A lollipop loop with plenty of exercise and minimal technical sections in the Blanchard Hill Area.
Frequented more by hikers and equestrian users, the trail still makes for a fun ride. It's most commonly ridden during wetter times because the trail drains well and traffic is diminished.
For this ride, begin at the Upper Blanchard Hill Parking Lot (though you can also start at the lower parking lot and climb up the Lower Blanchard Hill Trail
for more mileage). Head south on the road for several hundred feet until you see the Lily Lizard Trail
to your left.
The first half-mile of Lily Lizard Trail
is quite gradual and smooth; it's also lined by frequent rock culverts along the trail for drainage. As you climb up, the trail gets steeper and there are more short, technical spots to get you out of the saddle or even cause you to dismount. The climb feels pretty steady, so take it casual and make sure to enjoy the open forest on the lower half of the trail.
At 1.5 miles, there is a gentle creek crossing that pretty much disappears in the summer months. Settle in because the next section is one of the steeper stretches, but it will slack off after the 2-mile mark near a suspended bridge tucked into a small clearing. From there, you'll actually lose a little elevation for a bit before making one final climb through winding turns to the intersection with Lily Lake Trail
and Lizard Lake Trail
Head left onto the Lily Lake Trail
for a mellow pedal to the edge of Lily Lake. About half a mile in, the trail features a very cool tree/rootball crossing near the intersection with the Oyster Lily Trail. As you near Lily Lake the trail becomes very faint—proceed clockwise around the lake through a camping area and you'll soon see the trail more clearly again.
You'll come across a pair of signs pointing north to Lizard Lake and south to Lily Lake, this marks the end of the Lily Lake Trail
and the start of the Lily Lizard Connector
Trail (yes, the names are very confusing). There is also a third trail that is hiking-only called North Butte Overlook, it's a short hike to the lookout, and worth pushing your bike part-way up and part-way down to enjoy.
When you're ready to proceed to the Lily Lizard Connector
prepare for a change in pace. This mountain-biker built section of trail delivers a punchy descent with several rocky and tight spots to navigate through. After you've enjoyed this all-to-short trail, take a moment to check out Lizard Lake and the seasonal waterfall that descends nearby.
Keep heading clockwise to the Lizard Lake Trail
for a gentle climb back to the intersection with Lily Lizard Trail
for the exiting descent. All the elevation you earned on the way up quickly melts away into fast rolling bumps and rollers.
This straightforward descent can be a lot of fun. The tech sections go by quick and you're left with playful bobs and weaves.The real challenge is keeping your speed in check so as to not overcook sections, and to ensure you're giving plenty of space to other trail users as there are many sections with limited visibility and not a lot of extra room on the trail.
Coast out the end of your ride to the road and back to the parking lot.