The Pioneer Loop National Recreation Trail #750
is closed to motorized use between Sand Lake and Baldy Lake.
Starting at Stine Creek, the ride climbs steeply and gains a lot of elevation in the first few miles. Fortunately, this is one of the more difficult sections of the trail. It is rocky and faint around Stine Mountain.
At the top of Meadow Creek drainage, the climb levels out on the ridge of the West Pioneer Mountains. You'll get a good view of the dry forest made up of whitebark pine, lodgepole pine, and subalpine fir. There are endless viewpoints through this section, overlooking the valleys and mountain ranges surrounding the area.
The ride continues west of Alder Peak, then turns south. Through this section, the route is somewhat flat with short sections of steep ups and downs.
As the trail descends towards Effie Creek, the forest becomes more lush for a short section and then transitions back to dry as it reaches a saddle southeast of Shaw Mountain. From there, the trail
drops quickly into a wet, meadow area. There might be a chance to see wildlife here.
The trail follows the north side of Upper Stone Creek above wet, lush meadowlands and forest before climbing again to the ridge and more big views. It continues on this high route for a couple of miles before dropping to cross a wet saddle and small creek, before climbing slowly to Sand Lake, a beautiful spot below a high mountain.
Turn left on the Sand Lake Connector
to descend to an intersection with Pettengill Creek #245
. Stay left again to start a continuous and mellow descent along Pettengill Creek.
This part of the ride is scenic with a mix of open meadows and sections of pine forest. Towards the lower reaches, the vegetation becomes more lush and sometimes overgrown, making the trail hard to follow. Stay alongside the creek, and the trail is sure to pick up again.
The end of Pettengill Creek #245
widens to become a jeep road as it finishes at Pettengill Road.