Ash Canyon to Kings Canyon Trail

Carson officials, volunteers carving trail system in mountains west of city
By Teri Vance (Story originally appearing in the Nevada Appeal)

In the super-abridged version of the story, Jeff Potter complained to city supervisors in 2006 that more mountain bike trails were needed in the area.

Their response: Then do it.

Carson City

Of course, it wasn’t that simple. There was the master plan to consult. Permits needed to be acquired. Plans needed to be drawn up.

But after years of working with Carson City’s open-space manager, Juan Guzman, to negotiate with city, state and federal agencies as well as private property owners, the plan is starting to take shape.

Max Jones, who owns Spooner Lake Cross Country and Flume Trail Mountain Bikes, lent his expertise to determining three routes connecting Kings Canyon to Ash Canyon.

Potter said they settled on the mid-line route, traversing seven miles along the east-facing slopes of the mountains. It begins around 5,600 feet and climbs 1,100 feet to the highest point of 6,700 feet. The average grade is 6 percent.

Potter said it was an easy decision.

“If this was the only trail I could put in, it would be a killer trail,” he said. “Plus, we had fewer obstacles with this option.”

He said the gradual ascents with some steep climbs will make the trail a challenge for the experienced mountain biker while still being accessible to the novice.

“This is for everybody,” Potter said. “All skill levels.”

The trail also will be open for other non-motorized use, like hikers and equestrians.

While there are some trails now in the hills of east Carson City, they are what’s known as non-system trails. They don’t connect in a meaningful way and may not have the proper permits.

The trail, with access points in Kings Canyon and Ash Canyon, will make sense to users, Guzman said.

“It’s from a very well-known point to another well-known point,” he said.

It also could draw other outdoor enthusiasts to the area, Guzman said.

“This is the kind of thing that people will drive thousands of miles to come and experience,” he said. “We have a hidden spot here. People do not realize what a unique place this is. The Sierra Nevada is just spectacular.”

Potter said while users will be able to begin at either point, he imagines most will prefer to begin from the Kings Canyon side and climb about 2.5 miles to the highest point.

Once there, they’ll be on an outcropping with views of the entire city, along with Job’s Peak, the Sweetwater Range and Washoe Lake.

From there, it will a 5.5-mile descent into Ash Canyon. Along the way, there will be other overlooks for users to take in the view.

Work on the trail is expected to begin in the spring and could take up to five years to be fully complete.

Guzman said he appreciates the dedication and expertise of volunteers like Potter.

“This is the perfect use of our lands,” he said. “This corner of Nevada is just fantastic.”

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Sabotage! on the Ash Canyon Trails

Be Alert! Someone has sabotaged the trails in Ash Canyon by digging deep holes in the middle of the trail. The holes are located in high speed sections or in places where you wouldn’t see them until too late. Hitting one of these holes at speed would cause serious injury or even death! We weren’t able to repair them at lunch, but tried to block off the trail with downed brush. We’ll get trail crews up there ASAP to repair the damage. Until this issue is resolved, it is advisable to ride up any trail first at a slow speed before bombing back down it. The four holes we discovered were on the lower trails just west of the V&T bike path (Jackrabbit and Postal Route). No holes were found higher up, but this could change at any time. Trail map here: http://www.bikecarson.com/trails-and-rides/

Trail Sabotage
1st Hole on the Jackrabbit Trail

Trail Sabotage
2nd Hole on the Jackrabbit Trail

Trail Sabotage
3rd Hole on the Jackrabbit Trail

Trail Sabotage
Beginning of the Postal Trail

Parks and Rec Commission Meeting This Tuesday

Parks and Rec Commission Meeting This Tuesday, originally published by Jeff Potter on BikeCarson.com

On the agenda for (discussion-only ) this Tuesday is the efforts by Muscle Powered to construct and maintain trails in the Ash Canyon area.

Carson City Overlook
Chas scouting the proposed AC/KC trail alignment

Tuesday, May 4th at 5:30 p.m. in the Sierra Room at the Carson City Community Center.

The Ash/Kings Canyon Trail project has picked up momentum recently with invaluable assistance from Chas Macquarie, Jeff Moser, Howard Riedl, Janice Brod, Toby Welborn, and Lester Fitzhenry. Though we’ve seen recent success with the Open Space Committee unanimously voting in support of funding the necessary environmental study (which is required before we can build trail on Forest Service land), our advocacy efforts are far from over.

A big selling point that we’re employing to convince our city managers that this is a cost effective project (besides quality of life and economic benefits), is that the mountain bike community is stepping up to the plate to construct the trails with volunteer labor. This is where you, the Bike Carson reader, come in.

The large turnout we had at the Open Space meeting April 19th didn’t go unnoticed and we need your help again. Though the agenda item is for discussion-only, a strong show of support from the mountain bike community would demonstrate that we’re serious about our trails.

Hope to see you there!

Muscle Powered Hike in Ash Canyon

On April 4th, Muscle Powered board members got together to hike the Ash Canyon trail network. A few friends came along too, including Kerstin Wolle, president of the Carson Valley Trails Association.

MP Hike in Ash Canyon
At the Trailhead

Earlier in the year, Muscle Powered attended the CVTA annual meeting, a presentation showcasing the wonderful trail network they have built in the Jobs Peak area. We were inspired at the number of attendees at the meeting. It was standing room only, the building full of enthusiastic supporters for trails in the Carson Valley. On the way home we decided we needed to do something like this in Carson City, and wondered if Muscle Powered would be the ones to do it.

MP Hike in Ash Canyon
Climbing the 7 Steps Trail

After much discussion between the Muscle Powered board members, we had a meeting with Carson City Parks and Recreation and Mark Kimbrough from the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. We explored the possibilities of Muscle Powered branching out to become a trails organization. Mark shared his trail building wisdom, and Parks and Recreation was excited about the idea of forming a trails partnership with Muscle Powered. The plan would be to start off simple; adopt an existing trail and maintain it. The sites are currently set on portions of the Ash Canyon trails that are on city land.

MP Hike in Ash Canyon
Ash Canyon

Saturday’s hike was a great opportunity to present the trail to all the Muscle Powered board members, and meet a few new friends. The blue sky offered great views of the snow capped mountains, and signs of spring were everywhere. Green grass, flowers, new buds on the trees, and a swift running Ash Canyon Creek. Normally I ride this loop on my bicycle, but it was nice to walk the trail for a change. My son came along, and he had a great time. The loop trail we did was the perfect length for a family outing.

Much still needs to be done, and many things would need to fall into place for Muscle Powered to adopt a trail, but we’re off to a good start. Stay tuned for further developments.

More pictures from the hike can be found HERE.

Trail News

Carson City Land Acquisition

Did anyone catch the Carson City Land Acquisition story on NewsCarsonCity.com? Carson City is acquiring large portions of land in the Ash Canyon Area. This is great news for trail users. With the city owning a bigger, contiguous block of the land on the west side, we will see greater public access, and hopefully better stewardship of the land. Watch the video and see the details HERE.

OHV Damage in Ash Canyon

A concerned mountain biker recently contacted me to see what can be done about all the recent OHV (motorized off highway vehicles) activity in the “NO MOTOR VEHICLES” area of Ash Canyon. Jeff Potter and I rode up to survey the damage, and here are a few photos I took:

Damage from OHVs
Clearly Marked Sign

Damage from OHVs
New lines being cut right next to existing trail

Damage from OHVs
Free For All

Damage from OHVs
New Roads

And a few more pictures HERE.

While there are signs posted in some areas, other entrances to the canyon do not have signs posted. In fact, the sign in the picture above is posted on the bike path, not next to an access road where a vehicle will most likely enter. As Carson’s west side becomes more popular, it is apparent that better management of the area is needed. Just in the last few weeks, there has been two roll overs in the canyon, the 1st a couple kids, the 2nd a high speed p4x4 police chase! It is my hope that the city’s purchase of the property in the Ash Canyon area will lead to better preservation of the lands. I think that ideally, hikers and bikers should have their own low impact trail system, and motorized vehicles should stay on the existing roads that allow access to Hobart Reservoir. The area is just too small to be an OHV playground. The vast expanses of BLM land east of town are much better suited for this activity. What are your thoughts on this issue?

Carson Valley Trails Association

Last weekend we had the Muscle Powered Annual Meeting, and in attendance was the President of the Carson Valley Trails Association, Kerstin Wolle. Kerstin gave an impressive talk on all they’ve done in the Carson Valley, and invited Carson City residents to attend their CVTA Annual Meeting coming up this Monday, January 19th. If you’ve ever hiked the Faye Luther Trail or Job’s Peak Ranch Trail, you have seen the beautiful work these people do. A few of us plan to attend this meeting to see how we can bring what they’ve done in the Carson Valley to Carson City. Hope to see you there!

CVTA Annual Meeting

Monday January 19, 2009
At the Gazebo at David Walley’s
2001 Foothill Road, Genoa

6 p.m. Doors Open
social, displays, refreshments and no-host bar

6:30 p.m. Meeting
Genoa Foothill Trail System Project Presentation, CVTA grants information, current CVTA volunteer opportunities, 2009 “Hike for Health” Hike-a-thon Preview, Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing on the Trails, and More!

Please come and bring a friend!!!

Jobs Peak, Nevada
Jobs Peak – Carson Valley

Kings Canyon to Ash Canyon Loop

As energy costs steadily increase, it is becoming more important to change our habits to conserve these vital resources. In years past, there was no consideration to throw the bike in the car, and drive up to Lake Tahoe for recreation. Fuel was cheap. These days are over, and it’s time to start thinking of new ways not only to get around town, but to get our favorite recreational areas too.

Looking Towards Carson Valley

Last weekend some friends and I decided to explore some of the Lake Tahoe Trails by beginning our ride from Carson City. In the end, the ride was much more rewarding, knowing that we had made the whole journey using only Muscle Power.

Please come read the story of our ride that took us from Carson City, up Kings Canyon to Spooner Summit, up to Marlette Lake, down to Hobart, and finally back to Carson City down Ash Canyon. The story can be viewed on the Bike Carson site by clicking HERE.