Five muddy mountain bike rides that won’t wreck the trails

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Responsible mountain bikers know to avoid muddy trails — especially in Santa Rosa’s beloved Trione-Annadel State Park. Here are five places you can responsibly shred the gnar in the week after a rainstorm.

Porterfield Creek Trails Open Space Preserve

Ken Wells recommends this new “little community gem” of a park.

“I was there this morning and the soil is just beautiful,” he says. “It’s been raining and raining — they’ve had like 40 inches of rain — and the trail is hard.”

Trail construction began on this 250-acre preserve in 2017, and there are “a whole bunch” of primitive trails winding through the forest and along the creek, where steelhead can be seen up close, Wells says. There is also some narrow single-track, and a wide trail wraps around the park.

Where: Off Skyview Drive in Cloverdale, next to the Del Webb-designed retirement community of Clover Springs

Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest

Debbie Bloomquist’s go-to park is an everyday ride for her. Managed by Cal-Fire, Boggs Mountain is all about fire roads. The 14 miles of trails were taken out of commission by the Valley Fire, which burned 99 percent of the demo forest. So ... no trails, no harm. Boggs’ 22 miles of roads still offer plenty of opportunity to get a workout amid some stark beauty.

Where: State Route 175, eight miles south of Clear Lake

Oat Hill Mine Trail

Shane Bresnyan and Debbie Bloomquist both recommend this gnarly ride, which wends its way between Calistoga and Pope Valley.

“Oat Hill Mine is almost solid rock,” Bresnyan says. “You can’t hurt it.”

“It’s super technical,” Bloomquist says, so plan on dodging rocks all day, if that’s your thing. “It’s uphill all the way and then downhill all the way back. You can see the old stagecoach track in the rock. Really cool.”

Where: One trailhead is just north of the Silverado Trail on Highway 29 in Calistoga; the other is at the end of Aetna Springs Road in Pope Valley. (For shuttlers: It’s a two-hour drive from trailhead to trailhead.)

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

Shane Bresnyan is happy to recommend this Santa Rosa icon, where “ridge” is the operative word. With elevations ranging from 600 to 2,729 feet, this place is “a Mecca for those who like to climb and descend epic trails,” according to the folks at Team Sugarloaf, the non-profit that helps support this popular destination. Off-roaders will want to check out Meadow Trail, the Hillside Trail, the Gray Pine Trail and High Ridge.

Where: Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood

Big Rock Trail

Shane Bresnyan: “This is a great place to ride in wet weather, because it’s so steep and it drains really, really well. It’s all sandstone there.” Note the use of the words “so steep.” Here’s what an authoritative-sounding rider on MTBR.com reports: “If you can ride from Alameda Del Prado to the Towers nonstop, no walking, you are an ANIMAL, enter some races.” There is also a Star Wars connection.

Where: Lucas Valley Road, between San Rafael and Nicasio, near the entrance to Skywalker Ranch

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