Prairie City SVRA Off-Highway Vehicle Area
Welcome to Prairie City State Vehicular Recreation Area. Prairie City is situated at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills, 20 miles east of downtown Sacramento and three miles south of U.S. 50. The area offers off-highway vehicle enthusiasts a variety of interesting terrain and trails for motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and 4-wheel drive vehicles. There are flat, open grasslands, rolling hills with native blue oak trees, and acres of cobbled mine tailings left after gold dredges combed ancient river beds in search of gold during the late 1800s. Beginners as well as experts find the variety of terrain both challenging and enjoyable.
Prairie City SVRA takes its name from the gold rush community that was located just north and east of the present-day park. Today, the only reminders of that 1850s community are some old mine tailings and a historical marker, California Historical Landmark #464, which is located at the intersection of Prairie City Road and U.S. 50.
Aerojet General Corporation purchased the southern portion of this property in the early 1960s to build and test rocket engines for the U.S. Government. No actual rocket testing took place after Congress cut program funding. Remnants of the park's space-age past include a test pit south of the present day-use staging area and a dome-shaped building known as the "moon room" located next to the present park office.
In 1972, Roy and Mary McGill leased 435 acres of the present park site from Aerojet General Corporation and created a motorcycle riding and competition facility called McGills Cycle Park. Sacramento County purchased the area in 1975 with the assistance of the State Off-Highway Vehicle Grants Program. An additional 401 acres was purchased in 1976 with State Off-Highway Vehicle Funds, bringing the total acreage to 836. Sacramento County managed the park until July 1988 when the operation was turned over to the Off-Highway Vehicle Division of the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Today, a wide range of birds and other wildlife reside in the area. The open grasslands attract golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, kestrels, and an occasional prairie falcon. Oak trees and brushy areas provide shelter for quail, wild turkeys, and pheasants. Lewis' woodpeckers, acorn woodpeckers, and northern flickers can often be seen on the blue oaks. Deer are often seen in the morning or evening hours when they come out to graze, and coyotes are also seen occasionally.
Recreational Land Management
Providing long-term, sustained OHV recreation opportunity is a top priority in SVRA Management. Provisions in California law require actions to stabilize soils and to provide for healthy wildlife populations in OHV recreation areas. Sites exist throughout the SVRA which have become eroded. There are projects ongoing to stabilize eroded areas by reshaping slopes, and by reseeding and replanting bare areas. Vegetation creates wildlife habitat while plant roots help stabilize the soil. Project areas are temporarily closed to OHV use through the use of barriers, such as fences, hay bales, brush piles and signing. Where possible, well designed OHV trails are immediately provided through project areas. Other project areas may be closed for a number of years before being again opened for OHV use. Your understanding and support in staying out of areas closed for restoration helps ensure OHV recreation opportunities for years to come.
• Drinking Water
• Map and Compass (know how to read and use both items)
• First Aid Kit
• Emergency Blanket (space type)
• Tow Rope
• Waterproof Matches
• Emergency Repair
• Extra Spark Plugs, Tire Repair Kit
• Signaling Devices (mirror and whistle)
• The state park rangers who patrol Prairie City SVRA are trained in first aid. Paramedics are available within 20 minutes.
• Report all emergencies at the Ranger Station - (916) 985-7378. Cellular phones work in most areas of the park. If the ranger is not available, dial 911 or call the State Park dispatch direct at (916) 358-1300.
• It is recommended that all motorcycle and ATV operators take part in a formal safety training course under supervision of a certified instructor. Such training is mandatory for ATV operators under 18.
• Proper riding equipment is essential to the safe operation of an OHV. Each ATV rider must wear a helmet and should wear proper protective clothing.
• Before starting out, familiarize yourself with the terrain. AVOID SURPRISES.
• Inexperienced riders should thoroughly acquaint themselves with all vehicle controls before starting out.
• Drive within the limits of your ability. Don't go faster or climb higher than you can safely handle. Watch out for other riders. When in doubt, take time to think and look the situation over before you proceed.
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:
Prairie City SVRA
13300 White Rock Road
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
The Green Sticker Fund is what purchased the land for Prairie City and to operate it. Therefore, we do require all off-road vehicles that are eligible to purchase a Green Sticker or have current street registration.
Facilities, Trails & Maps
The staging area is set up for both parking and picnicking. There are shaded picnic sites spaced throughout the area. Restrooms, drinking water, barbecue grills, and fire pits (bring your own wood) are available.
There are many trails throughout the motorcycle/ATV area. Most of the trails in the park are beginner or intermediate with just a few expert trails. The trails are designated as two-way in direction, so use caution when negotiating blind curves, hills, and jumps. Keep to the right of the trail as much as possible.
Hangtown MX Track
The Hangtown MX Track, which is home to the annual national outdoor MX championship, is privately operated year round for practice by AMP Racing. The track is just over a mile in length with challenging terrain and high jumps for expert level motocross riders. The track is watered and groomed daily when in operation. For track schedule and information contact AMP Racing at 209-656-9682 or www.ampracing.com.
Just below the Staging Area is a MX Practice Track and ATV Practice Track on separated courses. The tracks consist of jumps and banked turns intended for intermediate to advanced level riders. Tracks are groomed and watered on a semi-regular basis and riders are advised to ride with caution.
The Kid’s Track facility is limited to riders ages 14 years and younger. The facility is divided into two separate tracks. The 70cc Beginner Kid’s Track is for beginner-level children on motorcycles and ATVs 70cc and under. The 110cc Intermediate Kids’s Track is for intermediate-level riders on motorcycles and ATVs 110cc and under. Both areas are for young OHV enthusiasts to develop riding skills under the safety of direct adult supervision.
Quarter Midget Track
The Quarter Midget Track is used by the American Quarter Midget Association (HotLine: (916)491-5437) for both practice and competitive events. Eight to 12-year-olds race these scaled down versions of midget racing cars for trophies and prestige. This track now has lights allowing for racing in the cooler evenings.
The Go-Kart Track is a Grand Prix-style track that has many intricate twists and turns. This track is used by several categories of competitive go-karts. The racing is very fast and exciting. The track is operated by Racecraft, open for practice on a regular basis. For information call 985-6009 or go to www.PCKartClub.com.
4 X 4 Area
The 4 x 4 area is open to 4 x 4's, buggies, Pilots, and Odysseys. For safety reasons, motorcycles and ATVs are not permitted to use this area.The 4 x 4 area is a haven for 4-wheel drive enthusiasts that love our mud. We have a very heavy clay that is extremely challenging for our mud enthusiasts. Just remember, if you get stuck, you are responsible for getting yourself out.
In addition, we have constructed obstacles in the 4- wheel drive obstacle course. We now have the Stairsteps, Frametwister, Mini-Rubicon, Mud Pit, Gravel Pit, and Dry River Bed. The obstacles range from very easy to extremely difficult. Be careful, as it is very easy to damage your vehicle.
Prairie City is host to many different special events. Occasionally, we have to close all or part of the park for these events to take place. It is always a good idea to give the park a call before you drive all the way out here. The phone number is 916-985-7378.
All provisions of the California Vehicle Code are strictly enforced. Current California off-highway vehicle registration (GREEN STICKER) or highway registration are required at all times when operating OHVs on public lands(CVC38020). The California off-highway ID plate must be displayed as prescribed by law (CVC 38170c). Funds generated from OHV registration along with a portion of the state gas tax are used for the acquisition, development and operation of OHV areas throughout California. Off-highway vehicle exhaust systems must have U.S. Forest Service approved spark Arrester and conform to SAE J1287 sound limit of 96 dBA. Non-emissions compliant vehicles (RED STICKER) are limited to operation between Oct. 15th and April 15th. Violations are subject to citation and eviction.
Source: California State Park Web Site
Share this page on Facebook:
DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)