Start in Placerville Ca on U.S.50 head east, toward S. Lake Tahoe, about 22 miles and as soon as you cross the American River make a left on Ice House Rd. Ice house Rd. winds up and thru Crystal Basin past Ice House and Union Valley Reservoirs.This road is maintained year round and is well marked. Follow Ice House Rd about 20 miles to Wentworth Springs Rd and turn left to Georgetown. You can continue on Ice House Rd about 5miles to Loon Lake (optional and beautiful). Continue West on Wentworth Springs Rd for 15 mile to Georgetown. Once you get to Georgetown, at the end of Old Town make a left on HWY 193 and you will take that south down to HWY 49 where you turn left and take 49 back to Placerville. Note: if you want to take a bit of a longer trip you can take a right on HWY 193 in Georgetown and you'll see the Gold Rush discovery site of Coloma discussed in the Scenery section below. If you go this way just take a left when you run into HWY 49 which will take you all the way south down to Placerville.
Starting from Historic Placerville headed east is a well maintained 4 lane HWY the heads into the mountain along a ridge that overlooks south to Sonora Ca and then along the American River. The HWY is lined with tall Pines and Cedars. The fist part of Ice House Rd is mostly new growth trees due to fire 35yrs ago. Beautiful views of the American River Canyon as you go North.Once you get over the ridge it becomes forest and there is easy access to any of the reservoirs. Watch for animals, mostly squirrels, but I have seen bear wandering on the road before. It is worth it to go up to Loon Lake. This is the northwestern edge of Desolation Wilderness, lots of granite at an elevation of 6300ft. Its all forest until you get to Georgetown then it turn to ranches with Oaks and rolling hills. You will pass thru the Gold Rush discovery site of Coloma if you decide to take HWY 193 right (north) out of Georgetown. and this follows in part the American River again.
At the start you'll have smooth curvy HWY up hill at first then curvy and down into the American River canyon. Once on Ice House Rd. it quickly becomes up hill and windy 2 lane rd. The road surface is usually clean and in really good condition. The road mellows out once at the top but remains a curvy road. Wentworth Springs Rd is a 5. Its smooth and FAST. Watch for CHP because they patrol all those roads.
Leave Placerville with a full tank and some bottled water. in the summer it can be hot. There are a couple of places for gas up there but they are unreliable. There are also a few watering holes that are off the the road on side roads and there are signs for two that i know of. Beverage and gas available in Georgetown and in Cool on Hwy49
Motorcycle Road Additional info
During the weekend the road tends to be busy but still a nice road. During the week it is patrolled by CHP.
Just did this loop last weekend (mid-March 2014). Awesome views, some great places to stop (if you're so inclined) and just twisty enough to keep it interesting without turning into work. Take the time to stop at Uncle Tom's Cabin and let Robert tell you about the history of the place while you enjoy a beverage. Great ride...
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3 riders found this road review useful
January 22, 2012
0 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Touring
This is a great day ride in either direction!
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2 riders found this road review useful
May 19, 2017
2 McR Points
Motorcycle Type : Other
Travelled this loop after Mosquito Road was washed out. Connected to Georgetown Hwy via Rock Creek Road. The vistas into Nelson Canyon and the South Fork American River were jaw dropping and a little sphincter tightening. Wentworth Springs Road still had snow near Ice House Road (15 May 2017). Highly recommended!
NOTE: Wentworth Springs Road has been repaved since the fires. Slides and debris were easily managed.