Don’t Drive These Roads in the Winter, Says the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office

Press release from the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office:

Snow on Hwy 511

One Trinity County road near Zenia on January 11. [Provided by a reader]

In the last several weeks the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous calls for service requesting search and rescue teams to assist stranded motorist on rural forest roads connecting Big Bar to Hayfork, Hyampom and Burnt Ranch.

We have also received search and rescue requests to assist stranded motorists on other rural forest road going around the French Creek slide. These roads are National Forest Roads and are not winter maintained for safe travel. Snow, ice and rock slides are not removed from the roadway and are creating dangerous travel conditions.

The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office is requesting citizens to not utilize the listed roads for winter travel; Forest Road #60 (Underwood Mountain Road), Forest Road #16 (Big Creek, Soldier Creek Road), Forest Road #47 (Corral Bottom Road), Forest Road #4 (Big Mountain Road, Iron Side Mountain Road), Big French Creek Road and Route 1 (County Line Road), Forest Road #30 (Wildmad Road) and Forest Road #29 (Bramlett Road).A



  • These are likely people trying to get around the 299 closure.

    • Yep. I blame a lot of it on GPS devices and online mapping services. They tell you there’s a road you can take, without telling you that you shouldn’t take it.

      • I disagree. People need to use their own judgement and not rely on GPS.

        Vehicles come in a wide range of capabilities and their owners maintain and equip them differently.

        A well equipped AWD Subaru might make it through where a poorly maintained 4×4 SUV without chains may not.

        • Honeydew Bridge Chump

          Not on Big Bar to Hayfork!

          The snow will be so deep it will be above a Subaru hood.

          FS Road 10 is the same way. You need treads on a quad to pass.

          The road to Big Bar has a chevron chopper landing zone and works great in the summer, but to travel that this time of year is asking to leave your ride there until the end of April.

          • Black Rifles Matter

            44″ tires with chains and a reliable winch got us over. But us Down River boys do that kind of stuff for fun.

      • Also, many people get in over their heads because they rely on using their cellphone if they get they get stuck. They don’t realize AAA won’t cover recovery on dirt or gravel roads.

    • Ya think? Common sense works wonders in danger situations. ‘DANGER AHEAD’, wow, let me think about that……

  • I talked to the TCSO officer in charge of the SAR team. He said two weeks ago he pulled 5 people off the underwood mountain road. Gps gives out-of-towners that route around the slide. Locals know better than to venture the forest service roads this time of year.

    • The Forest Service has asked the GPS company Garmin (since they own De Lorme now as well) to look into a warning on some of these roads in the winter that a GPS could read. They wont do it unless the County Sheriff notifies them to make these changes…and Trinity County SO hasn’t wanted any part of it. So, more people will follow GPS, and get stuck…while the TCSO has to go rescue them…

  • Alot folks think they can make it.not a smart move.listen to the road specialists.please don’t risk your life or others.just pay attention to advice given.✌

  • You can make it no prob what do they know!

  • Are there warning signs posted on these roads that they are not plowed in the winter?

  • CnD Not to mention the fact that there’s only one cell phone carrier in the area (Verizon) and even that service is spotty to non-existent. Modern technology sort of stops with the power line. No power lines, no service (not worth putting up relay towers in the middle of a national forest, not to mention the cost of permits, etc).
    People are so used to ‘civilization’ they forget big pieces of it end when the pavement stops.

    As far as warning signs: They’re USFS roads. If you look on a map (the old fashioned kind, best gotten from the USFS) the roads are marked as unimproved and not maintained.
    Can you go to Google maps and ‘drive’ the road? Then you can’t count on the road even being there.
    I’m sure if you look at the USFS website it will tell you that anyone who drives on USFS roads is responsible for observing all the laws and precautions, etc.
    And I think that there are probably people who’ve bought a 4×4 and think they can go anywhere. I can remember people taking their new toy down to Big Rock (Willow Creek) in the summer and in their wheeling around got stuck. Auto Club doesn’t cover stupidity. There was an older man, old rancher and very smart. Younger ones didn’t pay much attention to him but when they were stuck he’d come out in his old truck (not 4×4) but with a positraction rear end and low gears and he’d offer to pull them out fro $50. They’d laugh at him so he’d say, OK, double or nothing. They’d bite, he’d hook them up and pull their rig out of the mess they’d gotten it into, pocket $100 and drive of…until the next foods got stuck. If you knew him, he’d tell you he loves stupidity as long as it’s someone else’s. And he and his wife (her biscuits and gravy were legendary) lived on a sensible budget so when he’d had his fun showing the disrespecting ‘youngsters’ what for, he go home and give the money to his wife and tell her he’d had his fun, now she could have some fun with the money.

  • It seems like caltrans could have spent a bit of the 5 million they are putting into the detour and run a plow truck up and over Underwood and Corral Bottom once a day. That route is paved the whole way. Limit it to non-commercial rigs under 10k# gvw.

    I know the roads are county and USFS, but a little common sense and applied resources go a long ways.

    • So you would approve of your state tax dollars being spent on federal roads. This alternate route takes SN hour to drive in good conditions and is one lane and no visibility in many locations. Not a good place for a snow plow!

      • Yes. It is not one lane. No center line, but not one lane. Running a truck through once or twice a day would cost chump change compared to the amount they are spending on the slide. I have driven this route many times. A snow plow and oncoming vehicle would be fine through most of it; after all it was built to carty logging trucks.

        What is SN?

    • I think the guy who plows Hennessy, burnt ranch, underwood (the bottoms anyways) is a retired guy. Idk? Thanks guy, retired or not.

  • guest lmao great photo

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