September 8, 2016
Great trail for those with good lungs. Elevation is mostly between 7500' and 8200' with a top elevation of 8400'. Combine that with some moderate climbs and it can test your fitness. If your going to shuttle, I prefer starting on the Spooner side and ending at Kingsbury parking lot. The trail seems directional to me when it comes to the technical aspects. As an intermediate rider, I can ride from Spooner to Kingsbury without bailing on all but a few features. From Kingsbury to Spooner, I have to get off my bike a couple dozen times. Weird, but true. You do give up descending about 3-4 miles of tasty flow that is on the North end when you ride this direction but that section is quite popular with hikers which interfere with the Zen like ride anyways. When you start at Spooner, be ready for some climbing to start. It's not beastly in grade, but it's fairly relentless. When you see the "bench" (literally, a log bench overlooking the lake), rest, hydrate, eat your Goo and enjoy the view for a moment. Then continue on my friends for incredible single track goodness. It's really a beautiful stretch of track. Stretches of flow, some shorter climbs, rocks, trees, views, exposure.... It's all here. Enough to keep your rapt attention, but nothing you need to be a pro or expert to finish.
Now, if I'm not going to shuttle, I prefer to start my out and back on the other side. I go from Kingsbury to the "bench" and then turn around. That's the section with most of the fun and you don't start off with a killer climb that way. In fact, you lose it altogether. Along with the corresponding downhill, I know. But honestly, if I'm looking for flow trail after a climb there's better alternatives very close by (aka. Coral trail). Another bonus is that, except for the 0.5 miles from the parking lot to the TRT proper, this doesn't seem like a popular spot with hikers. Probably because the trailhead isn't on a major US highway.
They have also recently completed the Sierra Canyon Trail that starts about 5 miles along the trail from Kingsbury. If you can, do it! After the best 5 miles on the regular trail, turn East at the trail marker for 9 miles of downhill pleasure. You drop about 4000' into the town of Genoa and then it's only a 15 minute drive to shuttle back up to Kingsbury. It's about 40 minutes to shuttle to Spooner from Genoa.