Camel’s Back to Scott’s to Mil Reserve

Today’s ride was a bit longer than anything so far this year.  Here’s the rundown:

Start: Came’s Back Park at first parking lot;
Up Lower Hull’s Gulch (#29) to 8th St Extension via Crane Gulch Connector (#1)
Up 8th St Extension to Scott’s Trail (#32)
To Corrals Trail (#31)
Back to Crane Gulch Connector (#1)
Cross the creek to Crestline Trail (#28)
Up  Trail #4
Across Fat Tire Traverse (#42)
Down Freestone Ridge Trail (#5)
Up Three Bears (#26)
Wrap back around Shane’s Trail (#26A)
Down Bucktail Trail (#20A)
To Ridge Crest (#20)
To Military Reserve Connection (#23)
To Kestrel Trail (#39A)
To Owls Roost (#37)

Phew.  Here’s the overall map:

Zoom in of the First Half:

Zoom view of the second half:

The rundown:

Lower Hull’s Gulch: This trail is described in the downhill direction Here.  Going uphill is a lot of fun and not as difficult as you might think.  The only spot that will be tough is the technical rock section near the top (only rideable if you’re good at Trials).  It is not terribly taxing and a great little ride.  There is one intersection you will come to that is marked “Public Access Trail.”  This intersection is a “Y” coming from this direction and you have the option to go straight or turn left.  The short of it is that if you want a little extra climbing, take the left option, otherwise, stay straight.  Both are fun.  Once you get to the sign at the “top” of Lower Hulls you will have the option of crossing the creek or staying straight.  You want to stay straight here and bear to the left at the next intersection (the Hiker’s Only section of Hull’s Gulch).  Follow that trail uphill, it’s a multi-use trail called Crane Gulch Connector (#1 on Ridge to Rivers).

Crane Gulch Connector: This is a tough, but not unbearable short climb to 8th St Extension and a popular parking area.  This trail is shared with ATV users, so watch out and keep your ears open.  The climb gets steepest just after the middle and then mellows back out.  Once you’re at the top, you’ll have a three way intersection to decide upon.  All of these trails take you to the parking lot.  Take either one of the left two options to get closer to 8th St.

8th St Extension: Follow the road uphill and past a gate (closed today).  This road will climb fairly steadily uphill for a long ways.  There are no surprises or intersections to contend with.  Each steep section seems to be followed by a mellower section, so battle through and you’ll likely have a little bit of a breather (although not much) after the steeper sections.  Keep your eye to the left, and watch for the trail head of Scott’s Trail (I hit it at exactly 6.10 miles).

Scott’s Trail: From 8th St, Scott’s is a real fun downhill.  It is windy and very flowy.  There are several dirt water bars that make fun jumps.  You can really get cookin’ on this trail so be careful of any uphill traffic.  Also, there is a closed gate at some point, so keep your eyes out when your on the North-ish side of a hill going down.  Scott’s is not very long, so you will soon come to the intersection of Corrals trail.  The most obvious thing to do is to go straight, which is what you want to do, but you can also go downhill to your right, which will take you to Bogus Basin Road.  But stay straight and enjoy Corrals.

Corrals Trail: This is a pretty mixed bag.  It starts out with a short climb followed by some really fun descending.  The trail will wind around, taking you downhill fast, then uphill for a short bit, then back downhill.  If I remember right, after you cross a creek via a small bridge and start heading back downhill, watch out for a sharp left switchback that might take you by surprise (I really can’t remember exactly where this is, so just keep it in mind).  Corrals will eventually start to level off after you climb past Bob’s Trail (#30), then take you right back to Trail #1 and 8th St Extension.  Keep bearing to the left as you near 8th St, then cross the road and turn immediately right into the lowest part of the parking lot, this will get you back to Crane Gulch Connector.

Follow Crane Gulch Connector down and cross the creek onto Crestline.

Crestline Trail: Crestline is very fun in either direction.  You can ride it quickly and it has a good flow.  Unfortunately, you won’t be on it for very long with this ride because you will very soon hit an obvious intersection with Trail #4.  As an option, you can continue on Crestline until you hit Sidewinder (#24) and follow that uphill to add a little extra mileage, and get you to the exact same spot.  I turned left and went up Trail #4.

Trail 4: This is a multi-use trail, shared with ATVers, so again, watch out and keep your ears open.  This is a challenging climb, especially later in the season when the dirt is a lot softer.  There are a few mellow spots that you can use to build your momentum, and a few steep sections where you will wish you had more momentum.  But it is fairly short and you can rest at the top where it intersects with Sidewinder.  Here’s a picture of that intersection:

Stay straight on Trail #4 and you’ll come to another intersection where trail 4 heads decisively uphill (a significant climb if you’re ever interested), and Fat Tire Traverse (#42) continues straight.

Fat Tire Traverse: This is a fun, fairly short, connector trail.  It averages uphill from this direction, but is really no big deal.  If you’re tired at this point, kick it into an easier gear and spin some of that acid at of your legs.  There are no intersections or surprises on this trail.  It is a skinny single track with a bit of exposure and great views.  Lot’s of fun!  On your last climb out you’ll intersect trail #5–Freestone Ridge Trail.  This is a tough climb if you turn left.  I have yet to ride the whole thing clean.  It’s definitely doable, but I have yet to do it.  Once you’re legs feel ready (mine are not) definitely take #5 in the uphill direction.  But for now, I took it down (right).

Freestone Ridge Trail: This is an awesome descent! Lot’s of fun.  Lot’s of little jumps.  Very fast (30+mph).  Be ready on your breaks if you’re cookin’ because you might find an off angle waterbar that’ll send you into the bushes.  Enjoy this one while it lasts because it goes by really quick.  #5 will dump you onto a dirt road.  Turning right gets you back to the road that takes you into the Military Reserve, turning left takes you slightly uphill towards Three Bears–this is the direction you want to go.

Ride the road for a little ways and keep your eyes to the right.  There will be a marked intersection with an obvious trail heading slightly downhill to the creek.  Follow this trail across the creek and up the hill to intersect with Three Bears.  Turn left and head uphill on Three Bears (#26).

Three Bears: The only section of Three Bears you’ll be doing in this ride is a fun, but (by now) taxing hill.  It winds its way with a pretty consistent grade, uphill until you meet up with Shane’s Trail.  There is a false summit on this section of uphill, so don’t get your hopes up until you see the trail marker.  Three Bears continues to the left, and Shane’s goes straight.  Stay Straight.

Shane’s Trail: This is a very fun descent initially, followed by a relatively minor uphill and then a level section and another quick descent.  The trail will switch back a couple times, then it will try to dump you out onto Rocky Canyon Rd, so be careful.  You’ll be flying downhill and it will look like you want to go straight, but there will be a sneaky little trail that jets off to your right and back towards the Mil Reserve main trails.  This little right turn is what you want.  Here’s a Google Earth shot of the intersection:

Take that trail to the right and follow it around the hill and eventually downhill where it intersects with Bucktail Trail (#20A). You’ll know you’re at the intersection, and you’ll have three options (hard right, middle right, and straight).  You want middle right.  So cross the fence and take a right at the sign, going downhill on a windy trail.  If you cross a creek, you’ve gone the wrong way.

Bucktail Trail: This trail is really fun.  It’s very windy, and you can ride it fast.  It always seems to have a lot of traffic on it when you’re going downhill though.  Enjoy the ride.  There are no intersections until you come to a chain link fence where the trail will “T”.  You want to take the downhill option and the bear right at the next intersection onto Ridge Crest Trail (#20).

Ridge Crest Trail: This guy will take you sharply downhill past the gun range, hook left and then dump you out on a road and bridge.  This is where you would have ended up if you turned right at the end of Trail #5.  Turn left on the bridge, then immediately left onto the trail on the other side of the creek.  Continue on this fun, level trail until you go slightly downhill into a very short wooded section with a sharp left hand turn.  Once you come out of this little wooded section, keep an eye to the right of the trail, looking for a marker leading you to the Military Reserve Connection Trail.  You want to turn right on this trail, cross the road, and start heading uphill.  Here’s a picture:

Military Reserve Connection: This trail was really hard for me today.  At this point in the ride, I felt like I had hit my uphill limit.  This trail is not anymore steep than anything ridden so far, but it had my number.  I slogged through it in my easiest gear and was glad to be done when I hit the top.  When you’re at the top, turn right on the dirt road and take your first left onto Kestrel trail (#39A).

Kestrel Trail: Nothing really special about this trail.  It is a dirt sidewalk that makes for a quick descent.  It’s a nice bit of recovery for legs that are tired of climbing!  Follow this trail until you hit a “Y” intersection marked as Kestrel and Owl’s Roost (#37).  Take the left trail.

Owl’s Roost: This is another dirt sidewalk that is no big deal, but a nice recovery descent.  You will quickly come to a “Y” intersection with an anti-bicycle sign.  If you were to stay straight you’d be on a hiker only trail, so take the left option and cruise past the privileged path.  This trail will dump you out onto 8th St and the parking lot that you started at.

Total miles for this trip was about 20.2 miles.

Trail conditions today (4/11/11) were awesome.  Scott’s Trail was a bit muddy in spots and needs to be walked near the top/middle, but its nothing that’ll ruin your ride.  Everything was nearly perfect.  There were a few puddles but they were very small.  Overall, a perfect day of riding!

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~ by cardwelc on April 11, 2011.

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