No cell phone service through much of the lower sections and remote areas of the route.
Start at the Pine Valley Ranch Park trailhead, which can get somewhat crowded on the weekends. There are three lots staggered up the hill, with a picnic area and bathrooms at the bottom. Rangers request you do not ride down the wooden steps.
Follow the trail along the river a short distance before you cross a large bridge. Soon the trail divides, keep to the right and start climbing Buck Gulch
. The trail can be very sandy in places especially in the ruts, and has a few sections of steep climbs. You climb out of the forest to the old burn area, which can be fairly exposed for long sections.
Near the top of Buck Gulch
there is a Choose Your Own Adventure option for a black-diamond marked section. Taken slowly, this is totally rideable. There is some solid granite pockmarked with washtub-size divots that you can pick your way through, with a steep drop at the end. This rejoins the blue-square rated trail, and you can actually ride this as a 200-yard loop a few times for fun.
ends at an intersection with a fire road and remote parking lot, where you turn left onto Skipper
. This is a short 1.3-mile descent with a minor stream crossing followed by a very abrupt climb.
After a short climb and descent, you intersect with Strawberry Jack
. Turn left and head north for a long flowing descent back to the intersection with Buck Gulch
. Strawberry Jack
has a good share of loose sand on the trail and some rock features. There is one solid rock face that is not exposed but could be a surprise if you come on it quickly.
Turn right at the intersection with Buck Gulch
, return over the bridge to the Narrow Gauge Trail back to the parking lot. You can soak your feet in the creek and enjoy lunch at the picnic area.