Red Tail features some of Calahan's most technical riding, and some of its best. Despite the difficult rating, most of the trail isn't that hard. The section of trail after Edmands Road, but before the hay field is difficult, the rest is no worse than intermediate.
Red Tail stays straight where Rocky Road
turns right, at a very washed out fork.
Red Tail continues north, descending through a pair of sharp switchbacks, but the wide trail mitigates the difficulty. Then it flows straight downhill passing an intersection with Wren on the right.
The intersection with Edmands Rd. comes up fast so be careful.
As soon as you cross the road, you'll notice a shift in the trail's tone. The trail narrows to singletrack and starts to take on a more technical feel. This tone shift is mostly true of all the trails on this side of the road.
The trail turns to the left and starts climbing, gently at first, but then the trail steepens. The trickiest part of this climbing comes quickly, a steep rooty climb upwards with a sharp right turn at the top. This is followed up by sustained climbing up the side of Gibbs Mountain to reach the top.
From here, things go downhill through a series of rock gardens. After the first, Gibbs Mountain Trail will be on your left, it climbs further up, and then down the other side of Gibbs Mountain, rejoining Red Tail a little later. After another rock garden, another fork, this time Red Tail stays left (if you go right, there is another left which will take you back to Red Tail and a right which is closed to cycling.)
Either way, the trail is now heading south-west, around the back side of Gibbs Mountain. Backpacker
turns off to the right here, and Gibbs Mountain Trail rejoins Red Tail from the left. Immediately after that, Shortcut will be on your right.
After Shortcut, Red Tail climbs again, but the angle is gentler, nothing like the previous climb up Gibbs Mountain. During the climbing, the Hayfield Access trail will be on your left. The climbing ends just as the trail leaves the woods into an open hillside hayfield.
The trail then descends through the field along it's left edge, through a section of fast, smooth and fun singletrack, before finally terminating at Pine Tree Loop
It's best to avoid climbing up the field, and instead take Shortcut. The descent from the top to Edmands Road is possibly the most technically challenging thing at Calahan, and lots of fun!