Monday, July 14, 2008

MTB- Look Prairie Thornton Loop

Distance: 13 miles
Climbing: 2,762 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Start: Near Weott

Humboldt Redwoods State Park is located approximately 40 miles south of Eureka. There are miles of awesome singletrack. Unfortunately, most of the trails are off limits to mountain bikes. This loop includes the best legal single track in the park, which is the Thornton multi-use trail (MUT). The ride will take you through prairies, second growth redwood forests, and old growth redwood forests. The climb up Look Prairie road is very difficult. In fact, every time I have climbed this route I have wondered why I do it. However, the remainder of the ride will soon make you forget the difficult climbing.

0- Start at the base of Look Prairie Road, which is located 4.3 miles west of Highway 101 on Bull Creek Road or 0.7 miles east of the entrance road to Albee Creek Campground. A great way to do this ride is to campout at Albee Creek Campground. The Look Prairie Road starts out as a gravel road which winds its way up through the prairie at a reasonable grade. However, the gradient quickly steepens. This is not a good single speed ride and beginners may find themselves walking short sections. It took me a full hour to climb 4 miles and I lost traction and had to hop off my bike a couple of times. About half way up the climb you enter old growth redwood forest and the road feels more like a wide leaf covered trail. The upper third of the climb is not as steep and is more enjoyable.

3.45- Left on Peavine MUT and continue climbing for another half a mile.

4.0- Descent! You have reached the top of the ridge and the first descent. You will travel along the top of the ridge which climbs and descends along the Peavine trail.

6.85- Left on Thornton MUT. You will have 5 miles of fantastic single track descending. The route is well planned and descends at a gradual rate as it twists and turns through the forest.

11.83- CAUTION gate ahead. Be careful on the steep descent to Albee Creek Campground because there is a gate at the end of the trail.

11.89- Turn left at the campground check-in station and travel over the bridge and head back to Bull Creek Road.

12.2- Turn left on Bull Creek Road.

12.96- Finish

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