There are rides with more vertical climbing, but this route will still feel like a much harder ride. The ascents are steep and continue for as long as 2.5 miles. Very little of this trail is flat and it's a great ride to get the lungs and legs burning.
Need to Know
$10 fee to use parking area for this ride.
You start at the Skunk Hollow Parking area, and almost immediately the climbing begins. Rocky switchback trails climbs for more than 2 miles until you reach the summit. A very short downhill leads to more steep climbing. After more climbing you'll reach a swift downhill with switchbacks. Again, after this short downhill, you'll begin climbing again.
From here, the trail continues in this manner for 9 miles before reaching a wide open valley and some flat fireroad riding at Cronan Ranch Road (dirt)
. At the Cronan Ranch Trailhead Sign you head right for more shallow climbing up the fireroad to a quick downhill. Watch for the trail sign on the left as you head down the Up Down Trail
leading to the South Fork ART Connector
to Magnolia Ranch and begin the climb to the top of this hill.
Great views of the American River abound to your right until you summit and begin the fast switchback downhill to the creek. Crossing the creek twice you'll come to a split and Gerle Loop Trail. Head left up the fireroad until you reach Magnolia Ranch Parking area. The Gerle Loop Trail continues to the right past the parking area around the hill and rejoins the trail you descended on from the summit of the connector trail.
Follow the South Fork ART Connector
reverse back to the Up Down Trail
take a left continue down the trail until you reach the steep climb out. Eventually this trail will connect with the South Fork ART (American River Trail)
ignore the first right off this trail as that leads to the East Ridge Trail
. Stay on the South Fork ART (American River Trail)
all the way back to your start point and the Skunk Hollow parking area.