“A great short loop with views of the Sierra and Truckee Meadows.”
— george hayduke
None, although when it's wet, the mud WILL gum up the works, making riding pretty much impossible.
Typical of the area, this is a rocky ride with some steep climbs. That said, it more than doubles the length of singletrack available from the Zipper Loop
and can be linked for longer rides.
There are great views west of the Sierra and the Truckee Meadows. From the top of the Zipper (aka Little Stonehenge or formerly the Flaming Chicken) is a great view north along Spanish Springs Canyon and Wingfield Springs.
Need to Know
Because this ride begins and ends in a flash flood catch basin, if you are caught in a sudden and severe downpour, you may not be able to get out the same way you came in. Sit it out or hike out over higher ground to the north, east or south.
From the gate at the start point, ride over the berm and across the catch basin (sump) and follow the trail up the canyon. This is loose, rocky and sandy in spots. At approximately 3/4 mile, you'll come to a split. The trail can be ridden in either direction, but turning left and riding counter-clockwise here is preferred.
Turning left will take you up the bottom of a narrow draw for another 1/2 mile until you come out on a jeep road. Crossing the road, look for your track on the left as it continues up the hill between rock outcrops. The trail get steeper and looser as you progress until you reach Zipper West - a series of switchbacks that will take you to the top of the ridge where you come out on another jeep road.
Go straight across the jeep trail and stay to the right where the trail splits. Here the trail narrows as you climb the last section to the top of Canoe Hill.You'll be climbing north until you hit a few more wide switchbacks, cross one more jeep road and top the ridge at the Rock Pile (see pic).
Just below the Rock Pile is a flat that is the top of the Zipper. The metal post used to sport a flaming chicken that doubled as a trail sign (see pic). Someone stole it years back. There is a ring of rocks here that has been dubbed by some locals as Little Stonehenge. From the edge of these rocky bluffs you can see most of Spanish Springs Canyon and Wingfield Springs. Head south (right) along the trail that climbs to the top of the ridge again.
You'll continue along the ridge top until you reach the well-traveled gasline road. Cross it and pick up the trail a bit to your left. From here you'll take swooping curves down the mountain until you cross back over gasline road.
After maybe another half mile, you'll find yourself at the top of the draw you rode up at the start. There are several options to get back to the Y. Staying left at every junction and on the south side of the gully is the easiest route. Riding along the north side of the gully is twisty, more technical, and more fun. To do this aim for the big watering station that looks like a stubby carport. The trail is immediately downhill from the station.
Whichever way you go, you'll find yourself back at the very first split. Follow the trail you rode in a short distance back to your vehicle.