September 12, 2004
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Reviewed by: Maddog
Cross Country Rider
I've actually ridden in this area twice after being suckered by the above description. I also wanted to see what other trails were up there as an alternative to McGill. I rode these trails on 8-15-04 and 5-8-04 on my steel hardtail due to the climbing which is very steep.
From the fire station the initial climb is 1.5 miles most of which I had to walk. Steep, loose, chewed up by motos. These are all moto,ATV and Jeep trails.The Cold Springs trail is #116. At 1.5 there is a short descent then 1.6 miles of gradual climb. This brings you to Trail #115 which is a jeep road.
Here is where the description needs updating. #115 is not singletack. Turn left and there are gradual climbs along the ridge with many roads to explore. Turn right as described, and there are 4 steep, loose, brutal hike-a-bikes of at least .2 to .4 miles with descents down the other side before you get to the singletrack after about 3 miles. The ST is trail#117 which has about 1.5 miles of great trail before traversing an ATV trail then dropping back to town. This drop is not steep but rattles your bones over about 2.5 miles of baby head rocks.
I did this loop the first time but did an out and back the second time. The out and back was more fun despite the hard walk ups on #115 both directions. The descent on 116 (3 miles) is great with small jumps and dips and the switchbacks I walked up. Loop is about 14 miles, out and back 10.27. The out and back has about 4.5 miles of downhill ST while the loop only has 1.5. That's why I recommend the out and back if you do this area.
If you don't mind tough climbs with some walk-ups (for most people) on loose trail this area is good. Do the out and back for more ST fun. For me, I may wait for some rain to pack the loose stuff down for better climbing but I won't do these trails anytime soon. It is different from McGill. Steeper, but not very technical. A free OHV map of the whole area is available at the ranger station down Lockhart Valley road.
Out and back on 116 to 115 to 117 and back. Turn right on 115. Left gives you some jeep road exploring.
Other recommended trails in the same area:
McGill and other Mt. Pinos trails. Trail 114 is good but short. FS roads 9N21 and 9N19 can get you up to the ridge.