June 19, 2017
All in all a fun challenging ride, and a nice way to get away from the crowds. Several thoughts for a review. First, the climb up the 715 trail from the Mt Herman Road-Nursery Road THD is demanding. If you're not up for it, then you can lessen the initial demand of the ride by riding up the Mad Hatter, Renegade (Twisty Oaks) trails and then take the Mt Herman Road the rest of the way to where the 715 trail meets the road. It's nearly 6 miles of climbing, but the grades are moderate to easy. Second, there is now a partial loop around Mt. Herman. From the THD on the road on the south end of Mt Herman, follow the 715 trail mostly NW into Limbaugh Canyon. Then head down the canyon along the creek mostly NNE, all the way to the overlook of Palmer Lake (you'll know when you get there) on the north end of the ridge coming off Raspberry Mountain. From this overlook, you drop down a wide fun DH for just a minute or two, and take a right on a much smaller trail called "HZ Trail" (not an easy trail with rocky steep climbs). Follow this until it meets the "White Ghost Trail". Follow WG until it brings you out on Red Rocks Road where Renegade/Twisty Oaks meets RRR. That completes the partial loop. Third, there are a couple of places where you could go off in the wrong direction. One is on the south end of Mount Herman. After the initial steep loose climb up from the THD on Mt Herman Road, go maybe 200 meters on the gradual grade trail. Take the left turn here. Do not keep following what looks like the main trail. That heads N-NE, but you want to go WNW towards the drop into Limbaugh Canyon. The second place is the turn onto the HZ Trail mentioned above. It's really easy to blow right past that trail as you speed down the hill. Fourth, read the reviews on MTB Project for this loop and for "Mule" trail. Both descriptions are quite helpful for navigating.