Slug Gulch / Highway 88 / Shake Ridge Loop

Level of Difficulty:  Difficult (4700' total climbing)
Riding Time: 5 hours  Printable Area Map:  Slug_Gulch/Hwy_88/Shake_Ridge  (Adobe Acrobat required)
Season to Ride:  Late Spring (mid-May) through Early Fall

Description:  This is a wonderful day ride, and though the climb up Slug Gulch is stiff, Omo Ranch (which follows) almost seems tame in comparison.  Omo Ranch also has wonderful local views and the higher section brings you into cool Pine forests.  Traffic in generally very light on this section.  Omo Ranch Road ends at the county line at Highway 88.  During the next 3 miles you'll be traveling on Highway 88 - extreme caution is urged.  Traffic at times can be heavy, and people do not expect bicycles on this road.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that it's mostly downhill in this route's direction, and it goes by fast.  Also good news is that after the first mile of Highway 88, a shoulder appears on the road and continues all the way to your exit on Shake Ridge Rd.

Continuing down Shake Rd, there is a small market where groceries can be purchased.  About a mile past the market the road turns onto Fiddletown Rd, for more fun descents.  At the town of Fiddletown (no groceries or supplies available), the route turns to Ostrom Rd which cuts over to E16 (this is much preferable to riding all the way into Plymouth then backtracking).  An alternate ride exist near here too - and though has less traffic - the (alternate) road has sections of broken pavement. There's a small grocery store in River Pines on the main route (alternate route bypasses this town).  Both routes rejoin E16 not far from the county border, and continues a staircase type climb back to Fairplay.

Ride starts at Pioneer Park (open 8am to sunset).  Plan at least 5 hours for this ride.  Bring plenty of water as the first half of the ride (which has most of the climbing) there are no facilities to get water or food.

Traffic note:  Highway 88 has fast traffic - and can be heavy at times.  First mile of this highway also has no shoulder. Avoid riding on Sunday afternoon (or holidays) when traffic can be heavy with tourist returning from the Lake Tahoe region.  E16 can have moderate traffic.




Start at Pioneer Park.  Go directly across Fairplay and start riding on Perry Creek Rd.
Park location is 200 yards east of the intersection of E16 and Fairplay Rd (on Fairplay Rd).


Turn Left on Slug Gulch Rd.  Start 2.8 mile stiff climb up Slug Gulch.


First of two switchbacks.


Second of two switchbacks.  Climb becomes more gradual now.


Slug Gulch Rd ends. Turn Left on Omo Ranch Rd.  Traffic increases slightly.


Enter El Dorado National Forest


Leave El Dorado National Forest.  Cattle Guard crossing on road (may want to walk bike across)


Pass North South Rd


Reach Highway 88 (now in Amador County). 
Second Cattle Guard crossing here (spacing seems wider than previous one may be best to walk bike across). 
Take a few moments here to analyze traffic.  Turn Right on Highway 88. 
No shoulder for first mile of road.
Mostly downhill to Shake Ridge Rd so your time on Hwy 88 is brief.


Shoulder appears on road.  Can be ridden, but be cautious of gravel and other debris that may suddenly appear.  Shoulder remains all the way to Shake Ridge Road.


Pass Drew Drop Rd.


Turn Right on Shake Ridge Road.


Small Market (groceries) on Left side easy to miss.


Turn Right on Fiddletown Rd.  Road becomes more rolling hills for the first few miles, and then starts descending again to Fiddletown.


Enter Fiddletown (no groceries).  Alternate ride starts here (see printable map for details).  
Turn Right on Tyler Rd. (Road sign points to River Pines)


Road T.  Turn Left on Ostrom Rd
(sign to River Pines partially hidden by brush).


Ostrom Rd veers towards right and leaves Fiddletown.
Rolling hills on Ostrom Rd.  Traffic is moderate to light.


Ostrom Rd ends.  Turn Right on E16 (also known as Shenandoah Rd)


Enter River Pines (groceries available).  Continue straight on E16
(road name becomes Mt. Aukum Rd, but signs still say E16).


Re-enter El Dorado County.


Alternate route (see printable map for details) re-joins this route.  Continue straight on E16.


Pass Omo Ranch Rd.


Turn Right on Fairplay Rd.


End at Pioneer Park.