This Sacramento hot spot for offroading is creating a plan for improvements

Sacramento’s only state vehicular recreation area is poised to make upgrades for dirt bike, quad and other off-road enthusiasts.

Prairie City State Vehicular Recreation Area, which sits south of Highway 50 below Folsom, recently announced a road and trail management plan that was highlighted at the state’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission meeting Thursday in West Sacramento.

“Through this plan, what we’re able to do is come up with a trail system throughout the park, as well as open up a couple properties which were purchased for OHV recreation but haven’t been opened because they still need to go through a planning process,” said Peter Jones, sector manager of Prairie City SVRA.

The plan is in its early stages and is expected to be finalized by fall 2024 before it can be enacted after getting reviewed by the public.

The plan is designed to upgrade its trail system for grooming and maintenance, design new and modify existing trails for specific types of vehicles — such as 4x4s, all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and other recreational off-high vehicles — eliminate or realign user-created trails, improve or eliminate trails that are not ecologically sustainable, and find areas for staging, new bathrooms and other visitor services facilities.

There’s also the possibility of adding permanent campgrounds, which are scarce in the Sacramento area.

“I’m hopeful that we will add some camping,” Jones said. “We do allow camping during special events on a permit process. But the hope is that we would have camping available not just under a special event. Essentially we do have the infrastructure needed to do that. It would be more (about) staffing changes just because of the change in hours of operation.”

Prairie City is roughly 1,350 acres, which is on the smaller side of SVRAs in California. It’s by far the closest option for offroaders in Sacramento, with the others being Carnegie (90 miles southwest of Sacramento), Clay Pit (roughly 75 miles north near Oroville) and Hollister Hills (roughly 160 miles southwest).

It hosts the annual Hangtown Motocross Classic, one of the longest-running professional motocross races in the country in early June. The races has been running since 1969 but moved to their current home at Prairie City in 1979. The state’s OHV Department paired with the Dirt Diggers North Motorcycle Club to build a permanent race track with sprinklers, fencing, restrooms, running water, gazebos and an announcing tower.

Prairie City offers expansive motorcycle and ATV areas along with a well-known motocross track, 4x4 track, open area and a 4x4 “pit,” along with a track for kids.

“There are a number of things that are unique,” Jones said of Prairie City. “Just the proximity to a larger urban area. Additionally, all the SVRAs provide opportunities for off-highway vehicles ... but we also have a cart track where people can come and rent carts, or own their own and they’re open for practice and races.”