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ADV RidesRiding SeasonAutumn/Fall Ride31,000 Acres Re-Opened to Dual Sport Riding in California

31,000 Acres Re-Opened to Dual Sport Riding in California

Clear Creek Riding Area finally re-opens after a long public land use battle

Published on 02.17.2014

On May 1, 2008 The U.S. Bureau of Land Management closed Clear Creek OHV Park, one of California’s premiere off-road riding areas. The 31,000 acre park offered hundreds of miles of challenging trails and scenic camping facilities. Located in the coastal mountains of Central California, the park received 35,000 visitors annually before the closure.

The BLM (Bureau of Land Management) closed the area after studies concluded there were dangerous levels of naturally occurring asbestos in the soil. This caused an uproar from the off-road community as many claimed the research was flawed and no health threat existed. A California state commissioned Harvard scientist was sent to investigate and found that the risk to human health was below danger levels.

After a six year battle, the BLM has finally agreed to re-open this cherished off-road riding area with some restrictions. The park will be open to street licensed vehicles only, such as Dual Sport and Adventure Touring motorcycles. The BLM says, 5,070 acres of the land “will be managed to emphasize primitive, non-motorized recreation opportunities.” Touring of the area by motorcycle will require a permit and visits will be restricted to 5 days per year to limit health risk. Clear Creek is expected to re-open after a 30-day appeal period on March 14, 2014.


Within 40 miles of Clear Creek are the Mercey Hot Springs and Talus Caves in Pinnacles National Park. Carmel and Big Sur are also within striking distance, making this an excellent region for Adventure Touring. We look forward to visiting Clear Creek this Spring to see what we’ve been missing.

Video of the Clear Creek Area from Doc Wong’s Free Off-Road Riding Clinics.

While the existence of an asbestos health risk may still be controversial, you should avoid visiting Clear Creek on dry hot days. The best time to visit is when the soil is moist and there is less dust in the air. To get a permit to ride Clear Creek, contact the BLM.

BLM Hollister Field Office
20 Hamilton Court
Hollister, CA 95023
Phone: (831) 630-5000
Office Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., M-F

Update 12/05/2014
After speaking with the BLM, they have confirmed that only slightly more land has been re-opened in 2014 than was available the previous year. There are currently around 30 miles of trails available to ride legally compared to over 200 miles before the closure occured in 2008.

Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney

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Clear Creek OHV Opens again! - Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum
February 18, 2014 5:35 pm

[…] […]

Todd Whitney
Todd Whitney
April 10, 2014 9:21 am

I was just out there yesterday. Don’t kid yourself. The BLM has not opened anything new. Up until this “opening” you could legally travel the county roads. Now you have to pay a fee and get a permit to do it. All but one of the formerly closed roads is still closed. It makes a fun outting for dual sport/adventure noobs, but after you’ve done it twice you’ll be bored.

Rob Dabney
Rob Dabney
April 11, 2014 12:02 am

Thank you for sharing your experiences from on the ground at Clear Creek. It’s unfortunate that the BLM’s announcement has not yet become a reality. Please post back here any news you receive about changes in the situation.

July 18, 2014 11:52 am

I rode through this area after seeing the route highlighted on a Butler Motorcycle Map. Even if you don’t get off road here, this place is a hidden gem in Central California many Northern and Southern Californians have never seen.


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