This is the short version of the Mound Loop, and is on average 30-45 minutes in length. It is basically a long slow downhill, some mixed terrain, and then a long slow climb.
The route begins with Gneiss & Smooth
, a fairly moderate trail with a few difficult features. It's mostly downhill and it's easy to keep your speed up most of the way. There are several rock gardens and dry stream crossings which may be challenging for the beginner.
After the second gravel crossing, Chert Dip
begins. It starts with a technical rocky section and a white-knuckle downhill. It then turns into a series of technical climbs as it makes its way back up the mound. The two named climbs are Dr. Evil's rock garden, and Crux Climb, which is just below 5 Corners.
Taking a right at 5 Corners, Serpentine Climb
begins on the left. This is a tight and twisty but sustained climb. A mile into this you reach a fork, taking a left bails you out to the ski trail, and taking a right takes you onto the most technical trail in Blue Mound, Holy Schist
The short Mound Loop takes a left at the crossroads, opting for a little more climbing on intermediate singletrack before coming to the ski trail and eventually the parking lot.