October 4, 2015
What a fun trail! We rode right from the cabin in town so our ride ended up being just over 20 miles and about 2435 feet of climb. Once you leave the pavement there are several miles of climbing a rocky/gravel road. Despite being a gravel grind keep your eyes open for wildlife. We passed through a couple different heards of deer and scared up a few turkeys. Oh yeah, there are chipmunks everywhere! You will pass a gate and the trail starts to become more of a singletrack. It's still a road but starting to get a little over grown for anything wider than a couple of feet. This road must have been built as a mining or logging road way back in the day because in places the road bed is wide enough for two lanes. About 4-5 miles up you come to a junction and the singletrack takes off to the left. Here is where it starts to get a little more technical. There are rock gardens and tree roots. Some may elect to walk a section or two but most of it is ridable by skilled riders. This continues on for a few miles and you come to the final climb up to Blackwell Lake. Take some time and enjoy the views, maybe have some lunch while you are here. As you leave the lake there are some steep climbs. These steep climbs were the reason I bumped this ride from intermediate to advanced. Most of the climbs are reasonably smooth but a few of them have rocks, baby heads and death cookies. It's going to take a really strong pair of legs to climb all of these climbs. Once you finally reach the crest the trail takes a steep turn back down towards Lick Creek Rd. This section is known for its moon dust and loose conditions. Watch for obstacles hidden in the moon dust. You will switch back several times before popping out on the gravel road a couple of miles up from the pavement. From here head on down to your car or like we did it, back to town. This route is used for the Xterra triathlon and I would love to watch some of the pros ride a few of these sections. I'll bet they make it look so much easier than I did.
Ride safe and have fun!