Cycling Mr. Frog's Long Hill Route
What is Mr. Frog’s Long bicycle ride through the Northern California Foothills really like?
We have to be honest. It’s a challenging bicycle ride. Give yourself 6-8 hours to finish this wild ride as you burn through eight Category 5 hill climbs, one Category 4, and one Category 2.
The Northern California foothills have some gnarly hills. Cycling out of Murphys, you’ll descend into and climb out of several steep creek canyons, then steadily ascend into Sheep Ranch. The creeks will be flowing with all of this year’s Sierra snowmelt, and the wildflowers will be in full bloom. Along the way you’ll have views north into the hills and west into the California Central Valley. Yes, the road is rough in patches and alternates with freshly paved tarmac, but there are no gravel sections, and no bicycle-swallowing potholes.
In Sheep Ranch, a historic California gold mining town, stop at the first rest stop and take a few moments to bicycle one block into the downtown and look around. Head back towards the rest stop to find the route.
After Sheep Ranch, nearly all the road is freshly paved and smooth. But that doesn’t mean the hill climbs won’t give you a work out. You’ll cycle through deep forested valleys and wind along the recovering burn scar of the Butte Fire, then ride along a ridge line that overlooks the California Central Valley. Don’t blink as you pass the historic original Mountain Ranch and the cute little town of Calaveritas.
There’s a bit of rough road on Dogtown, but it smooths out soon, and you’ll skirt the backroads of Angels Camp to ascend Murphys Grade Road and return to Murphys.
This is rural country. Few houses and fewer businesses line the roads. But we’ll have three sag wagons in case you need assistance, and the Calaveras Amateur Radio Society will be monitoring the ride.
Mr. Frogs is a fundraiser for Feeney Park in Murphys, a community resource managed and supported solely by volunteers.
Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride and Feeney Park are hopping with gratitude to Adventist Health Sonora for their donation of $1000. $500 goes to support Mr. Frog’s bicycle ride through the Northern California foothills, and $500 is earmarked in support of maintaining and supporting Feeney Park in Murphys.
Adventist Health Sonora is working in partnership with the Blue Zones Project. Their goal is to encourage community change to promote better health through outdoor recreation. Which makes sponsorship of Mr. Frog’s bicycle event a perfect fit; you’ll find information about them at the fourth rest stop and at the Feeney Park on the day of the event.
Their contribution is so very welcome. Feeney park, a community recreation resource in Murphys, California, relies entirely on the hard work of volunteers and the generous donations from the community to cover its expenses. “It costs more than $5000 for just seed to reseed the playing fields and keep them playable," said Susan Lyneis, Feeney Park Foundation treasurer. Countless kids have played on the fields of Feeney Park over the years, and the grass takes a beating. Adventist Health Sonora’s contribution will literally help keep the fields green.
Feeney Park Foundation thanks Adventist Health Sonora for their contribution.
If you’d like to sponsor Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride and Feeney Park, please go to
https://www.mrfrogswildride.org/be-a-sponsor.html and download a sponsorship form.
Easy-ish Northern California Sierra Bicycle Ride
Mr. Frog's Wild Ride
Saturday, May 6
7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Feeney Park, Murphys
Bicycling in Calaveras County, or anywhere in the Northern California Sierra can be a joy, but it can also be a challenge. Early this year Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride, a bicycle event with a choice of three rides of varying difficulties, ran into one of those challenges. A scouting trip along San Domingo Road found that the short cycling route through the valley had degraded during rough winter storms, with portions of the road washed out or heavily rutted. “It’s still a beautiful route,” said Maggie Sloan, communications director and registration manager for the ride. “But it’s probably not safe for a bicycle event like Mr. Frogs.”
Instead, ride organizers Susan Lyneis and Pete Maurer opted to design a new short route that skipped the rough patches of San Domingo and offered a more cycling-friendly route through the Northern California foothills. According to Lyneis, the new route is “close to town but it feels far away.”
Mr. Frog's Wild new short bicycle route
Starting at Feeney Park in Murphys in Calaveras County, cyclists on the short route will bicycle through some of Northern California's prettiest countryside, past vineyards and historical sites, and glide through oak forests and meadows. You'll head out Six Mile Road then turn around and cycle back through town. From Murphys you’ll descend Murphys Grade Road to French Gulch Road which will loop you back to Murphys and Feeney Park in time for lunch by chef Laura Lowell of Vida Buena Farms.
Maurer, who also participates in the ride, added, “The best part and the reason we chose it is because it’s got good pavement and not a lot of traffic. It’s all pretty nice. The roads have been recently repaved. It’s got enough hills to be challenging—it will be interesting enough and challenging for all riders.”
Lyneis pointed out that this shorter route is perfect for those with electric assist bikes. In fact, Pedego Electric Bikes in Elk Grove have offered 25% off rental fees of their e-bikes for all participants in Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride. Those who are interested should call 916/829-2813 to arrange a rental.
The longer rides have not changed. Cyclists on the challenging 43- and 55-mile routes will traverse remote routes on a variety of road surfaces, heart-thumping climbs and winding descents on back roads that emphasize the wildness of Mr. Frog’s Ride.
SAG wagons will be available to rescue worn-out cyclists on all routes. The climbs in the Northern California foothills are no joke. Bicyclists should honestly assess their capabilities, and then, once on the road, ride slowly and enjoy yourself. It’s a ride, not a race. Along the way, you'll find fully-stocked rest stops; restrooms will be available. Riders should be off the course by 3 p.m.
A fundraiser for Feeney Park—a community resource managed and supported solely by volunteers—Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride relies on the community to make this a successful event. Volunteers will be needed for everything from check-in, to food prep, to ride safety. Please contact Board member Susan Lyneis at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can help.
Mr. Frog's is a small ride that's got a community feel and a fabulous lunch. Register in advance for Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride online so that you can start your ride early on Saturday. You can also register Friday May 6 from 5 to 7 p.m., or on the day of the event between 7 and 8:45 a.m.
However you choose to participate—as a cyclist or a volunteer—you’re bound to have a wonderful, wild time!
San Domingo Road route will be changed
Sadly, the short ride through the San Domingo valley has to be rerouted due to storm damage from the series of atmospheric rivers that roared through the Northern California Foothills and Sierra this winter . The damage makes the route unsafe for bicycles.
I drove the San Domingo route last week partly because I wanted to see it again; I am in love with the land, creek and canyon. I think it’s one of the prettiest parts of the Northern California Foothills. I also wanted to make sure it was safe for bicycles. I was heartbroken by what I found, it is no longer a safe route for our bicycle event. In places the road base was gone and rocks poked through the mud like the bones of California. In other places I drove through deep mud. And in one place chunks of paving were simply gone. While I think it would be fun for a mountain or gravel bicycle, we can’t recommend it for Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride.
We're working on a new short bicycle route that captures the beauty of Calaveras County, with some historic sites. Watch this space as we will have details soon.
Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride is a fundraising bicycle event to support Feeney Park in Murphys, Calaveras County, in Northern California. Register today!
If you bicycle in Northern California's Highway 4 corridor in Calaveras County, or if you play baseball, soccer, disc golf, or you skateboard, we invite the community to attend our annual meeting on Monday January 30 at 6:00 p.m. at 37 Jones Street in Murphys. (The Murphys Fire Training Center)
Feeney Park is entirely community managed and supported. It’s your park! Come to our annual meeting and get involved, and keep recreation alive in the Northern California Foothills of Calaveras County
Meanwhile, scroll through this post to see all that Feeney Park offers the community of Murphys. Recreation in the Northern California Foothills has never been so fun!
Welcome to Feeney Park in Murphys California, the place where you can play baseball, disk golf, soccer, and other games in Northern California Sierra Nevada foothills.
Play some baseball in the Sierra Nevada Foothills in Feeney Park. There's plenty of recreation opportunities.
Enjoy Feeney Park at the Murphys Gold Rush Street Faire & Grape Stomp, a great way to enjoy Calaveras County.
Feeney Park family nights include family-friendly movies. What better way to spend hot summer night?
And of course, there's Mr. Frog's Wild Ride, a fun and challenging bicycle event that takes you through the Northern California Foothills and Up-Country. You'll find hill climbs, gorgeous scenery, and a fantastic professionally prepared lunch.
We'd be the first to admit: Riding your bicycle over the hills and byways of Northern California's Central Sierra, especially in the Mother Lode, isn't always easy. Mr. Frog's Wild Ride, with over 6,000 feet in elevation gain on the 55-mile ride can be especially challenging.
Fortunately, Mr. Frog's Wild Ride welcomes, and in fact, encourages e-bikes. Anything to help you enjoy the backroads of Calaveras County. You'll fall in love with the Sierra Foothills and upcountry. Northern California's Mother Lode was made for cycling!
Ask Santa this holiday for a e-bike, or maybe just a new bicycle. To help the old guy out, a wealth of bike shops in Calaveras County–Mountain Aloha in Avery, Bear Valley Bicycles in Arnold, and Mountain Pedaler in Angels Camp– will assist you in ordering e-bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, or any other kind of bike you might want.
Sign up for Mr. Frog's! It's wild. It's fun. Bicycling through Northern California's Mother Lode and Sierra Nevada never felt so great!
Plan for success on a wild bicycle ride from Murphys through Northern California's Sierra Nevada
Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare for your bicycle event in Murphys, California. Northern California rural routes through Calaveras County can be challenging to bicycle, and you don’t want to chance spoiling your ride if your bicycle breaks down, or you are cold, tired, and hungry.
Nine ways to prepare for a bicycle event in Northern California.
1. Register at www.mrfrogswildride.org
2. Download and print a map from our website
3. Check your bike.
5. Bring a water bottle. It’s easy to dehydrate in the Sierra Foothills and Up-Country
6. Don’t forget your helmet! It’s required.
7. Get a good night’s sleep and eat a good breakfast. Mr. Frog’s is a challenging ride. You’ll want to be well-rested and well-nourished.
8. Plan to start the course early. Mr. Frog’s is a challenging ride through gorgeous country. You won’t want to hurry, so give yourself plenty of time.
9. Have Fun!
Bicycle some of the best of Calaveras in the rural California Foothills
Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride has three route options to challenge and enchant bicycle riders. The shortest, the San Domingo Road route is only 21 miles, but you’ll bicycle through some of the best of rural Calaveras County and the California foothills.
After a short ride from Feeney Park through the sweet neighborhoods of Murphys, you’ll bicycle out Sheep Ranch Road. Just downhill from Mercer Caverns, you’ll make a left turn to catch San Domingo Road.
San Domingo Road comprises gravel, dirt, and old funky paving, making this an exciting ride for adventurous cyclists on mountain bikes or road bikes, and even e-bikes. It's just rough enough to keep your attention, but smooth enough you should have no problems.
The narrow, rarely traveled back road descends through gorgeous territory. You’ll cycle through the historic Stevenot Vineyards (now the Rorick Heritage Vineyards) tucked into San Domingo Valley, but soon the road becomes more wild.
You’ll pass under ancient oak forests and through untouched rangeland. Occasionally you’ll see the remnants of houses and barns, but mostly it will be just you, other cyclists, and a few wild turkeys or squirrels. Be aware that cell phone service is spotty along Calaveras County’s back country roads.
Recharge with water and snacks at the rest stop on the corner of San Domingo Road and Dogtown Road before you start climbing out of the San Domingo Creek valley. The ascent is worth it as you crest the ridge and vistas open up to the west. Take some time to take in the view. It’s amazing.
Dogtown Road gradually becomes more civilized. You’ll pass ranches and farms, then residential neighborhoods on the outskirts of Angels Camp. A sharp left at Country Lane will take you under Highway 4, to the high school where you'll turn left onto Murphys Grade Road.
Murphys Grade Road is the back road return to Murphys. It’s wide, well paved, and used by locals, so be aware of cars and trucks on the road. You’ll be climbing nearly the whole way through range land and up a forested valley along Angels Creek. Watch for the historic wooden File Flume that carries water to Angels Camp.
You’ll finish your ride through Murphys historic downtown back to Feeney Park, where barbecue and music await.