April 17, 2013
I give this trail a 5 because I was really surprised at how challenging it was. Granted, on my low end rental 29er hardtail with flat plastic pedals it was much harder than it should have been, but I am surprised there are not more reviews of this trail. I will rectify that. I parked at
Wildcat, though there are two parking areas. What started out as an unassuming wide-ish singletrack turned into a fairly steep climb littered with scree and some large chunder for 2-3 miles. The trail had some mud but most of the trail was dry and easy to ride with lots of flow even in the climbs. After about 1.5 miles of climbing you encounter a parking area called 'horse camp, and here the trail splits. I rode, and would recommend, going left and staying on wildcat to ride the loop clockwise. The climb continues and you are rewarded with spectacular views of Seattle and large rolling alpine forest near the top. After 3-4 miles you will intersect with Vista trail, which I would avoid only because there is no vista after the brief 5 minute climb and only accesses another parking area from the parks many, many fire roads. Stay right to go on Beaver pond. Not long after you have the option for another smaller loop via Gold Creek/Plummer trail, which unfortunately I did not have the time to explore in the late afternoon. It is mostly downhill or rolling flats from here back to the intersection at horse camp, through lush green Pacific NW forest. A bit disconcerting when you are alone in the late afternoon on your first ride here, it is still a magnificent trail through serene dense forest. Once you intersect Horse Camp, the ride is a blast downhill. I'd honestly recommend a medium FS travel bike for this trail; there are some kickers and several chunky rock sections that would be a full on tech-fest on the right steed. Will definitely go back.
many trails in NC, with different foliage