Need to Know
This is legitimate remote, backcountry, high alpine country. You should be prepared to deal with the elements and ensure your logistics can support an extended outing in this environment. Additionally, the trail will often fade away and experience overgrowth in spots. With little to no official maintenance, these challenges are a feature of this experience and you should be versed in backcountry navigation prior to embarking on this journey. Seriously; missteps while out exploring in this area could come with heavy consequences.
The best way to access this trail is by taking Wolf Creek Trail FS #001
from Black Mountain road down to the creek (Quartz Creek). You can also connect in by taking Hendrick Ridge Route
; however, this is a far more technical ride with multiple creek crossings and several steep climbing sections. Wolf Creek Trail FS #001
will be mainly downhill and if there is too much deadfall on the singletrack, there are often doubletrack sections that can make the ride easier.
Once you arrive at Quartz Creek, you should see a couple of old fish cleaning tables in an open meadow. Cross the creek and you should see a fence to the right (South). There will be a gate and trail behind the gate. This is the beginning of Walker Prairie. This is not your typical prairie as it is bordered by mountains to the east and rivers to the west. Think of this as more of a passage between these features.
The trail snakes along the bases of several prominent mountains in the area starting at Big Mountain. These should serve as landmarks that ensure you are on the proper path. Big Mountain is followed by Little Mountain, which is followed by Walker Mountain. The trail is overgrown in spots, faint in other spots and downright disappears in other areas. In general, keep the mountains to your left and the river to your right and you'll be headed in the right direction.
You'll encounter another fence after you pass Walker Mountain. Hop the fence and continue heading south. Be sure you stay on Walker Prairie as it is easy to get turned around and take Soldier Creek Trail - #015
instead. Again, keep the mountains to your left and the rivers to your right. You'll pass by the other major mountain, She Bear before you begin a steep descent toward the West Fork of Big Goose Creek. Make sure you are headed in the proper direction as it is easy to get turned around. You'll know you are on the right track when you cross an old woodenbridge, the only bridge on this route.
After crossing the bridge, you'll climb a steep section of doubletrack before reconnecting into the singletrack at the top of the climb. Watch for the signs labelled Trail #14. Continue on the singletrack as it crosses the creek multiple times. You'll eventually arrive at a large cabin as the singletrack gives way to forest service road. The forest service road eventually connects into Red Grade road at the Big Goose Ranger Station.
Shared By: MTB Project Staff