The Western Interface Recreation Trails known locally as Top of the World are located just west of Highway 4, between Avery and Arnold, California. The area is managed by the Calaveras Ranger District of the US Forest Service. *There exists a Northern area of this trail system, north of White Pines Lake, which allows motorized access throughout. This area is separate from this listing;details are not included.
Overall Description: This trail system is for me what MTB is all about. It's got a little something for everyone through some absolutely gorgeous terrain. Want a smooth jaunt with the family? Check. Want some heavy climbing? Check. Want smooth flowing singletrack? It's there. Want some black diamond technical stuff? Yup. Want a ~3 mile downhill run? Got that too. (several, though not necessarily all in one piece.) Want some scenery that'll make you go 'ooh?' It's there everywhere... Elevations range from ~3350' to almost 4400.'
Suggested Route: Depends on what you want, but for starters, stop at the ranger station linked above and grab a paper map. Document# 'MAP ROD-1' titled 'Interface Decision Map - Interface Recreation Trails Project Area Map.' Start at the southern end, off Avery Sheep Ranch Road, approx 1.5 miles west of hwy4. The ranger overseeing the new trail construction has hilit a 'blue route' on the map, with matching blue arrows on the trail signs at every intersection. This route will carry you through the entire length of the network, grabbing a ton of great singletrack and most of the peaks including Cougar Rock and Top of the World. At the time of this writing, a new track is in the planning/early construction stages which will connect Top of the World with Manuel Peak and the Waterfall Overlook. The route was designed to not exceed intermediate skill, however numerous diamond runs are available either directly connected, or near to the blue route. In general, the trails & roads on the east side of the network are flatter and avoid heavy climbs, while the further west you proceed, the more abrubt the climbs. This can be handy on the return trip if you find yourself out of energy, as you can return via the fire roads on the east side without any significant climbing (if you started at the south end.)