From the Pearl Lake boat launch, take Pearl Lake Trail
(#1176) along the southwest shoreline towards the dam. Once across the dam and to the southern end of the lake, the trail heads due south up and over a small hill, through a couple of pretty meadows. Once you cross a small creek, a steep climb takes you approximately 0.5 miles up the hill through a dark forest to the intersection with the Overlook Trail
1190. From the boat launch to this intersection is approximately 1.6 miles long.
From the intersection, continue climbing on the Pearl Lake Trail
for another mile before descending the last 0.8 miles, riding some beautiful singletrack through forests of aspen and pines with a lush understory of wildflowers and ferns. The trail will then dump you out on a well maintained logging road.
From there, ride the road to the northeast for approximately 1.3 miles where you'll cross the Coulton Creek Trail
(#1188). Head south on the Coulton Creek Trail
for a little over 2 miles until you come to another logging road. The trail is awesome riding with a creek crossing and the views and the flowers are gorgeous. Do not cross the road and continue on the Coulton Creek Trail
unless you want to end up on the highway, a long ways away from where you started! Instead, follow the road to the southwest, approximately 0.8 miles until you see a faint 2-track heading off to the left with a sign indicating the start/end of the Overlook Trail
This is where things get very interesting. The first 0.75 miles are wonderful, rolling up and down through aspen forests, although the trail is very faint in places due to overgrown vegetation from the lack of use. The 3 miles can only be described as a death march. As you descend down a steep and narrow trail through a dark pine forest, the amount of wind-downed timber becomes an issue; lift your bike over a log, ride 100 yards, do the same thing over again. After performing this exercise 8-10 times before getting to the bottom (1.2 miles), you begin to get sick and tired of downed trees. But at least there is a trail that is identifiable!
However, nothing prepares you for the next 1.25-mile climb back up to the Pearl Lake Trail
. As you approach the bottom of the drainage, the trail completely disappears, leaving you to try and figure out where to cross the creek through all of the willows. Once across the creek, a faint trail heads up the slope to the north.
A quarter mile further up the hill, the trail completely disappears into a mess of downed timber. For the next 0.5 miles, your bike will not be on the ground - instead you'll be carrying it over all of the downed timber, making this the toughest part of the whole ride. Once you find the trail again, it is intermittent riding with a lot of downed log crossings.
Finally, you find the trail, but this time it goes through numerous areas of dense ferns, making the trail almost impossible to see while riding. Thus, you walk your bike to ensure that you are on a trail and that there are no logs underneath the vegetation that you can't see. Finally, the next 0.25 miles are clear enough so that you can get back on your bike and ride back up to the first/initial intersection with the Pearl Lake Trail
From here, turn left and retrace you track back to Pearl Lake and the trailhead.