I spent 3 weekends lapping Munger Mountain. I hadn’t ridden this area for a couple of seasons, not since all of the new trails had been built. The last time I had ridden it there was basically only one loop on that went up what’s now Wally World and came down what I think is now Tusky Ridge or maybe Poison Creek. Since then there have been a lot of improvements made to this little network. A couple of loops have been added and anything existing was reworked and made a lot smoother. I used to think this was just a fun shoulder season ride and now I’d say it’s some legit XC riding any time of the season.
The first weekend Chris and I did a loop starting on Poison Creek pedaling up to the four way, coming down Tusky Ridge, back up Squaw Creek and then taking Wally World back to the trailhead. Super fun, really scenic and a good workout. There were quite a few trees down but hey, hurdles have become a key feature in at least one cycling discipline.
The next weekend I went back for round 2. The mountain definitely won this round with a crushing blow. I had decided to check out Big Munger with the intention of getting there via Wally World and Squaw Creek then returning on Rock Creek to Squaw Creek/Tusky Ridge/Cosmic Carol’s/Poison Creek. After estimating the mileage I knew this was going to be a big ride, it turned out to be bigger than I thought.
I was cruising right along until about a half a mile up Big Munger and then it got real… real steep that is. My GPS says there were 45 degree grades. Uphills that steep are probably enough to make most people say forget this but then you factor in the overall loose and rocky conditions along with the hoof holes and vole mounds and I’ll just say it, not so much fun. Needless to say, I ended up walking a whole lot of the uphill. I think that’s the general consensus from anyone I’ve talked to that’s “ridden” it. So yeah, the uphill was a beast but wow, the views are so f’ing incredible from up there. Several times as I was pushing my bike up the wall of trail in front of me I thought, I must be going at this from the wrong direction (after looking at the elevation profile I’m fairly certain there isn’t a right way). But everytime I stopped to catch my breath, which was frequently, I was blown away by the scenery.
So then there was the downhill which was also very steep. The first half mile was reminiscent of Lithium although the ladder might be a smidge easier. Either way you’re just full on sliding down the trail with both brakes locked and the rear tire especially close to your crack. After that it’s not so bad. It’s not the smoothest trail on the hill but there are definitely a few sections you can open it up on. That said maybe you’ll want to hold back just a bit. I had a couple oh sh*t moments like when I realized I was going to have to bunny hop laterally over a washed out rut that came slicing down the middle of the trail while doing around 20. There were also a lot of trees down on this at the time too.
Anyway, I rode this all the way out to Fall Creek Rd with the intention of turning back up Rock Creek but after making it to that point w/no water, food or energy left, I opted for the easy way back and took the road.
I took a whole lot of pics including the awesome photosphere at the top of this post which I’d suggest you click on if you haven’t done so already.
The following weekend I went back to finish it. This time I started at the Poison Creek trailhead and took the road down to the Big Munger trailhead, turned up Rock Creek, then a left on Squaw Creek to get up to the four way and the top of the hill. I turned around and rode this back down to Tusky Ridge then took the Cosmic Carol’s connector to the bottom of Poison Creek. This turned out to be a fun loop. A cruiser road ride to get warmed up followed by a couple short but steep climbs up Rock Creek. Coming down Squaw Creek there are a few long straightaways you can rip and one section has a handful of flowy bermed turns. The climb back up Tusky Ridge was mellow and the last couple miles of Carol’s and Poison Creek are mostly down. A lot easier than my ride the previous weekend and almost all of the downed trees had been cleared by this point.
I would definitely recommend all of the lower trails to anyone looking for some intermediate level XC riding. Most people will want to leave Big Munger alone unless you’re on foot, have a motor bike, or are just looking for an adventure ride.
I was able to get all of the trail map pages updated for Big Munger, Cosmic Carol’s, Poison Creek, Rock Creek, Squaw Creek, Tusky Ridge and Wally’s World. I also took a lot of photos which you can check out directly on the pages or from the gallery.