This lollipop with an extended spur makes for a great 2-4 hour out-and-back ride that's well marked, includes lung and leg bursting climbing, followed by enough rowdy descending to make it worthwhile.
This hiker/biker/dog-shared route is ridden counter-clockwise to help manage the use. Multiple 'bail-out' points such as fire roads and alternate trailhead parking lots make this a great route to challenge your limits with increased ease and safety.
Bring plenty of water as the trail gets lots of sun, and please share the trail with other users.
The trail is generally well-marked with clear signage at almost every intersection. Extending the Miners Loop for the additional counter-clockwise Black Mountain summit loop means turning off the singletrack up fire road for a short section that is not as well-marked, so keep your eyes peeled. A well-traveled path and the MTB Project mobile app
made navigating this section fairly easy.
The trail is ridden-in well, and designed using modern trail building techniques consisting of smooth, flowy hardpack along natural ridgeline terrain. Berms and some bits and bops of technical rocks and man-made chunk are thrown in throughout. These combined with tight switchbacks, punchy climbs, fast rolling sections, technical features on the side of the trail that are optional, and steady sustained climbing make for an engaging experience for most of the way up.
Turning off the singletrack and onto the fire road for the final push to Black Mountain summit changed the tune of the ride - the final section consisted of baseball-to-melon-sized loose rocks on a fairly steep incline, making this section's climb and descent more unforgiving than the majority of the trail.
Once you've taken in the views from the summit of Black Mountain it's time to double-back. Follow the road down, dodging those large rocks as best as possible and then turn left on the Nighthawk Trail
followed by the next left on the Miner Ridge Loop to Nighthawk Trail
. You'll find yourself at the southern end of the Miner Ridge Loop
This time, hang a right to complete the counter-clockwise loop you started earlier. The way down includes fast singletrack and a few section so of stair-step drops that make for a fun and rowdy descent. Where the "lollipop" portion of Miner's Ridge Loop Trail connects back to the stem, riders could head to the left for another climb that would lead to a steep and fast descent on the Glider Point Trail
. Or, keep straight (as mapped) to descend to the Lilac Canyon Trail
and then the Ahwee Trail
to return to the start of the ride.