High Tech Delite


Wilder Ridge Loop to Zane Grey to Wilder Ridge Loop to Twin Oaks to Eucalytpus Loop to Enchanged Loop to Baldwin Loop to Wilder Ridge Loop
10.1 miles; max. elevation 640 feet

This somewhat advanced 10.1-mile route, which includes the park’s toughest climbs, gives a new definition to “tech-savvy.” It avoids fire roads whenever possible and takes you through Wilder’s most challenging sections, leaving almost no time to kick back and smell the manzanita. With taxing, treacherous climbs and a consistently technical focus, you can expect to sweat both physically and mentally (and who knows, maybe emotionally, too). Oh, and don’t forget to drench yourself in Tecnu after this poison oak makeout session.

From the cattle guard, make your first left to take Wilder Ridge Loop for a .8-mile fire road warm-up. Go left on the first trail, just past the pond (you’ll still be on Wilder Ridge Loop) for another 1.2 miles on a rutted meadow track skirting the Sand Quarry private property line below. On the right is Zane Grey Cutoff—a narrow, rocky .9-mile climb on a rutted trail that enjoys shade for the first half and then opens up to dry, steep terrain. It is not for the faint of heart. Emerge onto the upper section of Wilder Ridge Loop and enjoy the view before heading to your right along the fire road for .7 miles of recuperation. Stay alert and watch your speed: in the midst of a steep descent is the Twin Oaks trailhead on your left—a well marked trail that can nonetheless sneak up on you if you’re moving fast.

Take this slim meadow trail for.7 miles, then veer right at the fork for a short but scenic wooded track before meeting the Eucalyptus Loop. Go left for a rolling .3 miles that takes you to the next fun section: Enchanted Loop. The descents through meadows and enchanted woods leads to a short but semi-vertical, rooted climb out of the gully. Turn left on the fire road for .7 miles on Baldwin Loop Trail—a welcome reprieve after the climb. Head right at each fire road intersection to join the southern leg of Wilder Ridge Loop, which quickly becomes a speedy single-track descent. After less than a mile, watch for a trail on your left to stay on Wilder Ridge Loop, rejoining the first single track of the route after .4 miles. Pass the Zane Grey Cutoff trailhead and continue back down. Stay right at each fire road to return to the cow gate where it all began. Take yourself out for a well-deserved beer.

—Brooke Wright

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