Cool / Coloma Region

This area is rich in history - Coloma is where gold was discovered along the American River in 1848.  The news of this discovery lead to the Gold Rush of '49 - and eventually lead to California's statehood.  Coloma is well worth exploring when visiting.  Cool is slightly to the north of Coloma, and higher in elevation (1500' versus 760').  Most of this area documented below is rural and below 2500 feet elevation.  As such, it can be very warm in the summer, so plan your rides accordingly (start early if it's going to be a warm day).  

Time to Ride:  Most of these rides can be ridden year round.  However as noted above, summers can be very warm - even hot - so if you're planning a ride here- especially on the warmer summer days -  it may be best to start early in the morning.  This especially applies to any ride that includes Prospectors Road whose climb is stiff and has very little shade.

As a general rule of thumb, rides tend to average about 10-14 miles per hour.  Climbing overall is approximately 100 feet/mile (so a 20 mile ride has about 2000 feet total climbing).

Rides in this area include:

Coloma_Thompson_Hill_Loop (13 miles)  Although the distance is relatively short, there is more climbing per mile than most other rides listed - which is why it borders on the difficult rating. Don't let that discourage you though. Thompson Hill Rd is a wonderful scenic road with little traffic, and makes all the climbing worth while. The climb up Lotus Rd is stiff, but it gives you breaks, and the shoulder is wide here. Only downside to this ride is the relatively short section on Cold Springs Rd which can have moderate to high traffic. 

Placerville_Prospectors_Grade_Chili_Bar_Loop (29 miles)  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) is still stiff, but is not nearly as difficult as compared to Prospectors Grade. 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. 

Coloma_Georgetown_Cool_Loop (28 - 32 miles) This ride is also known as the "Georgetown Grunt", but don't let the name discourage you.  It's a beautiful ride, and the most difficult climbing is completed in the first 3 miles.  After that, it's mostly rolling hills - with one moderate climb the last mile to Georgetown.  If riding during the hot summer months, best to start the ride in the morning - as Prospectors Road has very little shade - and very few breaks during the climb.  The town of Georgetown is absolutely delightful and well worth the time to explore.  The town of Cool has restaurants, a deli and a grocery store... a good place to stop before the final 10 miles on Highway 49 back to the starting point. The main ride is the 32 mile one that goes through Georgetown.  If short on time, you can shave off 4 miles by going on Greenwood Road and bypassing Georgetown.

Salmon_Falls_Lotus_Green_Valley_Loop (42 - 45 miles) This is a great Winter or Spring time ride, though it can be throughout the year. Salmon Falls Rd is narrow, but beautiful. The climb from Salmon Falls Recreation Area up to Pilot Hill is stiff, but the scenery keeps you going. Groceries are available in Coloma, Rescue and (if taking Alternate 1 path) Cameron Park. The other route (Alternate 2) is 4 miles longer and takes you on quieter roads bypassing Cameron Park.

Comparative Elevation Profiles:

Coloma_Thompson_Hill_Loop




Placerville_Prospectors_Grade_Chili_Bar_Loop




Coloma_Georgetown_Cool_Loop




Salmon_Falls_Lotus_Green_Valley_Loop