This mountain got it’s name back when Bass Lake was being created in the Crane Valley above Oakhurst. Goats were brought in to stamp down the dirt in the lake basin around the dam area. After they had done this, the goats were released and they migrated to this mountain to the west of the lake. Because they have been eradicated by natural predators and humans you won’t find them there today. There is a lookout tower on the south peak that was used for fire detection but is no longer used. On the north peak, there is a cell tower site above the trailhead. You may see hikers and an occasional horseback rider on the trail, so take care not to go too fast. This trail is located at the base of Goat Mountain off of Teaford Saddle Road (223) just west of Bass Lake. There is a gravel road up to the top of the mountain and forks left to the trailhead or right to the fire lookout tower. The trail is about 2 miles long and splits into two trails about half way down the mountain. Although these trails can be accessed from the lake side of the mountain, if you are going by bicycle, I recommend starting your ride from the fire road entrance from road 223. There is a small parking area just of the road and a locked gate .1 mile up the fire road. Reset your speedometer here as my mileage readings start from here. Just go around the gate and start up the gravel road. The ride up the gravel fire road is at about 5% grade and you reach a fork in the road at 1.4 miles up. A right turn will take you to the lookout tower where you will take in a view of the North Fork area, the starting point of the annual Grizzly Century ride (www.grizzlycentury.org) which takes you up the scenic byway to the headwaters of the San Joaquin River. If you want to get to the trail, take a left at the fork and go around the gate just ahead. The trailhead is .1 mile ahead on the right. If you continue up this road, you will get to a cell phone tower at the top, but not much of a view from this vantage point.
The trail begins it’s winding path down the side of the mountain and is a narrow single track. Don’t go too fast on your first ride because there are some sharp turns and rocky sections that might surprise you. If you ride the trail in the early spring, be wary of downed trees. If you reset your cyclometer’s miles at the start of the ride, you will get to a fork in the trail at 2.3 miles. A left turn here will take you down to the Forks Resort on Bass Lake . A right turn will take you to the Spring Cove campground on the lake. The Forks trail is a little more technical than the Spring Cove trail but both trails are a lot of fun.
My favorite trail is the Forks trail so I will describe it first. I think of this ride as a roller coaster type ride because of the ups and downs and tight, twisting path that it takes. The second road you come to is a fire road at 4 miles into the ride that can take you left, back towards your starting point. If you want to continue down to the lake, go across the road and slightly to the right and you will find the trail’s continuation down to the Forks Campground and Resort. If you go this way, you can get back to the starting point via Rd. 426 , which leads up from the lake back to Rd. 223. To get back to the starting point from here, you can take the fire road that I mentioned west (left) past the gate, to Rd. 426 at 4.75 miles. Take a left and go to mile 4.9 and you will see another dirt road on your left. This road takes you to a paved road (mile 5.3) where you go right, back to Rd. 223 where you can take a left and ride back up to the starting point. From the Forks you will just ride up rd 426 to this dirt road.
Spring Cove Trail
The Spring Cove trail takes you east (right) from the fork in the trail towards Bass Lake. This trail rolls fast for the first section, then you will takes some switchbacks through the trees. You will cross a dirt road about half way down to the lake, and the trail get narrow right here. The trail merges with a 4 x 4 dirt road as you come down to the lake. You will cross a dirt road near the end of this trail and ride by the Spring Cove Campground until you get the lake. When you get to the paved road (rd 222), take a left and go north to the Lupin Cedar campground. Here there is a new picnic area with a rest room and parking. If you want to get back to your car on a dirt road, take a left up into this campground and keep riding up this road until you pass the gate where it turns into a dirt fire road. This is the fire road that I described before in the Forks Trail route, just follow the directions back to road 426. If you prefer to ride the road that follows the lake ( rd. 222) north , you will come to road 426 . As you pass the Fork’s Campground, you come to the Fork’s Resort on Bass Lake. This was one of the very first resorts on Bass Lake. For information on recreation, camping, restaurants, resorts, etc. see our Camping and Accommodations page.
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