There will be places you'll need to hike your bike up, as motorcycle and horse steep isn't the same as mountain bike steep. (With some rework on these steep sections, this trail would become pure money.) Don't lose heart, as the ride improves dramatically once you are on the Boundary Trail #1207
and are crossing vast mountain meadows that would have Julie Andrews belting out The Sound of Music. In addition, the ride down for full suspension is seriously good times.
Bring a cold beer to reward yourself at the top. Also, bring a folding saw with you and help spread the love on this trail. We are the maintenance crew, as the Forest Service is broke, a victim of successive waves of tax cutting for those higher on the food chain.
The ride starts out mellow, winding through high elevation old growth forest on Sturgis Fork #903
interspersed with small meadows (full of flowers) and three small stream crossings. It gets progressively more technical and steep, as I suspect the original trail was laid out by horseback, as you approach the ridge that the Boundary Trail #1207
At the intersection of the Boundary Trail #1207
, turn right and head up towards the intersection of the Lake Mountain #1206 Shortcut
and the Mt Elijah Trail #1206A. Again, expect some steep, eroded track (that is begging for a redo) up through tall timber. As you climb, keep thinking about the down trip: you are earning your turns.
The trail will flatten out at the verge of the first great meadow and the intersection of the trail to your right that goes to Mt Elijah, or it would: if it were ever maintained. Stay right and get ready for some sidehill across amazing meadows and excellent views of the Red Buttes, and as you climb, Mount Shasta, Preston Peak to the west, and finally a glimpse of the typically fog-shrouded Pacific.
You'll leave the Boundary Trail #1207
after climbing through the first set of meadows, doubling back to head east over the meadows you just rode through on the Lake Mountain #1206 Shortcut
. Continue through more timber, and meadows, with better and better views.
Finally, you'll reach the top, with Lake Peak to your NE, and Bigelow Lake below you and the Illinois Valley further out. Break out that cold beer! You've earned it. And get ready for a lovely descent.