Well Designed… Well Maintained Trail… Near the Lake
Lynx Lake Loop? Prior to an unfamiliar ride I like to read, re-read, look at maps, and plan. I had been reading Cosmic Ray’s description of this ride (which he called Lynx Lake Loop) and came away with one small misconception. I though “riding along the length of the lake” meant I would actually be able to see the water. This turned out to only be partially true.
Length: 12.28 miles
The #305 trail was supposed to be about 1/2-mile down from the Costco on Walker Road. We drove right past the trailhead as the road sign only read Trail #62 next right. We came back because Cindy noticed the 1 mile marker and no Trail #305 sign. We entered the turn-off for Trail #62 and… sure enough, there was a 305 trailhead marker. I unloaded my bike, then Cindy drove toward the lake to look for Osprey, Bald Eagles, and maybe even a Lynx, although I am not exactly sure what a Lynx is. Trail #305 starts out in a dry section where somebody or something had flattened all the brush, to prevent fires I am sure.
I jumped on my bike, but quickly stopped to look around, wondering what they used to knock down all the bushes yet leave the trees intact. I saw no signs of a controlled burn… but noticed a couple of tractor tread marks. The funny part was, the brush was not only hacked-off… it looked all ground up. The brush must have been fed into some kind of mulcher or shredder. I whipped around a corner and almost ran over a man hiking along carrying a hand pruner. What was left to prune? No, he hadn’t cut all that brush with a hand pruner! No way! Would have taken years!
I crossed the Lynx Ruin Road and soon came to the intersection of trails #305 and #442. Trail #442 is a path that leads from the lake to the Highlands Center for Natural History. Trail #442 does not allow bikes.
Another half-mile up I came to another trail junction. This time the trail split and the leg going left was marked for both the 305 and the 442. The trail to the right only had a white plastic sign facing away from me. This threw me for a second. I started to the left… but then thought there must be a mistake. Why would they now let me ride on the 422?… I circled back and noticed that someone had written #305 (in Sharpie) on the back of the white plastic sign for the right leg. This proved to be the correct way (I found the entire #305 Trail to be well signed… except for this one place).
At the top of the hill just above this junction I came to a paved road. This was when Trail #305 crossed the blacktop road that leads to the dam. This was also the first (and last) place where I could actually see part of Lynx Lake, but only the last 200-feet of water. I jumped back on and rode hard… figuring I would soon be riding along the lake shore. Every turn I went around I hoped to see the lake. Every time I was disappointed. When I finally reached Bannie Mine Road (the top of the loop) I felt like the person who buys a house with an ocean view only to find… they must look through two windows in the neighbors’ house just to see a patch of blue.
The #305 Trail continued parallel to the lake for another 1/2 mile and Walker Road for another 5 miles… dropping into ravines to cross streams feeding the lake… then climbing out of those ravines. The trail is well designed and well maintained, and as I mentioned before, well signed, but not close enough to the water. When I reached the Bannie Mine Road I called Cindy, to see where she was. She said she was done birding and starved. I said I wanted to actually get a good look at the Lynx Lake. We agreed that I would ride down to meet her. After cruising five miles down Walker Road I pulled into the first road past the museum. But something didn’t seem right… the road didn’t seem to be taking me to the lake. I called her again and we finally figured out she meant the first road past the museum the way she had come … up Walker Road. So I got back on the 305 and road back to meet her. I was surprised to see her standing on the blacktop road… exactly where I had gotten my only glance of Lynx Lake.
As we walked back to the car I told her what a fine trail the #305 was, but that I wondered why they hadn’t made it so it did offer nice views of the lake. The car was parked right in front of the dam. From there I finally got a primo view of Lynx Lake. We gassed up at the Costco a mile up the road and headed to Sedona, our next stop on this trip. The next day I would be riding a trail called Submarine Rock.
The video below will give you an idea of what this trail was like.
To view all videos please go to my YouTube channel at MountainBikeDiaries.