Big Bend and Cisco Grove Along Old Hwy. 40   Leave a comment

By Tim Hauserman

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Once Highway 40 was known as the Lincoln Highway, and was the main route across the Sierra between Sacramento and Reno. Little towns such as Big Bend and Cisco Grove were places to eat, pick up some groceries, or purchase a gift before the final push over Donner Summit into Truckee. With the completion of Interstate 80, the commercial establishments along much of Highway 40 died away, but many of the original buildings and character of the communities still exist.

Cisco Grove has Gould Park, a 15 acre swath of greenery on the banks of the bustling Yuba River. From here begins the 20 Mile Museum, which includes dozens of interpretative signs along Highway 40 all the way to Donner Lake. Each sign tells the story of where you are and gives ideas for things to do nearby.

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Cisco Grove contains a host of fascinating buildings, many constructed of rock. Just another mile or so up Highway 40 lies Big Bend. On the way, be sure and marvel at the mini rapids in the Yuba River as you travel underneath Interstate 80.

Big Bend is home to a major Forest Service Fire Station, campground, the popular Loch Leven Lakes trail, and ancient cabins tucked along the Yuba River. A bit further upstream you reach The Rainbow Lodge, and then a series of fascinating cascades which splash over the smooth granite. A few lucky homes sit tucked amongst the rocks enjoying delicious natural pools in their back yards.

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While Old 40 is a leisurely drive, the best way to see Big Bend and Cisco Grove is via bicycle, in fact it is one of the most popular bike rides in the area. The road is lightly traveled, but well maintained, and the ride is pleasant and beautiful. It is also deceptively challenging. From the top of Donner Summit to Cisco Grove feels like a nice gentle descent while riding west, but feels like a long, not as gentle as you thought, ride back to the top. Especially the section between Kingvale and Soda Springs. It feels easier to start in Cisco Grove and warm up with the climb.

Whether you drive or ride, a visit to Cisco Grove and Big Bend, is a perfect way to break up the drive from the Bay Area to Truckee, and will feel like a step back in time.

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THINK OF ME, LYNN RICHARDSON, FOR ALL OF YOUR LAKE TAHOE AND TRUCKEE REAL ESTATE NEEDS!

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