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Barrel Springs Back Country Byway

Trail Uses
Utv/jeep driving Atv riding Dirt biking
Nevada County (CA), Washoe County
222.00 miles (Network)
License Required
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This beautiful byway allows visitors to see the beauty of California and Nevada's mountains without the need for an Off-Highway Vehicle!
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The main backcountry byway is for LICENSED VEHICLES ONLY. All of the Byway is paved in California and improved gravel roads in Nevada. The Nevada segments can be driven by all types of vehicles when the route is dry, but may require high-clearance vehicles during wet seasons. Please stop by the Surprise Field Office in Cedarville for current road conditions.

From prehistoric stories to revisiting the Old West, this Back Country Byway Loop reveals some of the secrets of the Great Basin Desert. This distinctive 93-mile driving tour takes the traveler through a wide variety of natural settings and points of interest. The Byway forms a loop that begins and ends in Cedarville, California and takes a minimum of three hours without stops. But travelers will be tempted to stop, particularly if they are using the 32-page BLM Byway Tour Guide which tells the historic and prehistoric stories of the Surprise Valley, points out the myriad of attractions in the state line mountains (from fossils and a pictograph site to wildlife) and reveals some of the secrets here in the silent Great Basin dessert. Be sure to take your camera, especially if you’re crossing the highway causeway across Surprise Valley’s Middle Lake at sunset.

Trails are closed during winter and spring due to mud and snow. 

Other Information

Trails in this posting also include adjacent off-road trails and dirt roads which are open to OHV use. Please respect private property and travel responsibly. 

Nearby services are located in Cedarville, Ca. 

For an in depth history on Surprise Valley, read through the BLM pamphlet before heading out!

Trail Manager

For more information visit the BLM website or contact:

Bureau of Land Management - Surprise Field Station

Bureau of Land Management - Surprise Field Station
602 Cressler Street
Cedarville, California 96104
Phone: (530) 279-6101
View website

Bureau of Land Management -Applegate Field Office

Bureau of Land Management -Applegate Field Office
BLM Applegate Field Office
708 W. 12th St.

Alturas, California 96101
Phone: 530-233-4666
View website


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Trailhead Information

From Cedarville, California:

  • Take Highway 299 from downtown Cedarville and follow designated route East.

From Vya, Washoe County, Nevada:

  • Follow County Road 8A West and follow designated route.
Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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