Mt. Francis Loop
ElevationAscent: 2,213' 675 m
Descent: -2,244' -684 m
High: 6,883' 2,098 m
Low: 5,347' 1,630 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 21% (12°)
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“A climb through the Thumb Butte area followed by great descents along the southern Sierra Preita.”— Charlie Glasel
Electric Mountain Bikes Allowed
Sparrow follows a fairly busy ravine, Moby #737 has beautiful forest and great views, as does Wolverton - if you can take your eyes off the trail! You can add Goldwater Lakes Trail #396 and Feldmeier Trail #330 after crossing White Spar Rd. if you're still hungry for more.
Need to Know
Go straight through the intersection. There, #322 Circle Connection Trail is a fairly short descent before going right on Potts Creek Trail #327, followed by a left onto Trail #51 after about 1/3 of a mile. Soon, you'll come to a five-way intersection. Go straight on Potts Creek Trail #327. The turn onto Sparrow is unmarked and easy to miss (go right at a downed, dead tree).
The climb up Sparrow will be challenging for some, but it flattens out from time to time.
Go left on the dirt Thumb Butte Rd, then straight at the four-way intersection of Copper Basin Rd, and climb a bit on Mt Francis Rd until you come to a gate (don't go left and up to the top of Mt Francis). This is the top of East Copper Trail #260.
Go around the gate. After crossing a cattle guard, East Copper Trail #260 starts downhill. A couple hundred yards after the cattle guard, at most, look for Moby #737 (not currently marked) on the left. It is right at the end of the first tight, right turn on East Copper Trail #260.
After about half a mile of sweet singletrack, you'll see a large, dead tree trunk about 20' high, and a dead tree on the left. Go to the left (straight takes you to Aspen Creek Trail #48 - not a disaster, just stay left and you'll come out at the same place)! Once Moby #737 hits the old forest/mining roads, it can be a little harder to follow - just go downhill and/or consult your MTB Project mobile app and follow the course.
After the steepest part of the descent, Moby #737 joins Aspen Creek Trail #48; you have to be on the brakes here and make a hard right. Climb a bit and go left onto #9415 Wolverton Mountain Trail. After a pretty short two-track climb, #9415 Wolverton Mountain Trail angles downhill and spits you out onto White Spar Rd after about 4.5 miles of ripping downhill singletrack.
Go straight across White Spar Rd, after looking both ways for traffic, and you're at the Goldwater Lakes Trail #396 trailhead and parking lot. Bear right and go past the gate, then left onto Goldwater Lakes Trail #396. After about a quarter mile, there's a split - go left, and take Twist & Shout Trail #372 for a bit, then a hard right on Apple Blossom Trail #373 back down to White Spar Rd.
If you're hungry for more singletrack, stay on Goldwater Lakes Trail #396, and take the left, after about 4.2 miles, onto Feldmeier Trail #330. At the bottom of Feldmeier Trail #330, go right on Banning Creek Trail #81, then a semi-hidden left onto Apple Blossom Trail #373, which will bring you back to White Spar Rd and (go right) into town.
Take the road into town for fuel and coolant!