This is not an easy ride, but the last 8 miles which is called the Plunge makes everything worth it. Try to get an early start, we didn't get hit the rail until 2 so we ended up riding back in the dark. The trail starts out at 9,900 elevation at Sherman Pass and for the next 15 miles it felt like every time we rode down we had to peddle back up which was quite exhausting at that elevation or any elevation. The Plunge is the last 8 miles of the trail and drops 5,000 feet in elevation in only 8 miles. This part of the tail makes all the hard work completely worth it. The single track was amazing and on the side of the mountain so quite the adrenalin rush! Sorry I don't have much to offer on directions since I rode it in the beginning of the summer I don't remember the forks in the road to well. We stopped in to Mountain River Adventures in Kernville and they gave us a mapped and were very helpful. They also offer a shuttle to the top of Sherman Pass if you don't have an extra car.