Ranger is the main loop of BCWT and recently extended. Additional trails at BCWT are clearly marked and stem from Ranger.
Ranger begins to the right of the trailhead and across the fire road. SxSW
is the first loop off of Ranger followed by Dragonfly
, Broken Arrow, Crooked Tree
, Copperhead Ridge, Man Bites Dog
, Lower 40, Highway Rim
, Emerald Lake, Pack Mule
, SOS, and Texas Sunset
The longest of the trails at BCWT, Ranger has a good mix of descents, flat ground through trees along creeks, and of course climbs. After the last outbound creek crossing a gradual climb begins up to Camp Wisdom Road and the Highway Rim
loop. Stay left at the Highway Rim
split to stay on Ranger and begin to work your way back to Prayer Mtn.
Ranger extends out under the powerlines and over to Eagle Ford road where the Emerald Lake loop split begins as drainage tunnels under the road. Stay left and work your way around the "bowl", hit a nice little stone armored creek crossing and back under the powerlines.
Now begins the climb back up to the top of Prayer Mtn. The first is a nicely packed dirt climb to the top of a small hill. A quick descent is followed up by a slow climb to the notable brick climb. This climb doesn't look bad, especially since the greater portion of it is armored with brick allowing for great traction. Its the last 20 feet or so in the loose rock that really pegs your heart rate. There is a bypass option but it's not much easier and about 100 feet longer.
At the top, there's small wooden bench to the right to rest and sip on water. Pack Mule
follows around the bend and to the right. What remains of Ranger is, for the most part, gentle ups and downs back to the trailhead.
Part of the Big Cedar Wilderness Trails.