“A fun ride near Jewel Cave that is exposed and difficult in parts.”
— Phil H
Bring lots of water, because this trail has some shade at the beginning, but is very open, dry, and exposed. I think it is best to hit this trail counter-clockwise as mapped. Clockwise would be a brutal climb, and gradual descent (mainly). I hit this trail while waiting for my time slot to tour Jewel Cave.
The trail starts out gradually with some stream crossings. It was dry in July when I rode, but it could be challenging if the creeks are running. There was a slightly surreal section of abandoned highway that you cross over. The trail goes through a nice valley that was spared by the fire, and was covered in grasses that threatened to take over the trail in spots.
The trail is generally smooth, and not very technical at all. I give it a higher rating because of a few things: there is a steep technical section in the middle when you turn abruptly out of the valley and begin going up. After that technical section, the trail cuts across a steeply sloped hill for a mile (appx). This might unnerve some riders. A fall at this area could be disastrous.
There are some nice views up at the top, then there is a steep, rowdy, smile-inducing downhill at the end.