After nearly a year, May Valley Road has been reopened to public access.
We took this past Saturday’s shop ride through May Valley, something we haven’t been able to do in nearly a year.
The Forest Service reopened May Valley road last week, which now means cyclists, hikers, and horseback riders once again have an off-highway route to connect Idyllwild to Hurkey Creek and surrounding areas of Thomas Mountain, Rouse Ridge, etc. It also means we will have better access to bikepacking opportunities all over the mountain without having to ride Highway 243. The entire area had been closed to public access following the Mountain Fire last July, which burned nearly 28,000 acres.
The closure is still in place for most of the trails in the May Valley area, including 100% of the burn area. From what we could tell from the road on our ride, the trails were utterly decimated, eroded beyond recognition from rains before new vegetation took root.
However, on the bright side, the area is full of grasses that grew in this spring, hopefully adding some stability to the dirt. In the area near the May Valley/ Bonita Vista road intersection, Ribbonwoods have already been springing up, some nearly 2 feet high.
The Johnson Meadow trail was reopened. Despite the fact the fire ripped through this area, it was hard to tell much had changed. The trail is lined by signs instructing trail users to stay on the trail.
The area of May Valley above the burn area has been getting quite a bit of fuels reduction. The area around South Ridge has stacks of cut vegetation waiting to be disposed of, presumably this coming winter.