Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Glacier N.P. & Pacific Northwest

by Kathy 8. December 2010 20:12

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Oregon—John’s Peak OHV >>


California—Chappie-Shasta OHV Area

Our first ride was at the Chappie-Shasta OHV area in the far northern part of California. There are about 200 miles of trails winding through spectacular scenery around Shasta Lake.  

The lake was created when Shasta Dam was built across the Sacramento River.

Approaching the dam:

To reach our campground, and the dirt bike staging area, we had to pass through a security checkpoint and drive the RV across a narrow road on top of the dam.

Sometimes an “access permit” is required to cross over the dam, depending on Homeland Security restrictions.  We didn't need one; however, check the current requirements if you plan to visit.  A security guard did take a look inside our RV, the dirt bike trailer, and our outside storage compartments before we could proceed onto the dam.

Looking back at the dam:

A t the staging area:

Like most riding areas, the Chappie-Shasta OHV has trails that are marked according to their level of difficulty—“green” for easy, “blue” for intermediate, and “black” for advanced. Genevieve and Sebastian had ridden many green trails, as well as some blue, in other places over the past year.

We would be doing a lot of dirt biking with the kids on this trip, and we wanted this first ride to be relaxed enough to build their self-confidence, with just enough speed, gravel, silt, tight corners, and perhaps a hill climb or two, to provide a bit of challenge.

Ben and I looked over the trail map and finally selected a long squiggly dirt road (Trail #1) with gradual climbs and descents, rated “green.”

Here we are, off to a good start!

Sebastian (age 7) was on his Yamaha TTR50, which he had named “Mary”.  (He graduated to 70cc's after this trip.)

Genevieve (age 11) was on her Honda CRF70, which she had named “Vroomster”.  (She graduated to 100cc's after this trip.)

Ben and I were on our beloved KTM’s:

Here is a close-up view of Shasta Dam, behind Ben in the above photo:

The road climbed steadily up into the surrounding hills. The surface was fairly smooth, with enough gravel and silty areas to keep the children on their toes.

We stopped briefly so that Ben could fix a slight problem with Sebastian’s shifter.

Genevieve and her vivacious spirit:

She’s my girl!

We stopped on a small bridge.

Underneath us was a swift flow of water, finding its way around rocks and boulders:

Looking back at our road, with a peek of the deep turquoise green lake:

A few miles later, we stopped to check out a waterfall.

Genevieve and Sebastian found a large dandelion puff and made a wish, blowing the seeds as hard as they could through their helmets:

The road followed the contour of the mountain, moving away from the lake and then curving back closer. Here is Genevieve with a view that stopped us in our tracks:

Climbing higher, the roads became very dusty.  Here are Sebastian and Ben, near Mammoth Butte:

Along this stretch, there were many piles of debris from what looked like a huge logging and clearing effort. Here is Genevieve next to one big pile:

Sebastian and Ben, with the lake far below:

The snow-covered peak of Mt. Shasta rose above the tree-tops:

Genevieve and I spotted a 3-foot snake zipping across the road—too fast for a photo, though.

After about 15 miles of riding, we stopped for a picnic lunch in a clearing with fabulous views (perhaps near Bohemotash Mountain, but I am not sure).

I wish that I had Sebastian’s thick, luscious hair, which doesn’t wilt (like mine) under the intense pressure of a helmet.

Ben and Genevieve:

Near our picnic spot was a hill that wasn’t too steep, but it had loose silty soil, as well as some tree limbs, rocks, and rows of dirt to cross in order to make it to the top.  I did a test ride up, and then tried to clear away some of the rocks for the kids.

Genevieve (on the left) scoped out a line:

And up she went!

She was so jazzed! Here she is with her victory stance:

Then it was Sebastian’s turn.

The wheel base on his bike is short, and his tires are very small, so the long dirt piles at the bottom launched him a bit off course.

Even with a push from his dad, the going was tough:

What goes up, of course, must come down. Here is Genevieve, ready for the challenge:

Ahhh, those painful lessons on not using too much front brake on downhills. To her credit, Genevieve immediately popped up off the ground and called out, “I’m okay!”

Ben and I then had some fun going up and down this hill (which had really deep silt and, as always, was much steeper than it looks in the photo).

Our lunch spot was the turn-around point for us, and we started retracing our route back to the campground.

The views of Shasta Lake continued to “wow” us!

We were fortunate enough to see both a deer and a jackrabbit on the road.

The round trip was 31 miles, which really tested the children’s endurance. They were troopers.

Here is Sebastian, taking a rest.

The rest stops allowed me to absorb, and appreciate, the blue brilliance of the sky and the gracefulness of the birds:

Continuing onward:

Everyone ended the ride with huge smiles!

We would definitely like to return here and do another family ride—this time on some of the blue and, if the kids are ready, black trails.

After the ride, we loaded the bikes and headed north into Oregon. There would be more fun trails tomorrow.

Additional Information About Chappie-Shasta OHV:

Link to Chappie-Shasta OHV page on the BLM website.

Link to Trail Map.

Link for directions.

Link for Access Permit requirements. 

Campground: We camped in the Shasta Campground, near the Chappie-Shasta staging area. The cost was $10 per night. The campground was very basic and fairly small. Even though the campground is right next to the river (below the dam), there is no beach area or easy access to the water. We found a few steep trails that ended at the water’s edge, but the current was too swift for safe swimming.


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