Loop from Mil Reserve to Hull’s Gulch

Today was a triple header for me.  I started out in the morning with this ride, went for a tandem road ride with my wife, then came back and rode Lower Hull’s to Crestline and down Red cliffs.  Good Day!

Here’s the rundown for this loop:

Start at Military Reserve heading out on Cottonwood Creek Trail
Turn left onto Ridge Crest
Turn right onto Central Ridge Trail
Stay straight onto Shane’s Loop
Head down on Three Bears
Up Freestone Ridge Trail
Left onto Fat Tire Traverse with a brief stint on Trail 4
Turn left onto Sidewinder
Take a right onto Crestline
Down Hull’s Gulch
Continue onto Kestrel Trail
Back to the car via Mil Reserve Connection and Mountain Cove.

Total miles was 14.91.

Heres’ the map:


Cottonwood Creek Trail (#27): This is a wholly uninspiring dirt sidewalk.  There really isn’t anything to it.  A car could drive on it and not realize it was a trail.  It does go by a cool cliff, but that’s about the only neat thing I can draw out of this trail.  It’s a short and expedient start to this ride, but next time, I’ll park the car lower and ride in on something else.

Ridge Crest (#20): Ridge crest takes off uphill and is deceptively steep.  It is not technical or very long, but it sure doesn’t look as steep as it feels.  Here’s a Google Earth profile:

Central Ridge Trail (#22): Taking a right immediately at the top of the hill puts you on this trail, which meanders gently uphill until you reach the intersection of Shane’s (straight ahead), Bucktail (left), and Three Bears (across the fence and left).  Here you want to keep plowing ahead and get on Shane’s Trail.

Shane’s Trail (#26A): Shane’s is a fun singletrack that goes uphill in this direction.  There are several spots where you can really pick up the speed, but ultimately, it ends in an uphill grind to the intersection of Three Bears (#26).  In my opinion, Shane’s is a lot more fun going the other direction, where you can really take advantage of the twists and turns it provides.  There will be one intersection you will come to when the trail “T”s off.  If you turn right you’ll end up on Rocky Canyon Rd.  Obviously, you want to continue up hill and to the left.

Three Bears (#26): At the intersection of Shane’s and Three Bears you’ll have the option of turning right (uphill) or staying straight and heading downhill.  Luckily, we’re going straight.  This downhill is truly awesome! It’s windy with well banked turns when you need them and fun little berms you can get a little air off of.  The only bummer is that you really have to watch for uphill traffic (which you will almost certainly have).  There are only a few blind corners, so pay attention and slow down on these, but if you’ve got a clear sight line, open it up a little and enjoy.  I wish this trail were longer!  You will come to an intersection way too early with the option to turn sharply to the left (wrong way) or to the right.  You want to go right and continue heading downhill to the creek.  Once you get to the creek, drop to an easy gear, cross and climb steeply uphill for 50 or so feet.  The trail will level off and dump you onto a dirt road.  Take the road to the left until you come to an intersection where you can continue straight on the road (wrong) or turn right onto trail 5.  Turn right and start climbing uphill.

Freestone Ridge Trail (#5): If you read my last review of this trail you’ll remember me saying how awesome it was because of its speed potential and fun factor.  Well, that was all because in that review I was describing the trail in the downhill direction.  So, reverse all that, and you’ll know what to expect here.  Going up Trail 5 is a lot of work, even if you’re going to cut it a bit short and turn onto Fat Tire Traverse.  It is consistent in its uphill-ness, and throws in two extra steep climbs along the way.  These two climbs are relatively short, but they are real workers.  The nice thing is that they are not technical.  All you need is a little leg and a lot of guts and you’ll be rewarded at the top with a level spot or slight downhill for a little recovery.  The intersection for Fat Tire Traverse is almost immediately after the second steep hill.  If you were to continue straight you’d be in for some significant climbing on Trail 6.  I’m saving this trail for a little later when I get my legs back under me.  So, for now, take a left at Fat Tire.

Fat Tire Traverse (#42): This trail is a lot of fun in this direction.  It is primarily downhill, pretty narrow, and very turny.  There are a few exposed turns where you really need to lose some speed in order to keep from flinging yourself off the hill and into the hospital, but those turns are rather noticeable, just don’t go balls-to-the-wall on every turn.  If you see a right turn ahead of you and you only see skyline on the other side, bleed a little speed and maintain traction.  This trail makes a great recovery from the climb you just did, so enjoy it.  Lot’s of fun!

Trail 4: At the top of 42 you’ll connect with trail 4 and ride it very briefly uphill to the intersection of Sidewinder.  Turn left once you crest the hill, onto Sidewinder.  Here’s a picture of the intersection:

Sidewinder (#24): Pure Awesomeness.  Sidewinder starts off uphill, but it’s a fast uphill, then starts descending with a bunch of turns and twists.  You can catch a lot of speed down this guy and you will be very entertained throughout.  There are a couple sections of rock that add a little variety, but it’s mostly fast single track.  The only bummer is that this is a very popular trail in the uphill direction, so you will almost always be sharing it.  If you are lucky enough to have these downhill turns to yourself, a word of caution may be in order: several of the turns appear to be well banked, and they are, but they are often only banked through half of the turn.  So if you see a banked corner, don’t rely on that bank to protect an aggressive lean through the entire corner.  Sidewinder will dump you out onto Crestline trail with the option of going left or right, we’re taking a right here.

Crestline (#28): Despite Crestline being fairly wide and untechnical, I always really enjoy it.  It is fast in either direction, has some fun corners, a few little pumpers, and one high berm.  The nice thing about it being wide is that you can let oncoming traffic ride by you without putting a foot down.  This isn’t true for every part of the trail, but mostly.  Crestline will end at a creek.  Cross the creek in an easy gear and turn left, uphill, through a little rocky section, this will be the start of Lower Hull’s Gulch.

Lower Hull’s Gulch (#29): This is one of the funner downhills in Camelsback Park.  It’s got some minorly technical spots and you barely have to turn a pedal to ride it if you don’t want to.  The only major bummer of this trail is that you really have to watch out for pedestrians or any other traffic from the other direction.  There are lot’s of little rocky sections that’s fun to pick your way through and there’s one bonified technical rock section that most people walk, but is totally rideable.  Here is a picture of that rocky section:

Rocky section from the uphill side

And from the other side:

Rocky section from the downhill side

As you cruise down you’ll see (or be surprised by) a trail that branches off to the right.  I like to take this trail but you don’t have to.  Going straight will get you to the same place.  But if you see it, might as well take it.  You’ll cross a little bridge, and then you’ll reach another intersection.  The trail will appear to go straight with an option to go to the left.  Turn left here.  Again, if you don’t, you’ll still be fine, you’ll just get dumped out on 8th St Ext, and your double-track time will come to a very slightly shorter end.  Following the left option, you’ll approach another little bridge over a creek, to your left will be Red Cliffs, to the right will be the trail that gets you to the parking lot on 8th St (I don’t know if this is technically still Red Cliffs, or Hull’s).  Turn right just after the bridge and follow the trail into the parking lot, bearing left along the fence to get you onto Kestrel.

Kestrel Trail (#39A): Kestrel trail is another fairly uninspiring trail that takes you gradually uphill.  It is very untechnical with no surprises.  Bear to the right whenever you have the chance and you will be dumped onto a dirt road.  Ride the road to the gate and sign and look to your left for the Military Reserve Connection.

Mil Reserve Connection (#23): This trail goes stoutly downhill with an uphill section that you can carry your momentum through to barely have to pedal.  It is fun, with berms and turns, but you really need to keep your eye open for traffic in the opposite direction.  Especially at the start of the trail, there are a couple blind corners that can cause some collisions.  However, whenever you’ve got a good sight line, you can really get some fun speed up.  23 will dump you out onto the road, which you will cross to connect up with Mountain Cove, once you reach this intersection, turn right.

Mountain Cove (#22C): We’re meeting this trail in the middle, so it’ll be fairly short, but it is fun, relatively flat, and can be fast depending on traffic.  Mountain Cove will dump you out right back at the start of 27 and right back at your car.

Trail Conditions for this loop were absolutely perfect (4/14/11).  Except for the creeks I didn’t have a wet wheel for the whole ride.

Overall, this is a great loop, but if you’re looking for a purely fun ride, with less work, a lot of these trails (#5 and #26A in particular) should be ridden in the opposite directions.


~ by cardwelc on April 14, 2011.

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