VAN DUZEN / RUTH ZENIA
Trinity CountyDate reviewed - 8/05
Fun . . . . . . . . 4
Difficulty . . . . .Medium
Traffic . . . . . . None to Light
Driveways . . . .None
Condition . . . . Fair
Length . . . . . .25 miles
Whenever I am exploring new roads well outside of southern California, especially roads that run a long way into the wilderness, I am always concerned that the pavement will end and I will either have to continue on a dirt road or backtrack. This happened to myself and a driving partner out on Soda Lake in Central West. I had been lucky for over 2000 miles on this trip but my "luck" ran out. I was 20 miles north of Highway 162 when the pavement ended. Twenty miles is a long way to go on a dirt road in a lowered car with low-profile street tires but the alternate was 60 miles back north, so I pressed on and lived to tell the tale. See Zenia Lake Mountain / Mina Rd. below for the story to that little adventure.
Van Duzen Rd. can be found at the northern end by heading west on Highway 36 for 2 miles from Forest Road 1. Van Duzen runs south from the 36 at the base of a small hill; headed east on 36 you will come to the intersection at the end of a long valley and headed west you will find it as you drop down. The route I ended up taking was Van Duzen south to where it basically turns in to Ruth Zenia Rd. Ruth Zenia also heads west to Mad River and Wild Mad Roads (purple on map), all of these roads look pretty good but I was trying to get south and didn't have the time to explore them all.
The first 3 miles of Van Duzen at the northern end run through a small town with a 25mph speed limit, but after that you can pick up the pace and there is really nothing out here. The road is pretty curvy but nothing too severe as it follows a small river that runs down out of the valley. Paving is in good shape and there is a marked center lane for most of the way. About 14 miles south of Hwy. 36 there are several 1-lane bridges so watch out for those.
If you are headed south when you come to the intersection with Ruth Zenia just keep going straight, the name of the road changes but that's it. South of the Ruth Zenia intersection the centerline disappears and the pavement gets a little worse but nothing you can't deal with. The farther south you get the curvier and tighter the road will get, by the time you reach Zenia Lake Mt. Rd. you are driving on little more than a 1-lane road. There are several cattle guards out here so watch for animals on the road, but as far as other vehicles go you don't have to worry too much. This is way out in the middle of nowhere, so you should have the road pretty much to yourself. When the road ends at a "T" intersection, turn left to continue south on Zenia Lake Mountain / Mina Rd.- Back to Region
There's quite a few potentially great roads in this area.
Blue: Van Duzen Rd. / Ruth Zenia Rd. (west)
Red: Zenia Lake Mountain Rd.
Cyan: Titlow Hill Rd. / Forest Road 1
Orange: Ruth Zenia Rd. (east)
Yellow: Alderpoint Bluff Rd. / Zenia Bluff Rd.
Green: Alderpoint Rd.
Purple: Mad River Rd. / Wild Mad Rd.
Highway 36 is the orange line running across the top.
The red section is 25mph zone, the blue is all 2 lane w/center line.
This section has no center lane, but at the northern end is still fairly wide.