This is a long adventure bike ride straddling the Stanislaus River Calaveras/Tuolumne County line. About 19 miles of the ride is paved along Parrotts Ferry, Camp Nine, and Italian Bar Roads, though most of the nine miles of Camp Nine Road would be best described as “potholes holding hands.” The rest is gravel, dirt, and for a short stretch on Forest Service Road 3N03, chunky rock. In 34 miles there is more than 5,000 feet of climbing with two crossings of the North Fork Stanislaus and crossings of Knight Creek, Rose Creek, and the South Fork of the Stanislaus. This ride is very challenging especially during warm weather, so riders should be in excellent condition and well prepared with ample food and water. The Knight Creek crossing can be wet, especially in springtime.
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It is best to do this loop clockwise, because Parrotts Ferry Road has truck traffic and very narrow shoulders on the Tuolumne County side of the Stanislaus. Traveling clockwise the trip is downhill in Tuolumne and uphill on the Calaveras side where there are wider shoulders. There are parking and amenities in Columbia. You could also start on the Calaveras side and visit Murphys or Angels Camp afterwards to refuel.
- roads: mixed
- terrain: challenging
- tires: cross to mountain
- seasons: all, with precautions for winter and summer weather and road conditions
- current weather