Fordyce Jeep Trail

5/5 (17 reviews)
Soda Springs, California (Nevada County)
Last Updated: 05/31/2023

Trail Information


High in the Tahoe National Forest, west of Truckee California and just off Interstate 80 lies the Fordyce Jeep Trail; a serious rock crawling trail that will challenge any rig and driver. Fordyce is California mountain rock crawling at its finest. Over 12 miles of sharp, jagged rocky trail twists and turns on its way up from Indian Springs and Eagle Lakes to Meadow Lake at the top of this monster of a trail. Fordyce Jeep Trail runs alongside and crosses Fordyce Creek multiple times, where deep and typically unpredictable water crossings add to the challenge of the huge rock obstacles know as the numbered Winch Hills throughout this trail. Hardcore rock crawling, remote dispersed camping, swimming, fishing, and good ol' 4x4 spectating at Committee can all be found on Fordyce. Experienced wheelers in built rigs will love the challenge and beauty of the Fordyce Jeep Trail, but new wheelers SHOULD NOT ATTEMPT it. This trail is technical and dangerous. Hang-ups, body damage, steering/suspension breakage, rollovers, mechanical breakdowns, engine flooding, you name it, it can happen on Fordyce.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Fordyce is mostly slow going rock trail broken up by large awkward obstacles and fast flowing deep water crossings. The few short sections of easy-going dirt on this trail do not last long. From Driveline Hill to Winch Hill 5, Fordyce Jeep Trail is non-stop rocks. This is a straight-through trail, connecting from the Indian Springs OHV Staging area on the south to Meadow Lake on the north. There is one "early exit route" at Committee, which includes an additional Creek Crossing and a short stretch of steep rocky hill that exit to Fordyce Lake Road. From start to finish, Fordyce Jeep Trail is just over 12 miles of rock crawling as it climbs from about 5,400 feet to over 7,300 feet in elevation. 6 named Winch Hills and 3 deep water crossings are the major obstacles this trail is known for but be prepared for continuous rock crawling throughout the trail. This trail is tough. It is for experienced off-roaders. New drivers should stay away. Forest service trail status Yuba River South MVUM
About the water crossings: The water flow of the creek is measured in CFS (Cubic Feet per Second ). Anything over 300 CFS is considered impassable. The pictures below are at only 45 CFS. The water flow in the creek changes as needed for power generation at the upstream dam operated by PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric). This is typically unpredictable and can drastically change without notice. It is possible to be trapped between water crossings due to a change in flow. Click here for current and past flow rates Once, and only once, a year in August, water is held for the CAL4WHEEL Sierra Trek . Outside of this time, it is upto you to research and judge water crossing dangers.

Trail Reviews

5/5 (17)
Official Crew
Visited: 05/31/2023

Official Crew
Seasonal Closure
Visited: 12/01/2022

Seasonal closure
Official Crew
Visited: 04/01/2022

Visited: 09/19/2021
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Beautiful day out on Fordyce. Only saw 2 other vehicles. We drove in to Pool 1 and back out to the start in a JK Rubicon on 38 Patagonia's. Water flow was very low and the river crossing was very easy.
Official Crew
Visited: 09/15/2021

The Forest Service will end the regional closure order affecting this trail at 11:59 pm on Wednesday, Sept. 15.

From the Community

Start a free trial and get this level of detail on every trail guide
Start Free Trial