Despite being the “easiest,” Black Rock’s oldest trail is no slouch when it comes to a good time. The five sections of Bonzai Downhill are packed with scores of optional features and a lot of variety.
From the top, segment BD1 begins with an optional slanted ladder that’s great fun when dry, but probably worth skipping when wet (a sentiment that’s worth dwelling on for all the wood features to come). As the speed picks up, well-built berms guide riders through the trees and into a series of tables, ladders, wall rides, and jumps. All are rollable and many have ride-arounds. This freeride infused segment flies by pretty quickly, but there's still an impressive raised wooden platform to carry riders to the end.
Bonzai Downhill crosses over the Summit Access Road
and starts the BD2 segment with a large wooden table that's followed by a massive wood coaster that perches on the hill like the bones of a colossal serpent. Next, the trail darts into a gully and begins to play back-and-forth, cresting up the walls before dashing back through the center. Four optional ladder-rolls provide a little more zest as riders race down to the Upper Road Spur
Hang a right, and pedal to the start of BD3 on the left. There's a little rock mixed into the singletrack, but the easy ascent isn't very technical as it climbs up a lush, mossy ridge. Pretty soon, it's time for the next descent.
BD3 embraces a less freeride approach with only a few optional features and small in-trail booters through the straightaways and into the berms. Instead, the builders concentrated on the straightforward joy of classic singletrack until this section ends at three large ladder rolls above the Lower Road Spur
Turn right toward the log arch that marks the start of BD4. As the trail sidehills away, there’s a series of optional wood and dirt table tops. Next, a ladder roll and sweeping left-hand turn funnels riders into a rocky chute. Ahead, a small bridge spans a seasonal creek before a tight, techy section. With good line choices it’s easily managed, but it is the techiest part of the entire trail.
A second bridge crossing leads into a long traverse section to reach the next descent. Keep left at Dino's Runaround and left at the next split to enjoy the straightaways and low jumps.
The final section, BD5, continues across Socialist Valley Road
just below Basic Training. It's most often the last section of trail ridden in the day because it feeds out so low on the mountain. The two large tables at the beginning are best paired with a bomber speed from Dino's Runaround or the Bonzai Hip Spur
. The rest of the descent is made up of cruising singletrack leading to the road. Be on the lookout for a boggy section that can be quite muddy.