There are well known ride areas like Glamis, Hatfield McCoy and Moab. During the riding season, you can expect big crowds, lots of vehicle traffic and very little solitude at the big name spots. If you are looking for an area with just as much riding, even more nature and less people, Bridgeport, California. It’s one of those places just far enough away from civilization that it doesn’t attract huge crowds and the riding is virtually unknown to many.
We accessed the Eastern half of the trail system directly out of the Bridgeport Reservoir Marina & RV Park. Along with direct access to world class fishing or epic scenery, the park has everything for your stay. Most of the over 30 camp spots are right on the shore of the reservoir and bathrooms are available for tent and dry campers, but, full hook sites are available as well.
Each spot is lined with grass, have a fire pit, a table and views of the lake and surrounding mountains. However, the best part of the park is that right across the street is a huge BLM trail system.
If you research the local trails with Yamaha’s Adventure Pro GPS or with the Ride Command App. you can easily see there is plenty of destination rides to take. We set out in search of gold mines and found several along a beautiful 120 mile, day long loop. We actually skirted the famous Bodie Ghost Town by coming up a gnarly King Of The Hammers style trail which brought us to the park’s gate where you can walk in. Part of our trail went along the East Walker River and up to the active Aurora mine site.
Other day rides can take you South to the towns of Mammoth or Bishop, East to Hawthorn, Nevada, up to Smith Valley or near Fallon, Nevada where you can ride portions of the Pony Express OHV Trail. or the BITD Vegas 2 Reno off road race course. Other than the rough section we took into Bodie, most of the trails in this area are good for any sized SXS at any skill level. We should note, that the trails are pretty high in elevation from 6000-9000 feet. These days with EFI, it really only means you will get slightly better fuel economy and you might encounter cold temperatures even in Summer.
The hosts at the Bridgeport Reservoir Marina & RV Park are very welcoming to OHV riders and fisherman alike and if you do both, they have plenty of tips for you along with boat rentals so you can catch dinner. To get to this part of California, you either have to drive up Hwy 395 from the Los Angelas area (6 hours north) or from the central valley, in the Summer (riding season) you can go take Tioga Pass (Hwy 120) through Yosemite National Park then head North on the 395. When you get to Bridgeport, turn right near airport on Hwy 182 and look for lake and the park two miles up on your left.
The Bridgeport Reservoir Marina & RV Park is closed in the Winter and the riding is best during Summer and Fall, when all the snow has been cleared from the high elevation trails. Reservations can be made at (760) 932-7001.