The Gold Country Trails Council was formed in 1981 by a group of Nevada County citizens to fill the need for non-motorized trails in Nevada County and surrounding foothills. The main purpose of this volunteer organization is to provide non-motorized campsites and trails for public use. The Council also provides construction and maintenance of group equestrian campgrounds, construction and maintenance of trails, and provides maps and trail educational materials.
The citizen volunteers in the Gold Country Trails Council have constructed over 30 miles of trails within the Tahoe National Forest. Most of the public trails are located in the Highway 20 scenic corridor east of Nevada City. The first trail built was named the Pioneer Trail because it follows the route early pioneers took when traveling over the Sierra-Nevada Mountains to Nevada City. The council has extended the Pioneer Trail from its trailhead five miles east of Nevada City (across from the Lone Grave Historical Monument on Highway 20) to join the Pacific Crest Trail in the Grouse Ridge primitive area. The Pioneer Trail was built and extended in cooperation with Caltrans, Tahoe National Forest, Boy Scouts of America, California Youth Authority, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
Two group horse camps have been built and are being maintained by the Council. Little Lasier Meadow Horse Camp near Truckee, and Skillman Horse Camp, which is located on Highway 20 above Nevada City. Both horse camps provide individual truck and trailer parking spaces, hitching posts, corrals, fire rings, picnic tables, restrooms and water for stock.
A public information booklet entitled, “Living Together on the Trails” is printed and distributed by the Council. The booklet outlines acceptable trail manners and defines safety tips for all trail users. Also available are maps with descriptions and locations of trails and trailheads in the Nevada County area.
During the construction and maintenance of horse camps and trails, the Council members have provided over 3,500 volunteer hours to Nevada County and the Tahoe National Forest. All projects, completed and planned, are open to the public for horseback riding, hiking, jogging, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.
The Gold Country Trails Council is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization.