overland

Mapping the California Crest Trail -- 1,500 mi from Mono to Mendo

OTG Ben

OTG Principal Explorer
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I've had this grand idea of creating a "super route" across the various mountain ranges in California. And with the various Backcountry Discovery Trails across Northern California, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to leverage that fantastic network of trails while extending it further south into the Central Sierra and Basin Ranges near Mono Lake. As of today, the vast majority of the route is verified from Tahoe National Forest all the way to Mendocino. It's the portion that goes through El Dorado and the Sweetwater Mountains north of Mono Lake that we need to verify. My initial research indicates that we should be able to create a route south of Tahoe NF, but we need some boots on the ground to confirm the entire trail is indeed drivable by a 4 wheel drive vehicle!

The Route
When all is said and down, the route will traverse nearly 1,500 miles through the Basin Ranges, Central and Northern Sierra, Southern Cascades, Klamath Mountains and the Coast Ranges. Approximately 1,000 miles of the route is dirt, while the remaining 1/3 is a mix of connecting backcountry roads and some highways. The route relies on verified routes (with some edits as well) that include the CA Backcountry Discovery Trails for Tahoe, Plumas, Lassen, Modoc, Shasta-Trinity, Six Rivers, and Mendocino along with some added dirt to connect Mendocino NF to the coastal town of Mendocino.

We'll make the GPX for the route free, but the paid version will include all of the POIs/Waypoints along the way.

Plotting the Remaining Route
At this time we just need to verify the planned route through El Dorado NF and through the Sweetwater Mountains near Bodie Ghost Town. I'm hoping to make it down there before summer's over and will post a trail run event with limited spots if anyone wants to join (just need to figure out dates first.

Here's a sneak peak of the Sweetwater section that tops out at nearly 12k feet-- looks rad, right?

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BBE_YOTA

Trail Grom
Joined
May 24, 2021
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2
I am definitely interested in the development and participating in the ultimate OTG California route. I wish I would have know about this request. My family and I completed a trip recently (Memorial weekend) that started at Frenchmeadows Reservoir and ended in the Inyo NF just south of Mono. We stayed pretty much on pavement other than a few jeep trails to access very remote dispersed areas. We did the bodie-masonic route between Bridgeport and Bodie through BLM lands. Pretty cool area that I need to explore more. The surrounding peaks looked epic but had a pretty good amount of snow on them. El Dorado NF can be hit or miss with the accuracy of their listed MVUM roads. I will be available in a few weeks to do some reconnaissance. I am taking my son (4yr) on a dudes trip next week to Montana to pick up a GFC (super stoked). See below for a few pics from our Memorial weekend trip:

Drone shot of camp spot near Kirkwood; access via jeep trail. Had the lake to ourselves.

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Bodie-Masonic Road:

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Epic Spot in Inyo NF:

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OTG Ben

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@BBE_YOTA It'll likely be in later summer with all of the other things I've got going on at the moment! As far as the El Dorado NF section, it looks like we're relegated to more paved roads than I'd prefer, but that's just how it goes sometimes! The section north of Bodie on the other hand looks like it's gonna be top notch! Keep an eye out on our trail run events, this will be a more intimate trail run as we'll likely put in a fair share amount of mileage each day (more than my typical day, that's for sure!).
 

KRJ

Trail Grom
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Apr 29, 2021
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If there is room and the days work out, I would definitely be interested. Will keep an eye out.
 

OTG Ben

OTG Principal Explorer
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If there is room and the days work out, I would definitely be interested. Will keep an eye out.

Looking at Labor Day weekend possibly, with a Thursday evening departure. TBD, still need clearance from the "government" on this one ;)
 
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