February 18, 2016
As a person so new to the MTB scene I wont presume to get too technical with this review in terms of what makes a trail "good or bad" because who am I to say? Instead I want to target more people who are true beginners like me who might want to know if this trail is really for them. It's hard to know where to start as a beginner because Mountain Bikers are typically in pretty good shape, so their "beginner" level and ours dont always exist in the same reality. :)
I just started mountain biking. I'm a big guy at 280lbs but I have been riding my road bike about 40-50 miles a week for a couple of months now. So my legs are pretty strong and used to pedaling, but I have never mountain biked before this year.
So from other reviews and the description here, this trail seemed like a great place for a beginner to go. I was not disappointed at all with what I found. It's a perfect trail for beginners because there are so many options. If you get on a trail that is too tough just turn around and take the fork the other way.
First of all the Brown Ranch trail head is the nicest trailhead I've ever seen. There are bathrooms and a visitors center, maps... It's all very clean, dare I say fancy. The trails are super clearly marked and very well maintained. I have zero complaints about the conditions of the trails they were totally awesome.
The trail I started with was Brown Ranch road (which begins at the trailhead) to Maverick Trail. This is a great way to start your trek in this park. It's a wide road that is smooth. A couple of small hills to warm you up and get the blood flowing.
Maverick trail was actually quite a challenge for me. I decided to take it for that very reason, the trail marker indicated that it was a narrow trail with some climbs and I wanted to do that while I was fresh. Man, so much fun. If you are like me and are not in great shape, just be prepared to stop a few times. It's an undulating trail with a ton of short climbs and descents. Some of the downhills have some little bunny hop jumps on them which was a blast, I actually got what was probably 1 inch of air, lol, but I still felt super cool.
All in all it was a tough trail for me, but there was nothing I wasn't able to do, it was just hard.
By the time Maverick trail met Watershed trail I was pretty gassed, so I took the short cut down to the powerline road and took that to Balanced rock trail. My aim was to get to Granite mountain and do the loop.
I felt kindof bad at first for taking the powerline trail, but I got over it quickly because while it's wide and pretty easy, there are still some ups and downs that get the blood flowing. Still I was able to ride it all the way to Balanced Rock trail without stopping.
Balanced rock trail was a ton of fun. It's filled with burms and twists and turns. It's a pretty steady climb all the way to Granite mountain loop but nothing too crazy.
Granite mountain loop was a lot of fun, more of the same ups and downs. There were a couple of fairly steep hills, but again, I was able to pedal up them all, though I would stop at the top to catch my breath after most of them. You aren't gaining a ton of elevation on any of these trails, but you are constantly climbing and descending and it's definitely taxing.
From there I took the powerline trail back as far to Whiskey bottle trail and took that to Latigo trail which took me back to the trailhead.
Latigo, lets talk about Latigo trail. Everything was fine until right at the end, I mean you are literally at the Trailhead and you can see your car when this trail goes from relatively easy to the hardest thing I had done all day. There are these steep descents with pretty big rocks all over and you're kindof cutting between big rocks. I dont even know if it was super hard, it was just pretty intimidating and combine that with the fact that I was super tired by this point, I didn't even attempt those sections, I just got off and walked the bike through them. Still I call it a victory that this was the only point where I had to get off the bike, but next time out here I will definitely avoid Latigo until I'm stronger (and lighter :) )
All in all Strava had me at riding 10 miles total and it took me just under 2 hours.
I would say this is a great trail for beginners. dont be too intimidated. The really good thing about this place is if you find any trail too difficult you can move on to a different one, and if all else fails you can just ride Brown Ranch road and the powerline road, still get a workout and you're still biking offroad, which is fun in itself.
The trail is not without perils, there are a couple sections that are a little sketchy with sand or tight turns in descents. I played it safe on all my descents and rode my brakes, probably more than I needed to but I didn't want to crash.
I hope this review is helpful to other beginners who might be considering a trip out here. I loved this place and will definitely be back.
Lost dutchman mountain bike trail.