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Level: Intermediate
Length: 15 mi (24.1 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +856/ -1,008 ft
Total: 26 riders

Mountain Biking Arcata Community Forest

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#272 of 1,003 mountain bike trails in California
#3,412 in the world

This is multi-use and the only time I've blasted it was during the annual 12 Hours of Humboldt race, so it was closed to other users. Certainly it is prone to have objectionable events occur amongst the plethora of raccoon people whom intermittently step out of the ferns in their skewed ranting stewardship kind of way.

The trails are constantly expanding and it is a combo of fire trails and single track, with new single track coming into play every year. http://www.cityofarcata.org/images/stories/arcata_community_forest_trails_map_6-9-2008.pdf

The locals talk in terms of trail number..and #3 is the start climb for the race and a good point to go...500ft in .5 miles, but it will set you up for more moderate climbs and fun downhills runs. The canopy is made of ancient redwoods and a carpeting of ferns...one rider called it best ...MTBing into a huge salad bowl. The single track is nice, tight and flowing, the fire trails that connect them are in great condition with some gravel spread for erosion control. Plenty of turns that will have a reducing radius ...so if your bombing be ready to cross it up. Many of the single tracks will be at 90 degrees to the fire trail and the vegetation is so think that you'll miss them if you aren't riding with local knowledge or a race arrow.

The temp under the canopy is pretty constant and with a high level of cool humidity. Tire selection isn't so important as the trails are mostly humus.

On race day the range of tires were from Small block 8s to 2.35 Rampages.

Any water crossings are accomplished on narrow bridges.

This trail network will have me coming back to this corner of Ca fro endurance racing for years to come.

As always, show courtesy and respect to the other trail users and they'll reciprocate.

First added by Suvacrew on Aug 25, 2009. Last updated May 2, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
This trail network is on the east side of downtown Arcata and just East of Humboldt State University. Entry into the Park is at the East End of 14th st and or 13th street. There are also access points along Park Ave and Fickle Hill rd.


Nice grassy park with facilities. Plenty of..dare I say..the contingent of tie dyed, dred draped, patchouli wearing individuals with the smoke rising from the circles of guitar strummers and bongo beaters, but they are harmless in most cases, in awe of your bike(s) and desire to climb the hills and will gladly converse and give directions.
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cjsutterer (on May 30, 2019)
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Good (on May 27, 2019)
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  • cjsutterer

    I had so much fun catching some air time on the new jump trail! Learning new tricks!

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  • aisling

    Easy roads to shake the legs out with some sustained uphill travel. There are a few true single tracks throughout the forest with signs designating which use is permitted. It is a great community asset and if you are traveling the coast this is worth riding into and enjoying the beautiful forest. Beauty is a 5, technicality a1/ 2, and fitness a 2/3.

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  • filmboi

    My favorite place to ride. Love the trails, particularly in early morning fog or in the misty rain. This also keeps others away away and you have the trails more to yourself. The beauty also can't be beat while riding here. The trails are easy and and not technical, and to me that is just fine. Some people forget that you always don't need to be pushing your skills while riding, you can also get great enjoyment form just getting out and riding to take in the beauty that is around you.

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  • John Fuller

    Not a great trail system, their are alot of people using it, many of which don't want bikers out there. Not to mention the trails have very little "flow" to them. Arcata needs to create more recreational options for mountain bikers. More enjoyable riding can be found east near willow creek or south near shelter cove.

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  • ***

    There are a couple of good routes to ride in the arc com. To get to the good stuff, you've got to ride up fire roads. Its a decent workout. No need for fancy fs. My favorite trail is 6 from the backside. 15 is nice too. I wouldn't travel far to get here, but it's my local go to spot. Riders share the single track with hikers, horses, and joggers.

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  • *****

    I go horse ridding on trails all the time, but I think arcata is my favorite trail. The trails are so over grown, and the sun the green leaves makes you want to stay there forever. It is defenitly a five star trail. And whoever thinks its a horrible trail... Well is pretty blind.

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  • **

    This is a place you ride once. Not worth the trip. Super lame riding. Unless you're just looking for a workout in the forest I wouldn't bother.

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  • Suvacrew

    Awesome trails under a heavy redwood Canopy. Most of the steep climbs are on fire trails. Sweet swooping singletrack to be had. New single track being opened up yearly.
    Pre-rode this for a race the day before and the trail population was medium. On race day, the trail was closed..and an absolutely blast to head into the turns knowing there wasn't someone standing there. The route we had for race day had the singletracks connecting at 90 degree angles...so at speed, you'd be off the course or piled into downed tree barriers. The single track along Fickle Hill Rd and into the 2 minute warning track are superb.
    You won't regret rolling your bike here. There's some good updated downloadable maps of this trail network. The number of riding miles is all about the loops and forks in the roads you choose.* Review edited 8/26/2009

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