(60)Northern California

Georgetown to Ice House

California Sierra Nevada

Wentworth Springs Rd

Quick Ride: What motorcycle dreams are made of. Paved mountaintop perfection, Wentworth is a dreamy slice of pavement built in 2003 as the backdoor to the Crystal Mountain Range. Must ride for any type of rider, all motorcyclists love this road. The best stretch being the 15 miles up an over Silver Hill Range. Connects to Ice House Rd.

RIDE IT on a PASHNIT TOUR


El Dorado - COUNTY

31 Miles - LENGTH
Most Excellent, No guard rails - PAVEMENT
Mountain, Smooth - CURVES

Highway 193 to Ice House Rd - CONNECTS

 Ice House Resort, Fresh Pond, Georgetown  - GAS

CLICK FOR MORE INFO

El Dorado County, California Map
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Paved Mountaintop Perfection

The most common question I am asked by fellow motorcyclists during tours I’m leading is what’s your favorite road. They are often bemused when I reply I don’t have one. However, there are certain roads in California that are standouts, unique unto themselves, eliciting an all-encompassing sense of joy and freedom.

Wentworth Springs Rd was originally a wagon trail between Georgetown and Lake Tahoe dating to the 1850s, and further developed in the 1870s when water became essential to gold mining operations. The gold was in the Sierra Foothills, the water needed to process the gold was further up in the Sierra Range. Wentworth Springs Rd was pushed through the forest up a mountainous ridgeline between two canyons known as the Georgetown Divide providing a service road for water facilities and sawmills on the South Fork of the Rubicon River. During the 1880s, the Wentworth Springs Resort was developed due north of Loon Lake along Gerle Creek.

Atop the summit on Wentworth Springs Rd

The name of Wentworth is said to originate from Nathan Wentworth who discovered a mineral spring in 1879 north of present-day Loon Lake. A 2-1/2 story hotel was built to serve as a boarding house around the springs. The mineral water from the spring was advertised for rejuvenation and healing powers. Water was also bottled and sold to health seekers by 1882. A visitor to Wentworth Springs in the 1880s could find 50 plus people at the resort or camped around it for $8 per week.

Prior to the expansion of Loon Lake, the area was comprised of five smaller mountain lakes of 15 to 80 acres at the 6200 ft level. A dam was built in 1884 expanding the size of the lake to provide summer and autumn water supply to Georgetown Ridge for mining. The dam was expanded in 1963 combining all the lakes and present-day Loon Lake Reservoir currently stands at 76,000 acres at 6400 ft.

In 2001, Wentworth Springs Rd was a dirt jeep trail beyond Eleven Pines Rd. Coincidentally at that same time, my new wife and I had just bought our first house in Pollock Pines. Pollock is a small mountain community at 4000 feet and Ice House Rd was a mere 9 miles away from my new house. Ice House and Wentworth Springs were the closest roads to me and there were even more mountainous roads in every direction from our new home including Mormon Emigrant Trail.

Although plans to pave Wentworth Springs Rd to Ice House Rd began as early as 1989, Wentworth Springs Rd wasn’t paved up and over Silver Hill Ridge until 2003. I rode it as soon as it was opened mere months after settling into our new home. The fog lines & center line hadn’t even been painted yet but the new paving was completed and the road was open. Leaving before dawn to arrive at the road as the sun came up, it was quickly apparent that the all-new Wentworth Springs Rd was even better than what one might have imagined.

Georgetown Hotel has been in operation since 1856

Imagine glassy smooth swaths of gently arcing curves, unprecedented perfection upon a deserted mountaintop. Imagine no homes, virtually no paved side roads, no people, national forest wilderness on all sides. Imagine mountain tops that framed the edge of horizons and before you something you once imagined in your mind’s eye, but couldn't believe in until you saw it with your own eyes begins to play out. Now open your eyes and stop imagining. It’s known as Wentworth Springs Road. Riding this will saturate you with a sense of motorcycle awe, a spiritual experience.

To ride westbound, you'll need to approach from Highway E16 through the Shenandoah Valley wine country or ride up Highway 50 from Placerville to Ice House Rd. Or ride 36 miles west from South Lake Tahoe on Highway 50 to Ice House Rd. If you have the time, make sure you ride all the way to the end of Ice House Road to Loon Lake. The best part of that ride is near the end right before the lake & easily missed. 

Most riders will approach Wentworth Springs Rd eastbound, you'll be heading for Georgetown first from the Sacramento Valley via Salmon Falls Road, or coming from Auburn or Placerville on Highway 193 past Rock Creek Rd & Darling Ridge. Another sleeper favorite here is Bayne Rd offering a single lane paved roller coaster road between Coloma and Kelsey at Highway 193.

Georgetown, like many gold rush towns in the foothills resulted from gold seekers striking rich claims, one of which is said to have given up $20,000 in gold in a mere six-week span. Word spread in 1849 and this tiny alcove of tents and log cabins soon boasted a population of several thousand.

The Historic Landmark plaque in town reads: Founded August 7, 1849 by George Phipps and party. Nicknamed Growlersburg from the heavy nuggets that "growled" in the miners' pans. Georgetown was the hub of an immensely rich gold area. After a disastrous fire of 1852 the old town was moved from the canyon in Lower Main Street to its present-day site unique in early day planning. Main Street was laid out 100 feet wide and side streets 60 feet. Population was 3000 in 1854-56.

Despite the precautions against fire, the town burnt down another four times, each time quickly rebuilt. By 1855 Georgetown boasted a town hall, church, school, theater, three hotels, four restaurants, two meat markets, four blacksmiths, two jewelry stores, three drug stores, eight clothing stores, one tin shop, one soda factory, nine grocery stores, two banking establishments, two express companies, and of course, one store solely for cigars. In present day, the entire town is a state historic landmark. Georgetown celebrates its colorful history at their "Founder's Day Parade" held each year in September.  

While running motorcycle tours through the Sierra Nevada in September, my tour group came down Wentworth Springs Rd after riding Ice House Rd and inadvertently ran into this event. The tiny town was packed with people and cars while main street was closed. We followed the detour around Main Street at a crawl and made it out of the town. If you plan on attending this event, plan on arriving in Georgetown early.

Darling Ridge is a single-lane paved road around the south side of Georgetown

Darling Ridge is a single-lane paved road around the south side of Georgetown

Several historic shops remain today, plan lunch here and walk the short Main Street. Present day Main Street is about 2 blocks long and often lined with Jeeps and trucks pulling trailers with large rock-crawlers. Georgetown is a major grouping point for all the Jeepers headed for the Rubicon Trail up and over the hill to Lake Tahoe. The Rubicon Trail begins where Ice House Rd ends at Loon Lake, then heads over the Sierra Range emerging along Lake Tahoe. Georgetown is centered about 20 miles from Auburn and 20 miles from Placerville, while Coloma (and Marshall Gold Discovery State Park where the Gold Rush began) is directly to the west. There is fuel in Georgetown to top off before heading up Wentworth Springs Rd.

Darling Ridge

Five miles from town center is Balderstone Rd at Walton Lake. Balderstone loops around the tiny lake back to Wentworth Springs Rd at Balderson Station. But it also gives access to a little known paved single-lane mountain road. Combine Grey Eagle Rd to Darling Ridge Rd to Bear Creek Rd to Traverse Creek Rd. At Spanish Flat, this backroad trek splits into Shoo Fly or Spanish Flat Rd to Highway 193. If the road names sound confusing, don’t let them. There’s only one paved road through the forest, and Darling Ridge is perfect for getting off the main highway, or bypassing Georgetown entirely. Darling Ridge is the perfect detour to ride around all the straight portions of Wentworth Springs and pops out at Kelsey along Highway 193 near Bayne Rd.

Bayne Rd is one of the craziest see-it-to-believe-it super-narrow-huge-drop-offs super-fun roads in the foothills that shouldn’t be missed, especially if riding downhill. The westbound rider gets all the great views of the American River Canyon.

Darling Ridge, Georgetown, CA

Combine Grey Eagle Rd to Darling Ridge Rd to Bear Creek Rd to
Traverse Creek Rd to Shoo Fly to Highway 193 at Kelsey

Bayne Rd is a single-lane paved connector between Kelsey and Coloma

Bayne Rd is a single-lane paved connector between Kelsey and Coloma

Bayne Rd

 

Add it to any ride that involves Wentworth Springs Rd, Bayne Rd is all paved and connects with the small campground on the east side of the American River at Coloma. If you’ve ever ridden to the Marshall Gold Discovery Park, the site where the 1849 Gold Rush all began, there is a single lane concrete bridge across the American River to the campground on the other side. What’s not obvious is this road actually goes somewhere and it’s all paved. Single lane paved roads are a rare commodity in the foothills and this one is great fun.

Map of Elkins Flat OHV system of trails along Darling Ridge spanning 69 miles of dirt track for off-road bikes

Elkins Flat OHV system

The riders who are most familiar with the forested regions around Georgetown are the dirt bike riders. The Georgetown Divide is a real-life-pinch-me paradise for OHV riders. Dirt trails spider through the forest all designed for dirt bike riders within the trail system. Trail systems around the Georgetown Divide generally open up March 31 each year as the snow melts. This dirt bike trail system contains 69 miles of trails and roads. The Elkins Flat OHV system is also linked with the Gold Note OHV system located further south of Mormon Emigrant Trail along (paved) North-South Rd (connects to Highway 88) which has another 30 miles of dirt trails and fire roads.

Headed east for Stumpy Meadows 16 miles away, the road offers a center line and is well paved, although this is the older section of road. 

There is another small collection of homes at Buckeye so easy on the speed.  Be on the lookout for someone pulling out onto the road.  Thankfully, the further you get away from Georgetown, the more deserted the road becomes as you head deeper into the depths of the El Dorado National Forest.  Onward through the tiny alcoves of Chiquita Lake, Quintette, Blodgett Experimental Forest, Sand Mountain Blvd and the northern end of Mosquito Road.

Sand Mountain Blvd

The jokes on you. First off, we named our road a boulevard evoking images of a wide multi-lane arterial thoroughfare with assorted neatly cropped flowering trees, palms or other accoutrements in our central median to beautify our lovely road. Not so fast Smalls, there’s no four lanes, no accoutrements, which I’m pretty sure is not even a word, and no boulevard. However, there is a paved road at Quintette headed due south that connects to Mosquito Rd and ties into Mosquito/Swansboro on the southern edge of the Georgetown Divide. Why they deemed it a boulevard, we’ll never know. The word boulevard comes from the French meaning circumnavigating the central city following the line of old or former city walls. But there’s no city, no city walls, and no central city. There is however a paved mountain road headed south that actually goes somewhere, single lane in portions and poorly maintained. Pavement extends 5.3 miles to the junction with Rock Creek Rd. This next portion is dirt fire road for another 6 miles until the pavement starts up again at the edge of Swansboro Country, a small mountain community you can read about on the Mosquito Rd page.

Mosquito Rd

Not exactly dual-sport capable. Mosquito Rd connects to Sand Mountain Blvd and continues as a dirt fire road to Stumpy Meadows Reservoir on Wentworth Springs Rd

Blodgett Experimental Forest

East of Quintette 1-mile, the Blodgett Experimental Forest is a 4000-acre parcel owned by the University of California Berkeley, one of four mountain parcels the Bay-area based university owns. Originally donated to the university by the Michigan-California Lumber Company in 1933, forest management techniques are studied with a heavy emphasis on fire management.

 

Four different forest growth techniques are utilized. One is a swath allowed to grow with zero forest management, another portion is mechanically thinned with chainsaws and brush-consuming masticators, another is thinned with prescribed fires while a fourth swath employs a combination of techniques.

The Blodgett Experimental Forest offers a three-mile self-guided hiking trail called the Trail of Epiphany and some advance planning might make this an interesting destination.  The Trail of Epiphany is based from the Blodgett Forest Research Station.

For the dual-sport capable, the northern dirt portion of Mosquito Road can be found 14.5 miles east from Highway 193 and 2 miles to the west of Stumpy Meadows Reservoir.  This dirt ride connects to the small alcove of Mosquito 16 miles to the south where the pavement finally starts up again offering Rock Creek Road or Mosquito Road back into Placerville.

 

After a decade of planning, the single-lane wood swinging bridge over the American River Canyon will soon be replaced by a massive concrete bridge 400 ft above the canyon. Ride Mosquito Rd before the road is closed and this famous bridge is forever a memory.

Blodgett Experimental Forest Trail of Epiphany

Stumpy Meadows

Stumpy Meadows Reservoir at 20,000 acres is fed by Pilot Creek as one of California's many caches of water. Known originally as Lake Edson, the region was grazed by cattle in meadows here until a dam was completed in 1960 to build the lake. The reservoir was soon renamed to Stumpy Meadows retaining its original name while the name of Edson, an engineer for the Dept. of Water Resources, was assigned to the dam. Small boats ply the waters for its stores of fish. Along its shores, kids from the adjacent campground play and the nearby 5159 ft Lookout Mountain lords over the area.

Stumpy Meadows Campground at 4200 ft is one of many in the El Dorado National Forest offering numerous camp sites. There are four separate areas around the lake to camp in. If you're traveling on the bike, this is a great stopping place for the night.

Stumpy Meadows Reservoir

Stumpy Meadows Reservoir spans 20,000 acres

The King Fire in 2014 came over the ridge and burned out the forest to the southern edge of the lake. Photos of that wildfire show a wall of flames that covered the hillsides surrounding Stumpy Meadows Reservoir. Over 200,000 seedlings have been allocated for the replanting of 100,000 burned acres with volunteers working around Stumpy Meadows to help replant the forest.

On the west side of the dam is a large parking lot and boat ramp.  This may be a good stopping point to collect up the riders on a group ride, or simply a good place for a picnic lunch.  The new pavement starts up on the east edge of the Edson dam. Up a small hill, a few curves, and the road straightens out across the mountainous finger.

Wentworth Springs for the next 14 miles is by all means a very unique piece of pavement- possibly unlike anything you've ridden before. Imagine a California when the roads are new, the people haven't arrived yet to build condos and strip malls, side roads and subdivisions. This is that place. Wentworth Springs Rd has the ability to lull you into a high-speed fixation- then throw out curves that'll catch you off guard. Several sections between Georgetown and Quintette are like this. If you're riding this downhill westbound- you'll likely notice this more since the weight will be on the front brakes as you try to scrub speed and you go blazing into a decreasing radius mountain turn. It is great fun, but it can catch you off guard and it’s worth mentioning.

Stumpy Meadows Reservoir

Wentworth Springs Rd flows across the top of Edson Dam

Aftermath of the 2014 King Fire

Aftermath of the King Fire along Wentworth Springs Rd

Spot fires still burning a month after the 2014 King Fire

Spot fires still burning a month after the 2014 King Fire

A Perfectly Good Bridge

A friend asked if I wanted to jump off a perfectly good bridge, attached to an elastic tether known as a bungee. She was a cute redhead and had a Porsche. The decision wasn’t difficult. Now being young, jumping off a perfectly good bridge with a cute redhead sounded like great fun for a Friday night. All the other kids were headed out to the bars & clubs, we were headed into the mountains to jump off bridges. Our plan sounded way more fun.

The bridge we planned to jump off was the Ellicot Bridge over the Rubicon River. The bridge is 150 feet over the Rubicon River in the canyon below. A few feet of water in the river below us would protect us if something went wrong. This activity is quite illegal of course but that wasn’t going to deter us. To lessen the chance of being noticed partaking in our nefarious scheme, the jump would be at night in the dark. My friend with the long red curls picked me up in her ’76 Porsche 914 and we headed into the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We had some written directions to the meet spot which I compared against a paper map in my lap. The directions took us up Wentworth Springs Rd to Eleven Pines Rd. Arriving at dusk, we waited for the sun to set providing darkness to conceal our illicit activity while revealing the glow of the Milky Way in the crisp mountain sky above.

Forcing my body to reject all logic and reasonable thought, I jumped into the thin mountain air while an immediate thought flashed across my brain, I just jumped off a perfectly good bridge, the second thought that occurs to you is abject adrenalized fear as your body accelerates at 32 feet per second according to my then physics professor, Mr. Doyle. We were told we’d get about 1.5 seconds of free fall as it would take a total of 3 seconds to hit the ground. The second half of that 3 seconds was for the bungee to stretch to its maximum elasticity and then shoot us back into the air. The math said we’d be traveling 66 mph when we hit the ground, so despite my new-found enthusiasm for jumping off bridges, the tiny remnant of my logical brain said accelerating 0-60 in less than 3 seconds was quite unnatural.

But anyway, I lived. Got hauled back up to the bridge, and voluntarily did it again a second time. That was my introduction to the Wentworth Springs Rd and Eleven Pines Rd.

 

After the two jumps, Hot Girl with the long red curls and Porsche 914 invited me to jump off the fourth highest bridge in the United States, the nearby Foresthill Bridge. At 730 feet high, it offered an alluring full three seconds of free-fall. Also quite illegal, I passed on that offer (saving my money for a new motorcycle) and stuck to the much safer activity of motorcycle riding putting my jumping off bridge days behind me. A few months later I left on a 6000-mile ride across the United States in the middle of winter.

One month after the King Fire, spot fires like this stump were still burning.

Foresthill Bridge

Would you bungee jump off the 4th tallest bridge in the United States if  given the chance?

Eleven Pines Road

Beyond the Rubicon River Bridge, Eleven Pines Road is the northward connector over to the much-loved Mosquito Ridge Rd, French Meadows Reservoir and also Hell Hole Reservoir to the northeast. Eleven Pines Rd drops off the ridgeline and falls 1400 ft down to the valley floor and across the Rubicon River Canyon and then back up. Pavement was poor a decade ago, and not much has changed, maybe even a bit worse.

 

Twenty years ago, we also said it was bad. However, the Forest Service sees this road as essential to fire suppression and the rare logging taking place. When winter storms caused the road to collapse into the Rubicon Canyon in 2017, Cal Trans quickly showed up to repair and rebuild the road.

Last time through Eleven Pines Rd, this downhill into the Rubicon Canyon held several gravel patches of tore up road. On the northeast side of the Rubicon River bridge is a small parking area along the river where anglers and hikers may be parked. The narrow 4wd trail to the river’s edge is rather hairy so maybe you ought to leave the bike up top at the bridge and walk down to inspect the path. Or walk it first (my strategy) and then slowly weave the bike down to the bottom. I rode my big Yamaha Venture 1200 down the dirt path into the canyon many years ago.

For the hikers, there is a hiking trail along the north side of the Rubicon River that is well groomed and an excellent hike at times rising a hundred feet above the edge of the river which is straight down below. The hiking trail heads up to Hell Hole Reservoir and every time I hiked this, I never came upon a single other person.

Eleven Pines Rd in the aftermath of the King Fire

Eleven Pines Rd connects Wentworth Springs Rd with Mosquito Ridge

Eleven Pines Road connects north to Hell Hole Reservoir

Eleven Pines Road connects north to Hell Hole Reservoir

When I rode Eleven Pines Rd for the first time guessing where I was headed with a rather un-detailed paper map, half the fun was having no idea where I was or which road went where. Back in the olden days, pre-internet, pre-google, and pre-GPS, I simply figured I would keep riding and eventually emerge somewhere. Or heaven forbid, have to turn around and retrace my bread crumbs. Eleven Pines continues up Hell Hole Road to Hell Hole Reservoir, however there is a connector to make it over to French Meadows Road which continues up to French Meadows Reservoir and the eastern end of Mosquito Ridge Road.

Eleven Pines Rd also connects to French Meadows Road atop Ralston Ridge riding westbound across Blacksmith Flat Rd. This route runs parallel to Mosquito Ridge Road descending down a steep hill through several narrow switchbacks to a Ralston Powerhouse on the Rubicon River near the Ralston Picnic Area, then back up the hill connecting to Mosquito Ridge. Yes, all paved. And yes, I rode it on the Hayabusa, dual sport not required. A more detailed description of this (very remote) ride is on the Mosquito Ridge page. Ralston Ridge Rd was heavily damaged in winter storms of 2017 & 2019 and still has not been repaired. Always a good idea to consult the El Dorado National Forest website regarding road closures. Conditions will change from year to year.

Over the Summit

East of Stumpy Meadows and the Eleven Pines turnoff, Wentworth Springs Rd comes alive. This is what you came for, where anticipation morphs to reality. The motorcycle glides beneath you gently swaying to and fro. The ride envelopes you, pulls you in, and a smile spreads across your face. What an amazing ride that plays out before you. The bike takes its own course pulled by mysterious forces, deeper into the mountains, steadily climbing in elevation, you're a passenger in a melodic dance of motorcycle dreamland. Delayed late apex mantras float across the menagerie of the mind’s eye. Set up on the outside line, wait for it, wait for it, wait for the see-through.

The exit line becomes visible and you drop the bike into the curve counter steering with enough vigor to make your Physics professor a happy man. At the 50% mark in the turn, you end the trail braking and bite the rear tire into the road surface rolling on the power and injecting toque into the contact patch accelerating forward towards the exit line. Directly ahead lies the next curve and the process repeats flipping side to side again, and then again.

 

There are several straights broken up by several strings of smooth curves and then another sequence. White Fir, Red Fir, Ponderosa Pine, Jeffrey pine, Sugar Pine, Douglas Fir, and Incense Cedar line the ride on both sides, occasionally broken by a dirt fire road. The vast majority of the forest was burned in the 2014 King Fire, but occasional patches are completely untouched illustrating the indiscriminate nature of forest fires to skip some sections, and obliterate others.

Wentworth Springs Rd

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Twenty-four miles east of Georgetown is a sign for Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It’s easy to miss, and even easier to blow by it. The cabin is not visible from Wentworth Spring Rd, but a short dirt road reaches it a few hundred yards away. A small cabin said to be open year-round has been in continuous operation for over 150 years starting up in 1864 against a mountain backdrop to the south. A deck on the back of the cabin makes for a great spot to relax and enjoy the mountain air. No food is served, but there are some cold drinks and if you bring your own lunch, it’s a fun place to relax and absorb the mountain vibe. Jeepers love this place, and there are often a few jeeps parked here while headed to and from the Rubicon Trail. Hundreds of dollar bills adorn the interior walls of the bar. (Ice House Café on Ice House Rd has the same decorator, also covered in hundreds of dollar bills.) On three-day weekends, there may be live music, or even a wedding. Civil War Battle reenactments have also taken place here in mid-August in years past. The Classic Van Club held their Mountain Boogie Van-In here in September. And in winter, the snowman competition takes place.

Uncle Tom's Cabin has been in continuous operation since 1864 and it well worth the stop.

Dollar bills at Uncle Tom's Cabin

Thousands of dollar bills adorn the interior walls of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Bring one if you plan to visit.

Silver Hill Summit

 

For a mountain road, one major difference from nearby Sierra Passes like Highway 4 or Highway 108 is the lack of hairpins to gain elevation. Wentworth is the opposite, rather a steady climb weaving and wiggling along, then reaching for the top of the ridgeline over Silver Hill Ridge, a few miles later revealing a jaw dropping view to the west. For the pass-baggers, Hartless Peak is a low summit less than 1/3 mile from Wentworth located on the north side of the road.

At the summit over Silver Ridge (if you even notice it), pull to the side, shut the motor off, and stand in awe as you can see for miles westward across the Sierra Nevada Foothills. From the summit, coast down the mountainside gently swaying the bike to the right and left, the sound of the motor dissolving into the surrounding pines.            

DSC08345.jpg

What paved mountaintop perfection looks like

Summit Curves on Wentworth Springs Rd

Robbs Peak

 

Robbs Peak, 6686 ft., anchors the area to the southeast. A mile east of the summit is a locked gate at Helix Flat Ave which is a dirt fire road to Robbs Peak assessable from Wentworth Springs. You can rent a cabin atop the peak and hike in for the night with an enthralling view of the nearby Crystal Range. The other entrance to Robbs Peak is from Ice House Rd and you can drive in to get near Robbs Peak, and hike in the remaining distance to the 6650 ft mountain peak. On the east side of the 6000 ft summit, the frivolity continues.

Paving a gravel road has its advantages, and this is the poster child for such occurrences.  You've figured out by now this is not some single-lane cliff edge backwater trail. This is a ride designed for all types of motorcyclists be they addicted to lean angles or relaxed cruising along.

The east side of the Silver Hill Ridge offers another series of smooth arcing curves as the last few miles flow down to Ice House Road.  At several points along this portion of the ride are glimpses of intense views of the adjacent mountains off to the north.  The rest of ride on over to Ice House Road wastes no time throwing out dreamy curves, smooth apexes, and intense views.  This section is short, only about 3 miles, but it's unlike anything you've ever ridden before.

Curves on Wentworth Springs Rd

Rider Comments:

 

I see you have a new article for Wentworth Springs Road.  Let me add that the road is pure butter. We rode it on a Saturday morning and it was wonderful!  I was picked up 7am Saturday morning by a friend who rides a BMW 1150RT. It pains me to say my friend was quick to point out his heated grips. We ended up grabbing another friend in El Dorado Hills that rides a VFR800 and off the three of us went, with me riding my CBR929RR.

 

We headed out Salmon Falls Road, picked up Highway 49 and took that to Highway 193 to Georgetown. From Highway 193 we proceeded to Wentworth Springs and despite the chilly weather, the chilly roads, and the tires having a difficult time reaching optimum temperatures, the ride was great. Getting out early to beat the traffic makes a world of difference. Wentworth Springs starts off as a nice road, but the real beauty really doesn’t start until you get to Stumpy Meadows Reservoir.    

East end of Wentworth Springs Rd blocked by snow

East end of Wentworth Springs Rd blocked by snow

The early sections of the road have a few bumps, but nothing big enough to be overly concerned about. We did pass a few areas that had small patches of dirt and gravel. However, we didn’t encounter any of that at the apex of a corner.

 

Once you reach Stumpy Meadows Reservoir, the road is all brand-new pavement. This isn’t necessarily the slick asphalt I normally equate with valley paving; rather this section of pavement has a little coarseness and bite to it, while still being absolutely silky smooth.  We were all in such a zone we never took a break! At Ice House Rd, we ended up taking that all the way south until it ran back into Highway 50.

 

From there, we took Highway 50 back to El Dorado Hills, with GPS reporting a 147-mile round trip.

-Jason Occhialini, Citrus Heights, CA Honda CBR929RR

East end of Wentworth Springs Rd

Few months later, same sign, snow has melted, Read to ride!

Wentworth Springs Road is going to be one of the best motorcycle roads in the state if not the best.  It is off of Ice House Road National Forest 3. After Robb's Resort turn left on the road to Uncle Tom's Cabin.  I rode it last Thursday and only the first seven miles were completed but found it so much fun, that I had to turn around and ride it again.  In that first seven miles, there are 64 turns with about 47 of them sweepers of about 120 degrees to 180 degrees and a couple felt to be 270. I was having so much fun I didn't really slow down to check.  If you go, take new knee pads.

-Gary Barrett

Curves on Wentworth Springs Rd

Well, I finally made the time to go over and check out Wentworth Springs road. I have to say this road is a wet dream.... Now that's not exactly right, what I meant to say is the road is a dream, and it was wet.  I started out about 8am in the morning and headed for Highway 193 to Georgetown. Having properly abused the edges of my tires there, I slowed down through town and for several miles up Wentworth Springs Road. 

 

Getting out away from the traffic, I let the speed go up to a conservative 65, smiling inside my helmet as I flipped the bike back and forth to the rhythm of the road. The road was beginning to be wet in spots and the smell of pine was so thick in the air, it added a dimension to knife the bike through.  As I rode into the area that I have looked at on the Pashnit.com site, the road was completely wet and I was beginning to wonder why this piece of pavement jewelry exists. Could this be some warped bureaucrats’ idea of a speed trap?

I passed almost no traffic the whole way, although there were lots of camping spots and dirt side roads which add up to weekend people. I rode Wentworth Springs Rd to the end, and then made a right turn on Ice House Road. Now I felt a little more comfortable on Ice House Rd as it was narrower and had some bumps in it.  The stretch out towards Highway 50 and down into that canyon was super cool!  The area had a good combination of straight to corner ratio, which let me feel the power of the bike, but never really had me going super-fast before needing to brake for the next series of turns.  Now I was right on time for a lunch time meet with a buddy in Markleeville, as I began heading east up Highway 50. The sign had said 26 miles to Lake Tahoe when I saw the clouds.

 

Not interested in getting wet, I retreated back the route I came (sorry Bob). This all worked out for the best as by the time I re-rode that delicious section of Ice House Rd, Wentworth Springs Rd had dried out almost totally.  I held myself to a moderate speed despite what the little guy on my shoulder was saying. I have found that I really do enjoy a medium fast cruise speed. Feeling very relaxed on the bike, almost letting it guide me, I enjoyed the feeling/sound of the motor spooling up as I rolled the bike over onto the sides of the tire.  Man, that road is cool!

-Chris Dorn

Wentworth Spring Rd  & Ice House Rd

Where to next?

Upon reaching the T-intersection with Ice House Road, Highway 50 is 24 miles to the south.  Loon Lake is 6 miles to the northeast and if you head up that way, don't miss the turnoff eastward to stay on Ice House Road (watch the signs).  The first time up that way, I rode right past the turn-off to Loon Lake.  If you miss the turn off to Loon Lake, you'll find yourself on an older section of Wentworth Springs Road that turns to dirt a short distance later. The dirt section of Wentworth Springs Rd continues to South Fork Group Campsite and Gerle Creek Campground on the north shore of Gerle Creek Divide Reservoir. Wentworth Springs Rd continues around to the north side of Loon Lake and finally ends below 7420 ft Devils Peak. The original gold-rush era Wentworth Springs Resort is found at the end of the dirt section of Wentworth Springs Rd and in current times, is a rally point for Jeepers setting off onto the Rubicon Trail up an over the range to Lake Tahoe a short distance further west.

Summit of Hartless Mountain on Wentworth Springs Rd
 

Wentworth Springs Rd - Photo Gallery

MORE INFO: Wentworth Springs Road

RIDE IT on a PASHNIT TOUR
31 Miles - LENGTH


Excellent for the majority - PAVEMENT
Smooth, Many, Constant, Mountainous - CURVES

Georgetown to Ice House Rd - CONNECTS

 Kyburz, Fresh Pond, Ice House Resort, Georgetown - GAS

Georgetown, 700 campsites in Crystal Basin - LODGING

6410 ft- PEAK ELEVATION
 


GPS LOCATION
  38° 54′ 25″ N, 120° 50′ 19″ W - Georgetown

38° 59′ 16.8″ N, 120° 19′ 51.6″ W - Loon Lake

LISTED CONNECTING SIDEROADS:
Balderston Rd
Darling Ridge
Mosquito  / Rock Creek Rd
Eleven Pines Rd
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Robbs  Peak Rd
 

RELATED INFO:
Elkins Flat OHV Routes

Trail of Epiphany

History of Wentworth Springs Resort

Rubicon Trail Map

Hartless Mountain Hiking Trail

Plan to Pave Wentworth Springs Rd

Ice House Resort

Loon Lake Chalet
Camping Crystal Basin
El Dorado National Forest

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Topo Maps