An absolutely gorgeous high alpine ride, the shoreline of Loon Lake makes for a perfect lunch spot at the midpoint of this adventurous loop. The views of the crystal clear lake water and distant mountain peaks are well worth the long fire road return.
Need to Know
This loop has a bit of a reverse layout in that after a few initial climbs and descent to the lake, the ride ends with a nine mile stretch of gravel road to complete the loop. The grade is moderate, but vehicle traffic along the road can make things quite dusty.
From the small parking area off of Warren Wagon Road, start up the wide doubletrack heading due south. As you travel through Ruby Meadows you'll grunt up two steep climbs topping 6300 feet within the first four miles of the ride. Following the sign to Loon Lake, starting to descend toward Willow Basket Creek. After a few miles of nice downhill with some switchbacks and technical stretches, the trail opens up to a large grassy meadow. Here the trail can be wet and there are a few short bridges to cross.
Coming to a trail junction in the meadow, turn right on the Loon Lake Trail
and follow the trail just under two miles to the northern shoreline of the lake. Stop for a rest and take in the views of the peaks across the lake. Retrace your route back to the meadow junction. Turn right and the trail heads due east along Loon Creek toward the Secesh River. When you reach the river cross the bridge to the east side and turn north. From here it's approximately four miles to the Chinook Campground. From the campground, take the dirt access road to connect back up with Warren Wagon Road and make the long return up the mild uphill grade back to the parking area.