.  We need project proponents to carefully plan out their project and work with either myself or District Ranger Genice Froehlich to determine if the project meets the intent of the legislation,” stated Youngblood.  Projects must benefit the National Forest in Sierra County and must improve the maintenance of existing infrastructure, enhance forest ecosystems, and restore land health and water quality.  Projects must have clear maps and a well defined budget work page.  Project proposals are available on the Tahoe National Forest webpage, from Forest Service offices in Nevada City, Camptonville or Sierraville or from RAC members.

Current Sierra County RAC members include: Bill Copren (Chair), Linda Frost, Laura Marshal, Josie Marie Silver, Lee Adams, Lisa Wallace, Bob Latta, Jim Johnston, Anne Eldred, Judy Marovich, Carl Butz, Allen Wright, Cindy Noble, David Lass, Sig Ostrom, and Mike De Lasaux.

For more information on the Sierra County RAC contact:  Quentin Youngblood at (530) 994-3401 ext 6611 or qyoungblood@fs.fed.us or Ann Westling at (530) 478-6205 or awestling@fs.fed.us or Sierra County RAC members or refer to the Tahoe National Forest webpage – www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe

Proposal form is here  ProjProposal_form_Sept2009


7/24/12 Additional lightning was received yesterday and last night.  For the 24 hour period from 6:00 am yesterday through 6:00 am this morning, 345 strikes were recorded in the Tahoe National Forest with over 1,000 strikes on National Forests in California.

Some additional fires were spotted last evening and this morning for a total of 25 fires in the TNF.  Out of these 22 are contained or controlled with the largest being 1.5 acres and the majority less than an acre.   New fires include:

Sierraville District – one near the hotsprings southeast of Sierraville (controlled), one in Russell Valley area, northeast of Truckee (contained), and one near Verdi Peak.

Yuba River District – one near Signal Peak north of Interstate 80.

We expect additional fires to pop up as temperatures warm.  No additional lightning is expected today.  Forest Service air attack plane will be making an aerial reconnaisance of the forest later this morning.

In addition to TNF crews, assistance is being provided by the Pike Fire Department, Redding Smokejumpers, Salmon River Hotshots from the Klammath National Forest and Calfire.

Ann Westling, Public Affairs Officer

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