Do not let the quarter mile 100' initial ascent discourage you. An enjoyable mix of well shaded beginner through advanced trails awaits. The 2 beginner loops follow the edge of the plateau while the 5 intermediate and 3 difficult loops branch off of these to dip in and out of the ravines. The layout provides opportunity to easily pick and choose which loops to ride, skip, or repeat. There are plenty of roots to rattle your cage a bit and test your skills.
The intermediate trails have a few obstacles and wide to narrow bridges built in. The advanced trails have tougher root and rock segments, more technical features to try if desired and skinnies instead of bridges in some cases. The greatest man-made features include: a large wooden bermed S-curve spanning a ravine on Jubilee
; deck, bridge, sitting/viewing area combo on Jubilee
A lap through here will make you work yet is fun enough that you'll turn around to go again!
The parking and trailhead area has a shelter with picnic tables, large map of the trail system, and pit toilets.
The ride begins on the paved path from the parking area, crosses Blackhawk Creek, climbs past Kickapoo Down
exit, angles right, and continues climbing a bit on the pavement until the Kickapoo Up
entrance on the Left. Kickapoo Up
is the singletrack beginning. (If you are looking to do green trails only, bypass Kickapoo and continue to the top on the paved path until Comlara Loop
). By the time you finish climbing Kickapoo Up
you'll have ascended 100' over a quarter mile. At the top of Kickapoo Up
turn Right. You are now on Comlara Loop
. Comlara and Farmdale loops are the two beginner and core trails to which all the intermediate and advanced loops are attached. Cross the paved path and continue into the trees again on Comlara. At the next intersection continue straight onto Farmdale Loop.
From this point on, continue the pattern of keeping to the Right. Go Right to enter each loop and go Right when exiting each loop.
1st offshoot loop: L.T.
(difficult). You could be carrying some speed here so be careful because it begins with a tight right turn root drop. This loop has the longest and most challenging climbs of the ride. Basically, through a series of interesting wiggles and turns it ends up at the bottom of the ravine, crosses the stream twice, and then climbs back out to hook up with Farmdale Loop again.
Second offshoot loop: Jubilee
(intermediate) has the marvelous wooden bermed S-curve, several other bridges of varying widths, and plenty of twists as it skirts it way up and down the side of the ravine. One of the bridges in this loop is made into a deck with benches to just chill for a spell and enjoy the wooded scenery.
3rd offshoot: Sugar Bottom
(intermediate) is not as twisty as the prior two loops. It still contains its fair share of roots though.
4th offshoot: Rock Cut
(intermediate) has a fairly tight right hand turn near the start, a gentle climb and then a steep tight left descending switchback. After this it is a rip roaring descent that propels you well into the next climb.
5th offshoot: Palos
(difficult) includes three assorted skinny options. The technical feature seeker will not want to miss this loop.
6th offshoot: Kettle Moraine
(intermediate) has some fast cornering along with a few tighter, root infested turns and a little tougher climb back up to Farmdale again.
On Farmdale stick Right at the next intersection to pick up Comlara Loop
again. (Farmdale goes left.)
7th offshoot: Blue Mound
(difficult) is the most technically difficult of the three black trails here. It includes: some short, steep, rooty descents; short steep climbs; skinnies for bridges; and rock gardens. There are few ride-arounds on this loop. Bring your A game for this section.
Final offshoot: Kickapoo Down
(intermediate) is fast and furious. It has a few armored segments and an optional small drop. Be prepared for the short left, right switchback choke point just before you pop out onto the paved path a bit downhill from where you started the singletrack on Kickapoo Up
One last choice remains -- call it good and go Right back to the car OR go Left and do it all again!