Last week Kinney and I checked out the Grove Creek to Drake Creek Ride in the southern end of the Big Holes. I had never ridden these before but gathered from reading a few descriptions and talking to several people who had ridden them, that there would be some hiking involved. Pushing bikes up steep hills is typically not my idea of a fun ride but what they hey. I filled Kinney in on these details and he was still game so off we went.
From Victor we took 8000 out to Grove Creek Rd and continued up to the trailhead where we parked. This particular day may have been the hottest of the year, it was definitely the most humid I’ve ever felt it here. I didn’t think it was possible to sweat that much. A local guide book which included this ride showed a stick figure pushing his bike around 3/4 of the way up. It wasn’t long before we decided this stick figure would have been better placed around 1/4, maybe 1/3 of the way up. This thing is steep. Thankfully it’s also short, slightly under a mile and a half from the parking area to the junction with the Big Hole Crest Trail. We got to this point and hiked up the short overlook trail to get a better view of the valley and a few photos. From there we also got a better view of the southbound Crest Trail and realized we weren’t quite through with the push. After walking the bikes for a few more minutes the trail leveled out a little and we pedaled the rest of the way up and over to Drake Creek.
Drake was actually really fun to ride down. It was super tight and narrow with a few really technical sections all of which were made just a little more challenging by the overgrown foliage crowding the trail and hiding these features until the very last second. Several times I missed hard turns in the trail and rode off into the bushes and a couple of rocky sections definitely caught me off guard. Then it was over. This trail is also slightly under a mile and a half which makes for a rather short descent.
We returned to Grove Creek along the gravel back roads which round out the ride. I’m normally not a huge fan of riding roads on my mountain bike even if they aren’t paved, but it felt good to actually get some pedaling in on this ride. A fast descent, a rolling traverse, and a short climb later we were back at the car and ready for a beer(s).
This loop is definitely an adventure even considering how short it is. I’ve felt less worked after much longer rides. Still, it was pretty fun to explore some new and scenic terrain. But I think the next time I ride either of these I will probably just go down one or the other of them after pedaling up Spooky/Corral Creek.