Explore Park trail designations?
I'm not clear on the naming of the trail loops at Explore Park. Relative to the map, which loops constitute what seem to be referred to elsewhere as the "inner" and "outer" trails?
I rode the beginner and intermediate trails yesterday in the late afternoon but skipped the endurance loop and the expert loop in the interest of making time with the sun setting. I also bailed just after the point where signs indicate a reroute (being a visitor and first-timer on these trails, not sure wheter thats on the inner or outer loop) because i wasn't sure of what i might be getting into, knew what i'd have to ride to get back if I turned around, and was not equipped for riding in the dark. I'm planning on going back today, earlier, so i can ride the whole thing. I'd be grateful for any opinions as to the relative technical aspects and strenuousness of those loops compared with the intermediate trail (which I found to be a good workout and definitely within my fitness and ability).
I'd also welcome any route suggestions.
Thanks for any feedback.
Last edited by twangcat; 11-22-2012 at 04:43 AM.
Reason: Additional question added
Take the endurance loop, its one of the best trails there. It will drop you onto the inner loop, which is short. That will take you to the outer loop which is also one of my favorites and I think the most scenic. Totally skip the river / expert loop, it is a mess totally covered in briars and blowdowns.
Thanks for the info. I didn't see this post until after returning from another ride at Explore Park. As chance would have it, my route was precisely as described here.
I did have one odd glitch though. At the double yellow blaze where the Outer (?) loop divides, I took the left fork. I expected the trail to loop back on itself, but instead I simply ran out of blazes on the trees and the trail dead ended at a dirt road. I turned right on the road and followed it up about 100 meters and ran into a chain and no trespassing signs. At that point I turned around and searched for where I might have missed the point where the loop doubled back but never found it. Ended up following the trail back to the car, minus the Endurance loop.
Leaf fall out there makes things difficult to navigate for someone unfamiliar with the route, but its a beautiful area and a great ride only 8 miles from where we're staying now. I'll probably hit it again tomorrow now that I'm more familiar.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Yea those trails don't see a lot of use and there are some big old trees in there so leaves will be a problem for a while. Mill Mountain trails are also pretty close to there if you wanted to mix it up. It gets a lot more use and the leaves are pretty well burned in, same with Carvin's Cove..