Petrifying Springs Kenosha Official 2011 Trail Report Thread
I thought I'd start an official trail report thread for Petrifying Springs Park (Pets).
Rode today (Sunday). A real mixed bag of some very icy sections and some beautiful stretches of nice frozen dirt. Fortunately the most fun/techy sections of trail tended to have no ice at all.
- UWP land south of the river - almost 100% ice. Avoid unless you've got studded tires.
- UWP land north of the river and south of Hwy A - The high ground and all the steep techy stuff was pretty good, some occasional ice but mostly dirt. The lower areas along the river were a mix.
- Park land North of Hwy A - mix of ice and dirt, but overall pretty good since the more interesting stretches of trail tended to not have much ice on them.
- Woods in the middle of golf course - Excellent, no ice on the hills at all.
- Fenceline/ridgeline along western edge of golf course - Excellent, almost no ice at all.
- Trails along river in main part of park - mixed ice and dirt. low areas along the river more likely to have ice.
I really had no idea what to expect at Pets today so I played it safe and just took the dog for a hike out there. I thought others might be interested in current conditions.
There was a lot more snow still on the ground than I would have guessed. There are some bare stretches, but most of the trails still have 2 to 4 inches of very crusty snow on them. There was just enough hiker traffic before the refreeze to make the trails really ba ba ba ba bumpy.
Probably would not have been a good ride, but you never know until you actually try it on a bike.
Never biked here. How are the trails on normal, nonwinter days?
Originally Posted by mmik
If by "lame", you mean "awesome", I agree.
The trails at Pets are basically a spiderweb of informal hiking trails in an old county park. They're not for everyone. If you want to go somewhere and start at a marked trailhead and follow a nice clean signed route on dedicated bike trails, they're probably not for you. If you're a training fanatic and want to ride many uninterrupted miles of not-particularly challenging trails while you're monitoring your cadence, lap times, and heartrate, they're probably not for you. But if you're willing to spend the time to explore all the little side-trails to find the interesting stuff, and put together a route of the bits you like, they can be pretty sweet. If you've spent some time on the unofficial trails along the Milwaukee river, that's somewhat similar.
Just stay the Fvck off them when they're muddy. Ride em when they're frozen, or wait for them to dry out, but don't be one of those meat heads that heads out there the 1st warm spring day and makes a mess of everything. And be courteous to the hikers and dog walkers. Mountain biking is "tolerated" there currently, but it only take a handful of idiots to ruin that.
Oops....sorry TVille....I know that you love your home slice....somebody has been doing some good work out there (here and there). PETS is just not worth driving from Kewaskum to ride. If you are passionate enough to drop the F-bombs, you should step up and bring those trails up to IMBA standards.....build some sustainable re-routes....get involved with the management of that resource....organize workdays....become active in trail advocacy right at your local trail......where the pulaski meets the dirt.....because trails don't get built or maintained by tapping the keys of a computer.
Originally Posted by trailville
Lame was too harsh....but closer to the truth than awesome. I'll change my answer to....If I lived closer, I would ride the carp out of it, but if you have to put the bike in the car to get there.....it's probably not worth it.
You and the other locals that ride at PETS could make it a lot better, if you try.
As I said, the trails aren't for everyone. What I like about Pets (and Beulah park and Milw river trails and others) is that the trails are not really managed. As much as I enjoy riding "managed" trails like the Kettles, there is something to be said for the many small informal trail systems that exist in various county and city parks. No, they're not built to IMBA standards, because many of them were never really "built" in the 1st place (and they existed long before IMBA). They just evolved over many decades, intitially by hiker use, then as mountain bikes started using the trails. There is something special about riding trails that came to be without any thoughts to mountain bikes. I'm not saying that informal trail systems are better or worse than managed trails, only that they are different. And I like variety. Areas like the Kettles need managed trails because trail use is so great. Not every trail needs to be managed.
Originally Posted by ~gomez~
My greatest fear for the Pets trails is that they would get closed to bike use, that's why I threw in the f-bomb to those that show no responsibility by riding muddy trails (portions of Pets are in a flood plain), or those with such a sense of entitlement that they show no respect for other trail users.. And if any of them happen to read these threads and then maybe think twice about riding muddy trails or being rude to hikers , then I guess tapping the keys of a computer can actually help :)
But my second greatest fear for the Pets trails is that they become managed trails.
If you think the trails at PETS aren't managed, you are being naive. They're just being managed without mountain bikers being represented.
but the trails do have potential......and its not about kettle vs pets......we're on the same side.....we want trails to ride....here, there, everywhere.....
Getting cranky on the internet isn't a very good way to influence your own user group of mountain biking brothers and sisters. IMHO education is a much better way to protect our trails.
A scary statement to be sure :madman:
Originally Posted by trailville
Though I think get the sentiment of "non-managed" trails. I assume you mean "not-ultra-buffed" trails. But Gomez is right. The trails are managed. They are owned by the county. If another user group steps up to the plate to take over trail maintenance, etc, they could easily become managed - by another user group - and they will do this for the county with the agreement that mountain bikers are no longer allowed.
"Managed" does not need to be ulta-buffed trail if that is your meaning. That is more determined by the user wants and the amount of people using the trails. But managed means having a say and control of the trails and the trails' future.
I manage Cam-Rock Parks trails. Used to be pretty rough in a lot of spots, with minimal maintenance and input. Just control the large water issues and the rest took care of itself. As the trails have grown, the amount of users is up exponentially. Now the amount of riders dictates a more tightly managed/buffed trail just to keep the erosion at bay. It has also meant re-routing some sections of trail. Some trails not built to standards may be fine for years with little use, but with more riders they show their design flaws badly. Major erosion ruts are not fun to ride, nor do they make a good impression to the managers of the land, in my case also county-owned parkland.
Who's cranky? At least I provided a real response to MMIK's question.
And the trails at Pets aren't managed by any standard definition of "trail management". The Parks Dept and UWP do only some very minimal maintenance to a couple of the main trails (a small percentage of the overall miles out there). There are individuals and small groups of mountain bikers that occasionally do stuff to the other trails out there, but there is no coordination between the groups and individuals (they don't necessarily even know who the others are, which is probably for the best because there are clearly some differing opinions on what a trail should look like), no oversight of these individuals by any authority, and actually they have no legal right to do anything out there. It's pretty impressive how things have somehow managed to work out so far. But that's why it's different.
That's not exactly it. The term I normally use is "formal" versus "informal" trails. Informal trails came to be without any planning. People started walking through the woods, and trails formed. These types of trails have different characteristics than you will typically find with planned mountain bike trails or even modern planned hiking trails. And while I understand why modern planned trails are not built like this, I've had a lot of fun on trails like this over the years and appreciate that they still exist here and there.
Originally Posted by TheMayor1
This was meant to be a "trails condition" thread, and I don't really want to turn it into a trail building and trail management thread (there's a whole separate forum for that, and that fight has been done over and over).
BTW, Mayor, I did get a chance to ride Cam-Rock a couple years ago, and appreciate what you guys are doing out there. That's the only time I've ever encountered a trail marked "expert" that actually lived up to the designation.
mmik - Pets is cool. Plenty of diff. user groups out there from your cat 1,2 mountain bikers to your every day rec rider all with bikes in common. There are plenty of trails to connect together that you could easily get 1.5-2 hours worth of riding (21 miles) in without getting bored.
I don't think that they're lame but then again that's just me and the the other 100 or so people ride there
I've never been to PETS, but I can see where Trailville is coming from.
The Milwaukee River trail is my out the front door trail. I ride a block and I'm on one of my favorite trails. I absolutely love riding those trails. And I've helped build a section of trail with Metro Mountain Bikers.
I am happy that there are plans to utilize the area better, but with those plans come changes to my favorite mountain bike trail. Part of the fun is the variety. The trail changes throughout the seasons. After the big flood last year, the trail changed again. You ride a lap in one direction, and turn around and have a totally different and challenging ride in the opposite direction. Now, talks are that it will be a one way trail, and I'm sure the majority of the extremely difficult sections will be altered.
I am all for IMBA standards and I completely understand why those standards exist...but there is definitely part of me that wishes the River Trail would be left completely alone.
Totally understand what you saying about leaving the trails alone.......but following was my experience. And yes I am dating myself :p
I loved riding the many trails that used to exist in and around Madison that were "unmanaged". Picnic Point, Indian Lake Park, etc. They are all managed now.....by someone else. With no management those fun difficult sections led to erosion, erosion led to complaints of unsafe trails and ugly scars in the earth, eventually leading to a group organizing to maintain the trails and the mountain bikers were excluded.
Forward two decades later and CORP is trying to get access back at one of these parks. The current managers are against us. We are fighting an uphill battle. Though it is a whole new group of riders these days with standards, organization, etc, they remember the mountain bikers and their memory of us is not good.
So I guess I am saying try to get involved. Find out anyone who is in charge and work with them. Keep the dialog open. This is imperative to keep the trails open to us. Take over management and make it minimal "management" if you must. But either be the people in charge, or at least involved heavily, or risk losing the trails you love altogether.
Feb 23 Conditions
The trails are finally rideable but it's rough(literally).
You're basically dealing with hard frozen (not hard ice, but very hard icy crust) footprints that are 1 to 4 inches deep and all over the place, but not quite enough to smooth things out. The inch or so of new snow is smoothing things out a little, but it's still very rough. Some stretches are better than others. I did actually get to feel a little flow happening on a couple of the nice long winding downhills, but you have to work to get to them. A lot of walking on the uphills.
Anyway, glad I got out there today, was able to hit some fun stuff. But not especially eager to get back until things smooth out a bit.
March 2nd Conditions
Much improved conditions provided you get out there while everything is still frozen hard.
I got out there this morning before the sun got too high in the sky. The trails have smoothed out quite a bit (they're still pretty bumpy, but it's closer to what you normally expect in the winter).
The key is getting out before things start to soften up. Even on a day like today with temps in the low 20s, the sun is hot enough to soften things up by mid day. There were tracks where riders had been out during warmer conditions over the past few days, and based on the tracks, it didn't look like they were having that great of a time. Plus they ended up leaving frozen ruts (in the ice/snow, not mud) that messed a little with my flow today :smallviolin: . Fortunately they didn't ride too much of the trails so most of it was rut-free.
The Pic is of that crazy steep hill (you know if you've been there) that heads down to the river north of highway A. It was great to be able to ride that today. The hard crusty snow actually provided better control than you would have in dry summer conditions, and the fact that it's frozen and snow covered means you don't have to feel guilty about contributing to erosion. The last time I was on that hill was about a month ago, plowing down it on snow shoes through 2 feet of virgin powder (that was pretty fun too).
Most of the trails still have more snow than what's in the pic.
The low humidity and sunshine today dried things out nicely. With the exception of some isolated muddy spots (the normal stuff), the trails were in overall very good condition this afternoon, and should be great until the next rain hits. I'd avoid them in the mornings though as thing have been getting rather damp at night.
And a big thumbs up .:thumbsup: to the trail fairy(s) that already replaced that bridge that washed away. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
As a side note, the suckers are currently running in the Pike river (for those of you who like things that suck)
Glad to hear the trails are drying up! I have a new bike on the way, and I will be reintroducing myself to mountain biking at pets (since I live about four miles away). Have you had any experience with Bong Recreational Area? I was hoping to try that out soon as well.
Bong and Pets are two completely different animals. Pets has challenging technical singletrack along a river, while Bong is mainly flat to gently rolling wide mowed trails through a prairie. I used to go out to Bong pretty regularly in the summer with the bike and canoe, and bike the trails, then paddle the canoe around Wolf Lake for a bit, then take a trail run on the hiking trails around Wolf Lake. Kind of my own little triathlon. But the lake kept getting overgrown with vegetation (to the point where even paddling a canoe was a problem), my knees ain't what they used to be for running, and the mtn bike trails just aren't interesting enough to get me out there just for the biking, so it's been a while. I may have to try it again this year.
I have walked a variety of the trails in Pets before so I definitely understand that it will be quite technical. I am still in pretty decent shape so I hope I should be able to handle a decent ride without getting too exhausted. My riding skills on the other hand have not been utilized for several years so we will see how far I get.
Thank you for the information about Bong. If I find Pets too technical I will head out to Bong to get used to the bike more.
I would drive the extra twenty minutes or so to the John Muir trails as opposed to Bong. Kettle Moraine has better biking terrain. It it not that technical but you will get in shape there for sure.
I do like pets though. A lot of fun can be had there.
Was at Pets on saturday & except for a few muddy spots we had a great time.
Hi, Nubee to the forum. Thanks to trailville dot com I found this and other great trails.
Question pertaining Petryfing Springs, what trails are being riden? I was told by county officials that riding the trails is prohibited. Is this a new ordinence? What does anyone else know?