Updated: Sep 18, 2022
If there is anywhere in all of California where the photos tell the story better than words can, it has to be Forest Road 1. I can describe it. I can put you there, I can describe the scene, the trees, the views, the sensation of being atop all the world. But in the end, it's a paltry attempt that simply can't adequately convey the sensation. All my years of writing about roads won't suffice in the ability to express just what it feels like. Forest Road 1, known as Titlow Hill Rd on the north end, and South Fork Mountain Rd on the southern end, stands alone in all the state. Why you ask?
Over the years, I've led numerous tour groups up here while leading Pashnit Tours. It's the highlight of the tour for some. Or possibly it's just my enthusiasm for this road that might carry over to the riders to see what all the hoopla is about. After all, this ranks right up there with California's greatest goat trails. I still can't find a single mapping program that will admit this road (in its entirety) even exists. The name alone- 'Forest Road' should already clue you in for what's in store. If you look at the photos first, then read this text, you already know what I'm going to say.
“Or possibly it's just my enthusiasm for this road that might carry over to the riders to see what all the hoopla is about. After all, this ranks right up there with California's greatest goat trails. ”
If riding northbound, found at Mad River next to a small church, Lamb Creek Grade offers up a relaxed climb quite literally right up the mountain side, seemingly in no particular hurry to get there. Note that, officially, this is the start of Forest Road 1. But the southern portion of South Fork Mountain Road is 6 miles to the east on Hwy 36 but is gravel fire road (at the summit). One could take that stretch of road, but the Lamb Creek Grade approach is a much more gratifying ride, and paved.
Forest Road 1 is found in Mad River along Highway 36. The town itself is nothing more than a couple of houses, and a small general store. There's a church here alongside the road, Lamb Creek Christian Center, that is the only major landmark. Note that Google Maps labels this as Hasting Rd for the nearby creek. I can't find a printed paper map to match that.
There is no road sign per se, and the turn-off is easy to miss. Nothing more than a large sign denoting Hyampom 19 miles away (via dirt forest roads), and the Berry Summit at Hwy 299 54 miles away. The same sign holds a small sign for National Forest 1. There's also a small bridge here, so for eastbound riders, you'd be riding downhill, get to the Mad River General Store, cross over the short bridge, and the Lamb Creek Christian Center is right there. So is Forest Road 1.