Pictured Above is the Mormon Emigrant Gap Abandoned Ski Resort
Baltic Ridge Trail From Mormon Emigrant Trail/Gap (Between Highway 88/ Carson Pass Highway and Highway 50)
The Baltic Ridge Trail is a mix of easy to moderate off-road trails and fire roads off Mormon Emigrant Trail. From the East, you can access Mormon Emigrant Trail from Highway 88 near Kirkwood Ski Resort. From the west, you can access Mormon Emigrant Trail from the Sly Park Exit off Highway 50.
One of the most notable and iconic places on the Mormon Emigrant Trail is the old Abandoned Ski Resort (Iron Mountain Ski Resort). Iron Mountain Ski Resort was active for several years in the 80’s-90’s. This resort has since been shut down and several structures have been burned to the ground. You will find many structures still intact. There are old ski lifts, small buildings, and remains of an old hotel on what’s left of this historic property.
To the North and South of Mormon Emigrant Trail, there are hundreds of off-road trails and fire roads to explore. On the South side of Mormon Emigrant Trail, you will find the Baltic Ridge Trail. The Baltic Ridge Trail is one of many options for exploring this area of El Dorado’s National Forest. When exploring the Baltic Ridge Trail, it is important to note that this is not a well-marked trail. And, if you do not have an offline GPS system, it will be easy to take a wrong turn.
Baltic Ridge Trail Details:
- Stock: Ok, Lift Preferred
- Distance: 18 Miles
- Guns: Ok
- Camping: Few Good Spots – Very Scattered
- Terrain: Rocky, Washed Out Ruts, Thick Brush, Narrow Trails, Wide Open/ Easy
The SnailTrail 4×4 Video Overview – Thanks, Guys! Always Fun.
Trekking Around Mormon Emigrant Gap Abandoned Ski Resort
First, we met up at Iron Mountain Ski Resort. As we mentioned above, the Iron Mountain Ski Resort is a well-traversed point of interest in El Dorado County. You can shoot guns, wheel around, and take amazing photographs at the Iron Mountain Ski Resort. If you live in Sacramento, Placer or El Dorado County, this is a great place to come check out on the weekend.
Starting The Baltic Ridge Trail
Once you start into the Baltic Ridge Trail, you will begin down a standard fire road trail. Here is where we aired down our tires and got everything situated for the trail. From this point, we also mapped our direction down toward the bottom of the trail that pops out onto another fire road which then heads back onto Mormon Emigrant Trail.
Baltic Ridge Trail – Fall Colors
As you descend down the hill, you will run into multiple different types of terrain. During our visit to Baltic Ridge Trail, we were met with beautiful fall colors, open roads and not another 4×4 in sight for the whole 18-mile drive. The first few miles of the trail are a combination of thick brush, but nothing that will threaten your car, if scratches are something you are wary of. But, these sections do come later in the trail.
Baltic Ridge Trail – Back-Country Trail
As you ride the entire ridge of Baltic Ridge Trail, you will get a mix of everything. We experienced everything from incredibly thick brush to wide open landscapes and heavily wooded areas. At many times, I jumped out with the Axe and chopped down multiple sections of the trail in fear for my clearcoat. It got to a point where I just started smashing through it. It was pretty dense in some spots. If you do take your nice fancy stock rig out here, expect to get some scratches.
There were many sections coming back down the hill where sections of the trail were completely washed out and stock rigs may be questionable. Stock rigs will make it but some sections would be very sketchy and rubbing on running boards would occur. I caught my N-Fab Nerf Bars a few times on rock and washed out ruts. And, I am running a Stage 2 Icon Suspension with 34″ Tires on the 4Runner.
To be safe, I wouldn’t want to take my stock 4Runner on this Trail but a Jeep Rubicon would be fine.
Baltic Ridge Trail – Heading Back Up
Once you make it down towards the bottom of the hill, you have a few options for trails out. We took another trail that went back up the hill another 3-4 miles. Baltic Ridge Trail offers plenty of options for excitement. After your 14 miles down the trail, the fun doesn’t stop there. Actually, heading back up these other random roads is where we saw some of the best terrain. Some of these sections had incredibly washed out trails and boulders to crawl over. It was a very cool ending to the Baltic Ridge Trail.
Mormon Emigrant Gap Sunset
To really end the day, was something incredible. This Sunset! The entire drive down the hill was absolutely stunning. The sunsets from the top of Mormon Emigrant Trail are breathtaking. We stopped a few times on the way down the hill just to stop and watch the sun set over the horizon. The image above doesnt even do it justice.
if you are considering a trip up here, get ready to get dirty and have some fun. It was a good trail. Below, I dropped a few of our corridenates so you can get an idea of exactly where were were throughout this trail.
Hey did you encounter an water on the trail? Do you know of any trails in the area that lead to water?
There are so many options for checking out water. If you want a good reference, check out the California Off-Road Trail book we wrote about. You may want to check out the front side of Signal Peak and Fordyce lake. That is easy and can get you to a really pretty lake.
Awesome! Thanks for the info!