Rock Garden and Rock Island

Today I went for a very short, but very fun ride over in the Table Rock area.  The trails I went to explore are Rock Island, and Rock Garden (#16’s in RTR).  Long story short, I found them and they were awesome.  It was wicked hot today, though, so I didn’t spend a lot of time out there playing around, but I’ll definitely be back.  As their names suggest, these trails have a lot of rock features on them.  In particular, 16B (highlighted in Red in the photo), has the greatest number of technical rock features of all the trails.

Directions: Head to the trailhead of the Tram Trail (#14) just off of Warm Springs Road just across from the golf course parking lot:

Once you start up this path you won’t get lost.  That being said, there are a number of choices you can make as to which trail you want to take.  However, since these trails are all so short, you really can’t go wrong no matter which direction you go.  Here is my suggestion if you want to take a good loop: After starting on trail #14, take your second left and follow that up hill a little ways until you get to the sign that says this is an expert trail and you need to yield to downhill riders.  Turn right onto this trail and follow it around, staying straight/left onto trail #16B (the Red trail; there is an unmarked trail right in this area that pops up before this intersection, I didn’t take it).  Follow 16B down until it meets with 16A and follow 16A to the left (downhill) back to 14.  If you do that, you’ll pretty much get your bearings and be able to navigate the whole trail group.  Here’s a map of the ride I took (the extra lines are where I rode a trail more than once…this is from my iPhone, so accuracy is not completely top notch):

The trails: So, how were the trails?  Awesome!  If you like technical riding and especially, technical rock, you will love these short little forays into technicality.  The signs say that these are “expert” trails, but I wouldn’t let that scare you at all.  I am by no means an expert, and I was able to ride all the features sight unseen with only having to dab my foot twice.  The majority of the technical rock is on the middle trail that intersects the big loop.  It is rideable from both directions, but definitely easier going from West to East.  Here are some photos of a couple of the rock features:

As you can see, these features are almost always optional.  If you get intimidated you can ride around.  Others, like the one in the 4th picture, you actually have to ride, what looks like, a little off-trail to get onto the rock.

None of these features are very complicated.  There are a couple that are decently technical, but if you go for it, and you’ve got a bit of balance, you’ll probably do just fine.

In the end, with riding a couple of these trails more than once, I only rode about 4.5 miles.  So this is not a taxing collection of trails, and may make a really great lunch time ride.  If you haven’t been out here, you need to go.  If you’re worried about not being able to figure out where to go, you needn’t.  Just explore a little, don’t climb all the way atop Table Rock, and you’ll be fine!  Well worth the trip!

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~ by cardwelc on July 10, 2010.

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