How to Max the Lower Trails at Growlers

I’ve been thinking for some time about whether it was possible to get a 10-mile ride on the lower trails at Growlers now that logging has wiped out the single-track in the old Creek Trail system. I had to fudge a little and include a bit of repetition, but the ride route below will get you real close to 10, with about 1,000 to 1,500 feet of elevation gain. And if you hit it hard, you will feel the burn.

There are several instances in which this route would be beneficial –

  • If you don’t have a lot of time and aren’t interested in wasting what you have riding several miles of gravel to get to single-track.
  • If you’re a beginner rider looking for a way to do more than just hit random trails.
  • If you’re still trying to learn the Growlers system.

I will admit that if you aren’t familiar with the trails, these directions might be a little tricky. Pretend you are in a mountain bike orienteering competition. You have no map, only the directions below. Let me know how the test goes.

The 10-Miler:

  • From the parking area, ride up the Power Line Hill. Take the first left onto Predator, which parallels the road. Bear left when you reach an intersection and you will head downhill and back to the east before turning and climbing back to the west.
  • After about a mile, you’ll be near the main gravel road (319) that comes in from Melton/Delemeter. Before hitting the gravel, you’ll see a trail on your left. This is Cousin Eddy. Take it east to the back end where you will climb a short hill before heading back west all the way to the gravel (319).
  • When you come out to the gravel, take a very hard left. There will be two trails on the east side of the road. Take the one a bit to the right. This is the start of Terminator. You will be riding a counter-clockwise loop and coming right back to this point. For the most part, bear right at trail intersections and stick to the most defined lines. You will cross a gravel spur road, hit a short section of trail, and then cross the gravel spur again (the single-track on the southeast side of the road is called New Guy). Continue on Terminator all the way back to where you entered and you will be on the main gravel road (319).
  • Directly across the gravel road, you will see the entrance to Beauty. Bear left and pedal up the hill. At the top, there are several intersections. Stick to the one on the right (near the big rotted log with a newly-rebuilt over at the end of it). You will then rail down the hill, hitting several berms along the way.
  • Near the bottom, you’ll see a log that’s been ridden to death. Enter here. Near the east end of that log, bear right and you’ll see the start of Belly. Ride up to the top and then enjoy the descent back to where you started.
  • From the bottom of Beauty and Belly, ride out to gravel. Just to the north, look for a pick-up load pile of crushed rock near an old spur. As you enter this spur, bear right onto Walk in the Park. You’ll come out near the farm gate on the main gravel road (312).
  • Take a left for about 125 yards on the gravel road to the edge of the logging operation. Take the quad trail on your left. This will take you to the start of BAP (Bits and Pieces). There are several ribbons to indicate the start of BAP, which will be on your right.
  • BAP is about 1.5 miles long and crosses the gravel spur several times. However, you can easily see where the trail picks up across the road. You will be heading south to the back end of the system before moving east and up several small moguls. As you move north, you will come to a steep climb of about 100 yards.
  • At the top of this climb, take a right. You will roll through a dip and come to a well-used trail in about 75 yards. Go left. You’ll see an arrow on a tree on the right as you come to a small stump-drop. Head this way onto the lower part of Shooter. When you reach an intersection, bear right onto the Trail of Tears.
  • You will be heading south and will bomb down for a bit before reaching a short climb. This is the south end of the system. There will be an overgrown trail on the right. Ignore this. Go just a bit further and you will pick up Frosty Balls. You will start heading north and the line will split. Bear right.
  • Things get a little tricky once you’ve reached the north end of Frosty Balls. You’ll go slightly up hill and see an old trail to the right. Ignore this and take the hard left. After about 75 yards, take a left. You will rail through the dip and be right back at the top of that finishing climb at the end of BAP. This time, continue north/straight and you will be back at the bottom of Beauty and Belly.
  • Ride Beauty and Belly again.
  • Head directly across the gravel road (319) to the east onto Predator. Riding it backwards makes it a totally different trail. There is a real good climb in there.
  • Bear right once you complete the climb and you will parallel the road (312). Once you get to the top of the Power Line Hill, take a left onto the gravel (312). Go about 75 yards and take the in on the right.
  • There are two possibilities here. There is a well-defined trail heading north and a bit to the right. This is Buffalo. You can take this or – pretty much straight ahead as you enter – you can take Kelley’s new line.
  • You will head downhill and to the north. The trail will split. Take the right and this will get you over to an intersection with the upper part of Watershed. Bear right when you hit that intersection. You’ll climb up to a gravel road that heads south. Warning: If you go left down Watershed, you are on your own.
  • You will intersect with the 312 just above the gate and about halfway up the Power Line Hill. Take a left and you will be back to your car in just a bit.

If you came up short of 10 miles and find yourself disappointed about this, ride around in the parking area until your odometer rolls over.

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