Sycamore Springs Trail is a 9.5 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Balch Camp, California that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for off road driving and is best used from May until November.
off road driving
Very dry in July, saw no-one else here. 9.2 mile loop trail.
I enjoyed the route to the South (taking a right at the entrance) since that trail went along a ridge and you could see Pine Flat Lake in the distance. There were some really nice views. Not challenging in my 1990 Montero with 29.5" tires.
I did not even think about using 4x4 since it was almost all dry dirt. The trail has not been maintained, as there is significant over-growth after about 4 miles going the counter-clockwise direction.
There was a tree tunnel that is impassible without chopping some very thick tree branches, so I had to turn around and head back.
Going clock-wise from the entrance is too hard and rough. The terrain is really bumpy with small rocks which makes an unpleasant ride. I was exhausted from the bumps after a mile, I couldn't take it anymore. It would have been bearable if I deflated tires to +-20 PSI but I had so many more trails to explore I didn't want to waste the time.
Nothing about the trail really challenged my rig, except when going off the main trail to a side trail along the South trail that is next to the ridge. I could feel my skid plates underneath me working for 1 or 2 of the packed dirt mounds climbing up along the cliff edge.
Staying on the main trail, any 2-wheel drive high clearance vehicle could go as far as I did. No mud in July. Although I can see where there used to be a mud pit, probably a lot of fun earlier in the year.
I would do it again if I was in the area, but it's so isolated on 10S69 unless you are passing through, there are probably better trails near Shaver Lake.
This is really a trail used primarily by PG&E. From what the PG&E guys who had to come and help us out said, this trail gets progressively worse every year. It was pretty bad. We ran it stock and there are quite a few very technical areas...if you can...pick something else...or make sure that it's very dry (we got stuck in a downhill creek).