“This is an alternative to the typical North Rim/Guardian loop.”
— Ben Doney
Multi-use trail, closed during wet weather
This is a different, but no less challenging and fun ride than the North Rim Trail
and Guardians Trail
loop. There is less climbing but still some technical riding, which makes it perfect for an intermediate level ride. It should be noted that there is a creek crossing which is passable except in the spring, where high waters make it dangerous to damn near impossible to cross.
is a fun and challenging 2 miles, growing increasingly rough and technical the further East you ride. When you drop down to Middle Trail
, you continue upwards you'll have a good climb to B Trail
I think the best part of this ride comes after the creek crossing on South Rim Trail
. From 10 Mile House road, the trail is a lot of fun and starts of with narrow singletrack among the oak trees. After a steep climb you'll find yourself close to the canyon wall with some great vistas and an overlook of Iron Canyon (lots of Lovejoy Basalt). From this point on, it's rough and rocky. You'll be much happier if you brought a full suspension bike!
Need to Know
You can start this loop at the 5 Mile Recreation area, or just about anywhere on the Upper Park road. The parking lot at Wildwood Park (at the roundabout) is approximately where the GPS track starts.
This track starts off by riding through the oak trees to the North of Big Chico Creek and follow the trail East towards "Easter Cross." From here, you'll be on Middle Trail
for about a mile until you cross a small arroyo directly under "Monkey Face." Continue East for about 100 feet and take a left onto Upper Trail
. After about 1.5 miles, follow Upper Trail
to a fork, where you'll take a right. This is a fast and rough down hill to Middle Trail
. At Middle Trail
, turn left and continue East until you come to B Trail
Take a right on B Trail
down to the Park Road and take a left. You'll reach the end of the Park Road after a quick descent, and continue on the trail to the creek crossing. Take the short trail up to 10 Mile House Trail
and take a right.
There is a post marker for South Rim Trail
, but the writing is worn off. Just look for a LARGE rock on the left side of the road, a square metal post, and the trail leading off to the right. Stay on South Rim Trail
and it will take you up a steep, miserable scramble fondly known as Tennis Ball Hill. It's the worst part of this ride, but if you can ride the whole thing you should get a medal! At the top you'll take a right and continue on until you hit pavement.
The pavement is Centennial Ave, and you'll take a right on this, riding until you come to the 5 Mile Recreation Area. There is a paved bike path through the area that leads to a pedestrian bridge. Cross the bridge back over to the North side of the creek. This will lead you back to the flat oak tree area where you first started the ride. You can also take a right on the small access road, and then a left onto Upper Park Rd. This will take you back out towards the entrance to Upper Park and Wildwood Park area.