Sawyers Bar Road

Sawyers Bar Road, a 3,713 feet drop in 12 miles of snaketrack, using 1st gear

Sawyers Bar Road is a stunning road in the Klamath National Forest, in Northern California, USA. The drive includes a 3,713 feet drop in 12 miles of snaketrack, using 1st gear. Brakes are just not suitable for that long of an incline. One of the best rides in California, without a doubt. 

The road links Etna, a small town in Siskiyou County and Forks of Salmon, an unincorporated community of Siskiyou County, situated at the confluence of the north and south forks of the Salmon River. Exercise extreme caution when passing on-coming traffic, over-taking and around corners.

The most challenging part of the road runs between Etna Summit (5960') and Sawyers Bar (2247'). You’ll do a pretty big climb on a pretty straight road, but past the summit the road gets smaller, prettier, and windier and stays that way. The drop down the back side touches 18%. The experience of using this road is very impressive. Sawyers Bar Road is totally paved now. Some years ago, the road had some gravel sections. The road is very rough and mostly one lane. The speed is very slow most of the way, like 10-15mph. The road is really remote and almost no services are available. It can get bloody hot on summer afternoons. Sound horn on all blind curves. Not recommended for campers, trailers, or drivers inexperienced in mountain driving. No services for 40 miles. The road is usually deserted. The road surface is very good. The scenery is stunning and the riding is constantly changing. 

This is really a spectacular little road. The road follows the North Fork of the Salmon River as it narrows and gets even twistier. There is a serious drop off to the left. About 500 feet straight down. Sawyers Bar Road is 39.8 miles long. The road is winding, in some places only wide enough for one vehicle, and in many places bordered by a drop of hundreds of meters (many hundreds of feet) unprotected by guardrails. It is mostly one to one and a half lanes wide, and after the summit of Etna mountains follows the river valley about half way up the hill. On one side is the mountain and on the other a dropoff, many times quite steep and sheer, to the river below. There are many places where the ground under the road is eroding away and there is a little plastic marker indicating the drop off.
Road suggested by: William Hunt

 

 

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NOTICE: Due to the spread of COVID-19, many points of interest and roads are closed and travel is not recommended. Please follow all local health authority directives before venturing off, and stay safe.