After the trail(s) to Shingle Falls, this is one of my favorite loops in the Spenceville area. The lookout site offers a sweeping view of the Wildlife Area and down to Sutter Buttes in the Central Valley beyond Marysville. To the southwest as Bear River breaks from the foothills into the Central Valley lies Camp Far West Reservoir. In the spring I always see a few California Poppies as well as other wildflower varieties. The site is a must place for a break and contemplating how lucky we are to live around here.
...one of my favorite loops in the Spenceville area.
...Spring Plot Pond. The pond is an easy, worthwhile detour, and if you catch the light just right, worth several pictures.
1.1 miles to lookout site, 2.9 miles to junction with Upper Jones Bar Trail, or 4.5 miles total loop back using Nichols Road; moderate; elevations: 340’-790’-650’-340’; 3 hours; tread old road or wide, mostly smooth single-track.
After following up the bottom of the Nichols Road for a couple hundred feet above the Spenceville Road, the un-signed lookout road takes off to the right. The steady, modest climb to the hilltop follows a gated, old administrative road.
After leaving the lookout site, the trail becomes single-track, drops and then climbs slightly until it reaches the junction with the Upper Jones Pond Trail (at this point read “firebreak.)” and eastern boundary of the Wildlife Area. The next ½ mile the “trail” follows the firebreak along the boundary fence. The trail is more pathway than trail.
You’ll hit the Nichols Road (administrative use only) in a large meadow to the east of Spring Plot Pond. The pond is an easy, worthwhile detour, and if you catch the light just right, worth several pictures.
The Nichols Road is a gentle descent back to the starting point. Shortly above and to the right (east) of meeting the Spenceville Road again, it is a pleasant detour to follow one of several users or cow trails over to Wood Duck Pond #1. The pond is one of the larger ones in the WA and full of warm water fish.
At the bottom of the loop a stout metal gate blocks Nichols Road and requires scrambling over the top. To the east, inside of the fence along the Spenceville Road is a people/horse gate that connects immediately across the main road from the primitive campsite.
From the east and Grass Valley: Drive 12.5 miles via Highway 20 west of the Highway 49/Highway 20 intersection in Grass Valley. Continue to the black-topped Beale Air Force Base road (Hammonton Road). Turn left (south) and drive 3.8 miles to Smartville Road. Turn left again (south) on the blacktopped road and drive 1.8 miles to graveled Waldo Road. Follow south until cross the Waldo Bridge and then left again onto Spenceville Road. Trailhead parking and a small camping site, just before it, lies another 2.3 miles. Park near the old concrete bridge or in the primitive camping site.
From the west and Marysville: Follow Highway 20 towards Grass Valley and east as it climbs into the Sierra Foothills. After 15 miles turn right (south) onto the Beal Air Force Base road (Hammanton Road). After leaving the highway follow the directions above.
Mostly old road or rustic, gravel road with a little singletrack trail.
Delightfull on a day with clear skies and unlimited viewing. Use the Nichols Road to make this a loop.