The Lower Austin Loop is a mix of singletrack and old road bed. This loop is best
ridden counter-clockwise if only to finish on the fast and fun singletrack descent.
The ride starts climbing right away on single track. As the trail nears the base
of the larger foothills there is a rock cairn. Hang a right here and contour across
and over the next ridge into Mulkey Creek. Cross the creek and bushwhack
through the sage meadow about 50yds to the old road bed.
The climb up Mulkey Creek is gentle and a good warmup. You will pass a couple
signs marking an ATV road that heads steeply off to the right. Keep going up
Mulkey Creek another 100yds or so beyond these signs. Here you will find
another sign marking BLM Road #251. Duck under the bush and cross the
creek and start the hike-a-bike on this ATV trail.
The ATV trail soon gets gentle enough to pedal again but is still pretty steep. As
you climb, look across the canyon and notice the old road crossing the
hillside...this is where you are headed. Get an idea of where the two roads
come together and set your sights for this junction...it is easy to miss if you are
not paying attention.
Once at the junction, cross the shallow creek onto the old road bed. The sage is
tall here, but no problems riding through it. The old road wraps around the
hillside into the next drainage. When the road suddenly turns downhill, hang a
right onto a trail and continue contouring into the canyon.
This game trail gradually gets fainter, keep contouring and you will pick up
another game trail heading up the bottom of the gully. Follow this up to the
saddle ahead and a cow patch. Cross the cow patch and bear right onto a good
singletrack the drops down and crosses the next gully and stream. Go left and
Follow the singletrack down this canyon staying on the right side of the draw.
You will come to a series of 3 short, steep, washed out sections of trail,
immediately after these is a junction. Go left (the right hand trail looks better
but goes nowhere) and down crossing the stream and gully to the left side (see
photo in tab above). Continue down into the grove of trees.
At the trail junction in the lower end of the trees go left and follow this back to
the trail head. This last couple of miles of trail is super fun when smooth. If the
cows are out and it has been raining, the trail gets rough with hoof prints. So
ride this in Spring or Fall when there are no cows.