New Truckee trails open for business

Submitted to the Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. – Over the past three years, the Truckee Trails Foundation in partnership with the United States Forest Service has been striving to bring new trail experiences to the Sawtooth Zone south of Truckee, just outside the Ponderosa Palisades neighborhood. So far this year, the Truckee Trails crew has built three new trails in the Zone, and a total of 8.5 miles of trail over the past three years.

“The work began on the tail of the Big Jack East Fuel Reduction project which reduced the risk of wildfire in the zone by clearing out fuel loadings,” said Chris Parker, Truckee Trails President. “This left a clean slate for new, sustainable trail building.”

Truckee Trails volunteer day on Sawyer Trail.

New trails this year include the Crosscut Trail, connecting Gentle Jeffrey and Sawtooth Trails, the Back-cut Trail, connecting Happy Face with the West Side Trail at Schaffer’s Mill, and the Sawyer Trail, connecting the Back-cut Trail with the West Side Trail. 

“Trail connectivity is a big factor in helping reduce the amount of car traffic in the area,” said Allison Pedley, executive director of Truckee Trails. “But these trails not only enable easier commutes to town, they also facilitate a host of alternative routes when recreating.”

Three more trails are planned for this zone, likely completed in 2024. Many of these will serve as important connections between neighborhoods like Sierra Meadows, Ponderosa Palisades, Schaffer’s Mill and Martis camp, both to town and to each other. Importantly, Truckee Trails is also working with the High Fives Foundation to ensure trails, both new and existing, are suitable for adaptive mountain bikers.

Additional highlights of Truckee Trails’ work (with some help from Momentum Trail Concepts) in the Sawtooth Zone since 2020 include:

  • The Compass Skills Loop, designed to help people new to mountain biking develop necessary skills. 
  • Construction (and reconstructed improvements) of the popular Wood-splitter Jump Trail.
  • The Ridgeline Nature Loop, a meandering trail at the Sawtooth trailhead, designed with wheelchair, stroller and strider bike users in mind.
  • Re-construction of the Happy Face Trail.
  • The one-mile Gentle Jeffrey Trail that runs from lower to middle Sawtooth Trailhead, built as a non-motorized alternative to the 06 road.
  • A motorized trail paralleling the east side of the 06, called the Timber Cruise.

Next up, Truckee Trails will be working with the USFS to kick off a trails plan for the Truckee Ranger District. Truckee Trails embarked on a “Listening Tour” this past summer, meeting with user groups to get input on their needs and desires for new trails in the region, and important fixes to existing trails. The results of this tour will serve as a springboard for future trails planning.

“At the core of our mission is creating trail opportunities for everyone, regardless of ability level or use type,” said Pedley. “These are public lands and we work hard to make sure they serve the entire community.”

Funding partners for this project include, Lahontan Community Foundation Fund held at the Parasol Tahoe Community, Martis Camp Foundation, National Forest Foundation, Placer County, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, Vail Resorts Epic Promise and Visit Truckee-Tahoe.

Sawtooth Map

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