The Gold Valley area can be reached from the north by taking CA-89 (Graeagle is the closest town of any significance) and heading west towards Graeagle-Johnsville Road. From the south CA-49 can be used to reach Gold Lake Highway. From the Guide to Northern California Backroads and 4-Wheel Drive Trails by Charles A. Wells (Mr. Wells has since converted his separate California books into a single book):
“From Auburn and Grass Valley, take Hwy. 49 north and east past Downieville and on to tiny Bassetts. From Truckee, take Hwy. 89 north to 49 then go west to Bassetts. From Bassetts Station, take Gold Lake Highway west then north about a mile and a half. Turn left over a bridge following signs to Sardine Lake. After 0.2 miles turn right towards Packer Lake. Go another 2.7 miles and turn left. Climb uphill until you reach Packer Saddle at the top of a ridge in another 1.6 miles. You’ll continue straight on a gravel road for Gold Valley Trail. Deer Lake Trail is to the right and Sierra Buttes Lookout is left on the paved road.”
The area around Gold Valley (and the Tahoe National Forest in general) is simply astounding. I went here last September so there were no snow problems but obviously that’s a different case during the winter and early spring months. The trail happens to overlap with the Pacific Crest Trail in some spots so be sure to watch out for hikers and cyclists. As always, be sure to share these photos and videos with your friends. Enjoy!