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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Crane Prairie Trail.... ?

    Do any of the East Hood/Hood River/Road 44 trail stewards and experts have any insight about Crane Prairie Trail? This is the unmaintained/decomissioned trail that starts about 1/6 of a mile east from the south TH for Gunsigh Ridge, and follows the boulder creek drainiage all the way down to the Boulder Lakes, about 2.5 miles until the tie trail to boulder lake I believe (the lower section below this junction does get MTB traffic I think). I've seen it on the adventure maps, read scant TR's about lower sections, read mention of it in old ride guides -- but everyone i've been able to talk to who knows anything about that area says it's unmaintained and the FS doesn't want people on it.

    I rode up there today and was planning on a pocket creek/boulder lakes loop/gunsight/gumjuwac 'figure 8', but a leaky and saggy shock hobbled me early and prevented a climb-out of boulder lakes along that ridge, so I decided why not dink around trying to find the top TH for Crane Prairie and see what it's like since I can't really ride that hard and suddenly have time on my hands. Took a while to find it but luckily the map is accurate and after a few minutes of pacing around I picked it up. One big blowdown near the top, then rideable descent as far as my eyes could see pas, that was enough to convince me. I rode it for about 3/4 mile, passing a lot of downblow and understory overgrowth that nearly totally hides what's left of the trail. All I can say is WOW... and what a shame. That would have been easily the best descent around there. the small upper part that I saw reminded me a lot of what makes Maiden Peak and Fuji descents my favorites (Waldo lake network). Rolly, flowy terrain, sparse trees, and a trail that curves like a bobsled track any direction it chooses related to fall line because there's no direction that seemed too steep or too flat. I wish I could have ridden it in it's prime. I hope it has another prime. And to think that you could connect Gunsight with boulder lakes loop without with not just passable, but super super fun singletrack. Drool.

    Yesterday I found a Portland Hikers TR from august of this year. pretty detailed route and conditions descriptoins and a lot of photos. Some of the comments mention that part of Hood NF's NRA status, a few mentions of what good trail stewards and hard workers MTB'rs are, and some folks suggesting that trail ressurection is wanted and desireable from the hiker's standpoint.

    So what gives? Anyone here have any insight? Thoughts on why this one went the way of the Dodo? WHy haven't any MTBer's tried to resurrect yet, or are there efforst underway? Is it just funding issues preventing the FS from keeping this one going? Strange that so many other trails surrounding this get regular maintenance, yet Crane Prairie is left to rot in the middle.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Damn...this was my secret project for next year.Awesome area with outstanding potential.Most importantly for me is that it makes Gunsight and Gumjuwac worth it.Those two trails are not enough for the drive involved.So...let's keep it secret and log it next spring.Must leave the entrance at the top hidden!If the forest service gets involved it will be as dusty as Lookout and 15.Oh well...I can dream.
    Master of Laundry...Lord of Cleaning!

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: ttrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    I would be in for any help needed to resurrecting this trail as well, this is such a great area that is very underutilized, any loops of length up there would be fantastic!! Keep me in the loop please!

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