Quad-ATV Riding the Alder Creek / Morrison Area
The Alder Creek Area is a great ATV-quad trip when the snow is melted off the roads and when the water in the creeks slow down as you will have to cross the creeks in a few places. The elevation runs from about 5,000 to around 7,000 feet and takes in some beautiful scenery.
Directions from Hwy 50 East at Pollock Pines, CA:
From Pollock Pines take Sly Park Rd.( E 16 ) south to just past Jenkinson Lake (also known as Sly Park Lake) then your first Left on Mormon Immigrant Trail (also known as Iron Mountain Rd. )then drive across the dams and then about 15 miles or so to the sign on the left right after Piliken Rd. that reads Light Canyon Rd. Turn Left on Light Canyon Rd. and drive about one mile until you hit a nice open area – that’s where you want to stage.
You will start the trip by riding your quad down Light Canyon Road just a tad then turn left onto 10 N 41. Drive about 5 or 6 miles till you see a left turn going across a creek with a new bridge over it but go right instead on 10 N 40 up the hill. Up at the top of the hill and to your left there will be a great view overlooking the American River Canyon and down on Hwy 50. As you continue on the road will start heading up the Alder Creek Canyon to you left. As you keep traveling up 10 N 40 keep veering towards your left until you merge onto Light Canyon Road again and head down to Alder Creek. This is where you will cross Alder Creek. Do not cross if you think the water is too deep. I was in about a foot of water and it started to push me down the creek. Be careful! If you are able to cross the creek you will want to go left onto 11 N 46. Just go up around the corner to the right and then the corner to the left and you will see a road to the left. Take that road down to Ora Springs. It’s a nice spot for a break and a drink of pure mountain spring water and to fill a water bottle. Next you will want to check out the waterfalls along Alder Creek Rd ( 11 N 46 ). For this you will have to go back to the road you turned off of to drive down to the spring ( 11 N 46 ). Turn right and go back the way you came but stay on 11 N 46 and pass the way you came in on through the creek. Drive for a mile or two till the road forks. Take the fork to the right down the hill and through the little creek at the bottom. You are still on 11 N 46. Continue riding over the hill and then you will be heading through the Morrison Cattle Camp. Drive through this area slowly because this is private property and is a beautiful small working ranch, so be courteous and don’t tear things up. After you ride through Morrison keep heading straight up the hill. You will be traveling on the left side of Alder Creek for about a mile. As you are riding up the road the waterfalls are where the rock outcroppings are. There are no signs for it so you have to keep your eyes peeled. If you want to see the great big balanced boulder and some more small waterfalls continue up 11 N 46 a little ways and you will come to a wide intersection in the road with a turn to your left. This road is 10 N 39 or Carpenter Creek Rd.. Travel up this road a few miles and you will find the big balanced boulder to your right just before you cross Alder Creek. Traveling on, you will cross the creek and then turn left then up a ways and you will see the small waterfalls to your left. If I could name these falls I would name them Broken Slabs Falls. The water in Alder Creek slows down through the summer so there is a short time when you can see the waterfalls at their best flows. You can also access 10 N 46 ( Alder Creek road ) directly off Iron Mountain Rd. to see the waterfall if the water in Alder Creek is to high.
Have a great day being one with your quad!
This ride is not compliant with the Eldorado National Motor Vehicle Restrictions Map because there are dirt and gravel roads on this trip that the map shows as (for Highway Legal Vehicles Only).