Placerville / Prospectors Grade / Chili Bar Loop

Level of Difficulty:  Difficult (3500' total climbing)
Riding Time: 4 hours  Printable Area Map:  Placerville / Prospectors Grade Loop  (Adobe Acrobat required)
Season to Ride:  Spring through Fall

Description:  Okay... so you want to practice your hill climbing?  This is the ride for you!  Prospectors Grade is known as one of the three toughest hill climbs in El Dorado County (Slug Gulch and Snows Rd being the other two).  Only 2 miles long, there are no breaks once you start, and it's guaranteed to get your heart pounding.  The second major hill climb (after Chili Bar) will seem tame in comparison.  This route though does give you a rest in-between the two climbs with some very pleasant cycling on Garden Valley Rd.  Gold Hill Rd is also a gem.  Only drawback to this ride is the initial heavy traffic on Highway 49 for the first 4 miles.  Great scenery along the way, and the descents on Lotus Rd and Highway 193 are absolutely wonderful.  Groceries/food can be found in Coloma and Chili Bar.

Traffic notes:  It is highly recommended that you start this ride early, well before 10am - especially on weekends. The first four miles follows Highway 49 which can have heavy traffic.  There is little or no shoulder here, so care must be given.  After you turn off this road, traffic lightens up considerably.  Some traffic will be encountered on Highway 193, especially during the summer months (when river rafting is popular at Chili Bar), but this is much less of a problem than Highway 49. For the last mile of this ride, you'll rejoin Highway 49, but this will be brief as you'll be traveling downhill back into town.

Miles  Directions
0.0 Start at corner of Highway 49 and Main St. (Parking available nearby).  Cross Highway 50 and head north on 49/
0.8 Pass Highway 193 (this is where you'll return) - continue straight on 49
3.4 Pass "Red Shack" - start short steep climb.  Be careful with traffic here.
4.4 Turn Left on Gold Hill Rd - traffic lightens up now.
6.1 Cross Cold Springs Rd (continue straight)
8.9 Turn Right on Lotus Rd.  Begin large descent to Columa.
12.2 Turn Left on Highway 49
12.8 Turn Right on Marshall Rd
13.4 Turn Left on Prospectors Rd - start 2 mile continuous steep climb.
15.9 Left on Marshall Rd.
17.5 Turn Right on Garden Valley Rd.
21.0 Garden Valley Rd ends.  Turn Right on Highway 193.
26.2 Reach American River at Chili Bar (some groceries available).  Cross river and begin 2 mile climb (not as bad as Prospectors Rd)
28.4 Turn Left on 49.  Traffic increases, but short ride (downhill) back into Placerville.
29.2 Cross Highway 50 in Placerville.  End of Ride.