Riders will be thrilled with the variety of riding and landscapes that they experience in this 6ish mile loop There is a great mix of fast flowy and tight twisty singletrack that everyone will enjoy, including several technical rocky sections using rocks left behind by the last glacier that formed the beautiful St. Croix River Valley.
We also take advantage of some XC ski trails, limestone railroad bed, snowmobile trail and even a little paved bike path. We have technical rocky sections, which includes several very challenging sections that the last glacier that formed the beautiful St. Croix River Valley left for us to enjoy.
Some may just need to practice their trials skills in navigating across a few of these sections, or their cyclocross skills if thats not your cup of tea. This trail system covers almost 600 vertical feet, though you never realize it all at once.
Intersections/Segments on this trail system are marked with signs indicating direction of travel as well as difficulty level. This ride can be followed simply by following the Woolly Bike Club (W/B/C) signs.
Starting at the Polk County Information Center, follow the paved two-way bike path at the east end of the parking lot up a gradual hill approximately 1 mile for a good warm up before connecting up with the loop at the northwest corner of Lincoln and Maple. The trail veers off the bike path to the left, and continues until you reach the St. Croix falls high school parking lot.
Continue around the parking lot until you reach the sign marking the entrance to the West Ridge Trail of singletrack (trail marker #1) directly beside a large sign that says Community Fitness Trail. This is an advanced section of trail, with a lot of fast, tight, flowy singletrack along with some steep punchy climbs, a couple of longer leg-burning climbs and a rocky section to navigate through. Less advanced riders can bypass this section by continuing past the trailhead to this section, clockwise around the high school parking lot approximately 200 yards until you reach the the next WBC sign at the exit of the West Ridge singletrack. From there you continue north along the tree line following the signs for approximately mile, the trail then drops back into the trees, through a short section of singletrack which leads to a tar bike path. Follow the tar bike path, and make a sharp left after the bridge crossing onto the marked trail.
This trail (trail marker #9) marks the beginning of the Reserve Trail segment of the loop. Riders will enjoy the Reserve Trail for its mix of cross-country ski trail, and flowy singletrack. About half-way through this section you'll reach a signed intersection. Follow to the left for several challenging rock gardens that will truly test your bike handling abilities, or follow to the right to bypass this section. The trail continues on from there with a mix of flowy singletrack, and fast cross-country ski trails until you reach the Gandy Dancer state trail.
Turn left and head north on the state trail approximately 50 yards to the beginning of the Wissihickon Trail (trail marker #30). This section of trail is very fun for all with tons of fast, flowing singletrack that twists and turns through super hilly mature Oak forest. At the end of the Wissihickon Trail (trail marker #39), follow the sign to the left heading south on The Gandy Dancer State Trail for approximately mile where you can choose to continue along the state trail for an easy return to the beginning of the loop, or you can turn right at the sign marking the beginning of the advanced Big Oak Trail.
The Big Oak section starts off down a power line run with a 6 exhilarating bermed switchbacks, and continues on to include a bridge feature, some interesting dirt features, and lots of tight twisty singletrack before bringing you back to the beginning of the loop. If you have it in you, you can do another loop by following the trail to the right or you can follow the paved bike path to the left and enjoy a gentle coast back to the car.
After your ride, find something fun to do in St. Croix Falls or Taylors Falls such as visiting one of the many local state parks, wineries or enjoying the Scenic St. Croix River Valley.
History & Background
The Woolly Bike Club (W/B/C) got its start as a grass roots XC race put on by a small group of riders in the Taylors Falls/ St. Croix Falls area back in 2007. Having the St. Croix River Valley as our home, near parts of the historic "Ice Age Trail", the Woolly Bike Club found its unique yet fitting name. The W/B/C gained IMBA chapter status on June 12, 2012 and our goals are to expand our trail network, in a responsible sustainable way and to grow the mountain biking culture in one of the closest, most scenic area's to the Twin Cities. Our hope is that the St. Croix River Valley area becomes equally known for its mountain biking as it is for its camping, hiking, canoeing and day trips.