June 29, 2015
Tried this trail system out for the first time and were not impressed at all. First, we were going to try Al Quaal loop but the first section of the trail there was so rediculous that we turned around. When a place has a bronze imba center status, I don't expect to be riding on sandy tore up 4 wheeler trails.
Fine, one down, but whatever, moving on to the next loop, Malton Loop I believe it was called.
We decided to do Malton Loop to connector trail and then reevaluate and either take the Epic Loop back to the trailhead or continue on Epic to add several more miles.
Malton loop is very rustic and mostly untouched by the trail crew imo, which some people prefer, so if you are looking for a semi-technical rustic feel trail, this one will probably suit you better then anything I've found in Marquette. That being said, you had to ride on blacktop through town at one point (or maybe two) and the signage was a bit hard to spot. Make sure you review the map at the trailhead before you leave thoroughly, or you might think you took a wrong turn.
Ok fine, still not completely turned off to the trail yet...moving along. Eventually we got to a section where I did get pissed off. This trail goes right along a big ol rusty barb wire fence..Really? A barb wire fence? I'm not talking a small fence, I'm talking like a "hey we are bike riding next to a prison" fence!
So after riding next to this beast for what seemed like forever, I was done with this trail system.
One gem we found was the connector trail from Malton to Epic. It was awesome, looked and felt new, had some flow, and was all around a job well done! While it was only 1/2 mile long, it refreshed us enough to start enjoying the trip again. Then we hit Epic trail...
So I have to ask, if anyone in the Ishpeming club sees this, couple basic questions that I think anyone planning on riding this system should have answered. Is Epic a one way trail??? If so, where are the signs? If it is not a one way trail, where are the signs heading BACK from the connector trail??? Lastly, would it be too much to ask to put a dang sign up at every intersection? Seriously, you guys have plenty of signs up, but only about 50% of intersections we saw had signage?
Long story short, I just basically made several guesses at intersections to get back to the trailhead. At one point we were lost and had to backtrack. It was beyond rediculous.
For you peeps out there who try to do research on places before you go to them, that is the reason I'm writing such a long @ss review. Because there aren't any that I could find on this system.
I would not recommend Malton Loop to anyone. The fence riding was just too much for me to handle. The connector trail was awesome...too bad you have to take Malton Loop to reach it and its only 1/2 mile long. It would be worth a quick in and out off of Epic to check it out IMO. I can't really speak to Epic Trail because I was only on it for a couple miles before it turned into a dirt road that took you back through town. And I might have been riding it in reverse? I just don't know.
Whatever you do, do not take Malton to Epic and back, it just isn't worth the headache. Hope this helps someone, and good luck to RAMBA on improving these trails. There has to be good ones somewhere, I can't believe they would get a bronze status for what I was riding!