Potato Hill Flying Site

Maps and Directions to Potato Hill
Directions:  (Note – first time to this site, it is highly recommended to drive up during daylight hours.   The country roads are very tricky for some to navigate in the dark.   You have been warned!)
    • First, go to Stonyford
      • Take I-5 north to Maxwell, about 40 minutes North of Sacramento
      • Exit at the first Maxwell exit and then go west on the main road (At the first junction/split, Sites, turn right toward Lodoga.). At Lodoga, turn right and continue to Stonyford (total of 1/2 hr – 40 minutes driving time from Maxwell to Stonyford)
      • When you arrive in Stonyford, turn left at the stop sign.
    • From Stonyford to LZ, Launch and Campground – To the LZ
      • Continue about 1/4 mile and then turn left on Fouts Spring Road (This is the 3rd left)- There are signs to Fouts Spring
      • It is about 20 minutes on this road to the LZ. The road will wind up over the hills, then descend down to a valley. When you reach the valley continue and look on the right for the Fouts Spring Youth Facility.
      • The LZ is the huge field in front of the vacant buildings on the right side of road.   There is a dirt parking lot on the left side of the road for parking.
      • To go to Dixie Glade Camp and launch from the LZ continue on the same road up the mountain.
      • To CAMPING: Watch on the right for the sign for Dixie Glade campground, about five miles past the Youth Facility. Coordinates for Dixie Glade  39°20’6.81″N and 122°42’13.09″W At present “2020”, Dixie Glade is closed from a huge fire a few years ago.   If you continue on the road, about 20 – minutes up the road, you will come to Letts Lake and there is a campground there.  If your GPS works, you can use the GPS: Lat – 39° 18′ 10.238399″, Long – 122° 42′ 27.6948”
      • To LAUNCH:  The road to launch is the first turn-off on the left after you pass Dixie Glade. Take this left and follow the main dirt road up until it “T”s into a road at the top of the ridge.
      • Turn left and follow this until it makes a 90 degree right turn and becomes steep. There is a trail-head and room to park at this elbow. The Trail at this elbow goes to the Potato Launch. The hike is about 10 – 15 minutes and has not intersections, just stay on the trail.
Relief Map for drive from Maxwell to Stonyford
Looking out from Launch
Driving from LZ to Letts Lake Campground
Click LZ photo for full size

Potato Hill Flying Site – Basic Flight Plan
Below are some photos of Potato Hill. The Yellow and Blue paths are the two most common flight paths used at this site. Most of the time, I prefer to use the yellow path, but either can work. Both primary paths target higher terrain where lift will be better and increase the chances of reaching the LZ with extra altitude. The spine of the left is very easy to see from launch and any thermals that rise up the slope below the top of the ridge will release above the spine.

On flights where lift and thermals are encountered, a pilot can climb and have a little freedom from continuing towards the LZ. But, whenever a pilot starts to lose lift and begins descending again, the flight plan dictates to stay on the flight path. Once well up in a thermal, moving around a bit above the general area is fine. Once a pilot moves back down toward launch level, moving back to the primary path comes back into play..

Potato Hill – Two Common Primary Paths
I normally find better lift on the yellow path, but either can work good for flight. Many think the Hay Bails is the best thermal, but the most consistent thermal at Potato is the one on the ridge to the left of launch. Also, this path usually provided easier ability to reach the LZ with some extra height.
Click on pictures for larger images …
Note – New LZ is to the right of this area.   It is at the old “Boy Camp”
which used to be a detention center and is now closed.
The coordinates of the new LZ are:  39°21’6.76″N and 122°39’40.86″W
View from above  launch