Loyalton/Boca Railroad Trail
This is a brand new trail on the Sierraville Ranger District as of April 2014. Most of the trail is still to be developed. It will follow portions of the old railroad grade that connected the town site of Boca to Loyalton. The railroad operated between 1901 and 1916 hauling timber from local mills to the outside world via the Pacific Union Transcontinental Railroad. Two miles of easy walking trail has been completed at this time. The trail is open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrian users.
To reach the trailhead: From Loyalton, take Smithneck Road. Travel approximately 4.2 miles and turn into the County Park on the right side of the road. Note: If you reach the cattle guard and start of the gravel road, you missed the County Park. To the left of the restroom, walk south along the dirt road until you see the wooden footbridge that crosses the creek. This is the start of the trail.
Description: From the footbridge, you climb a short rise to the old railroad grade. Turn left and start heading south away from the county park. You will notice the trail starts within a burn scar from the 1994 Cottonwood Fire that destroyed 40,000 acres of vegetation. Thus the first mile or so of trail has very little shade and may be quite warm to travel on a sunny day. Continuing on, you soon encounter the pine forest again. Willows and aspen outline the creek’s course. Traveling alongside the creek, the gushing water is both relaxing and peaceful. Watch for chipmunks, woodpeckers, deer and other forest creatures.
There are two gates that users will need to open and then close behind them along the trail as cattle may be grazing on the property. After approximately 2 miles, the trail comes out at Alder Creek Road and Smithneck Road. This is currently the end of the trail. As resources become available, additional miles of trail will be added until the entire route of approximately 26 miles is completed. At this point, you can either return to the County Park by the trail or follow Smithneck Creek Road back to your car.
For those that want a bit longer trek to travel, you can continue to follow Smithneck Road south. The countryside is beautiful and Smithneck is one of the county roads less travelled. You can make connections from numerous forest roads off of Smithneck to explore Sardine Peak, Sardine Valley, Stampede Reservoir, or Kyburz Flat to Hwy 89.
At a Glance
|Open Season:||May (depending on snow)|
|Restrictions:||Multi-use trail open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrian users. No motorized vehicles on trail.|
|Closest Towns:||Loyalton and Sierraville|
|Information Center:||Sierraville Ranger District, 317 South Lincoln (Hwy 89), PO Box 95, Sierraville, CA 96126 (530) 994-3401|