There are two lane roads on both sides of I-80 that are good riding. We recommend taking the Placer Hills Road route down elevation to Meadow Vista. On the return route, cross over I-80 at Applegate and take even more rural roads back to Colfax.
Colfax to Meadow Vista on Placer Hills Road. Colfax_MeadowVista
Meadow Vista to Colfax thru Applegate and Weimar. MeadowVista_Colfax via Applegate
This is a 20+ mile loop that goes from Colfax (2440 ft elevation) to Meadow Vista (1600 ft elevation). It is a delightful tour of foothill living, on roads dotted with large rural parcels and homes, gardens, orchards and vineyard. Meadows and wildflowers abound. We recommend taking Placer Hills down to Meadow Vista Then take the Applegate and Weimar roads back to Colfax; while these roads cross the freeway twice and are in part frontage road, most of the ride is even more rural and forested than Placer Hills.
This loop can be made shorter by crossing I-80 at Weimar Cross Roads, or at Crother Road in Applegate. There are also options to add climbs in and out of the canyons, for example, take Milk Ranch Road to the Bear River Campground and back up Plum Tree Road to return to Placer Hills/Tokayana. You might also take Dog Bar Road down to the river. A swim might be the perfect complement to a ride in the heat of mid-day. Check it out on your own Google map for clear directions.