singletrack; wide path
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• Also check out Bull Creek Greenbelt
Once upon a time, St.
Edward’s Park was connected to other nearby parks, making a nice network
of trails. Unfortunately, however, the area that allowed it to be connected,
Forest Ridge, is no longer a legal place to ride for mountain bikers.
Nevertheless, St. Ed’s is functional as a standalone park.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of St. Edward’s Park is that the park map located at the trailhead fails to reflect all of the trails one will come across. Granted, some may be rogue trails, but many that don’t seem to be found on the map do seem to be legitimate trails. Although that may make for a bit of frustration, it doesn’t deter from the fact that St. Edward’s has some decent trails.
Considered more of a network of trails than anything else, St. Edward’s can be broken down into an out and back or two and multiple loops.
The out and back trails are suitable for pretty much any rider out there, no matter how new they may be to mountain biking. As a matter-of-fact, if you stay on the east side of Bull Creek the trails seem to generally stick around a 2 as far as technical level is concerned. Once you cross the creek, however, tech level 4 conditions are quite possible. The out and back sections along the east side of Bull Creek are generally smooth singletrack, with the occasional wide path section. Suitable for any rider, the out and back heading north is a sweet 1/2 mile of singletrack (one way). With only one spot I can recall that would be considered a bit difficult, this trail is definitely a pleasant one. At one point the trail is intersected by a road, but it isn’t until you reach the Bridge #6 side that you know it’s time to turn around. On the return trip you may find yourself alongside the creek itself. Although the trail is a little more challenging in places, it isn’t too difficult even for the new rider.
On the opposite, out and back (south side of the park), however, the trail seems to vanish alongside the road. If you passed an opening in the fence take it and turn right where the trail splits. Welcome to the west side! The west side of St. Edward’s Park couldn’t be further from beginner friendly. You have a couple choices here:
1) Follow the rocky wide path up the hill and then bomb back down. Keep in mind that you are looking at close to a mile climb (but that’s close to a mile descent!),
2) Start up the rocky path, turn right at the split, then go straight at the next split (going right at the this split will send you down a short hill back to the creek, which will lead you to the concrete dam/break). After traveling along some rocky sections you will come to somewhat of a rocky opening. Going left here will take you back to the rocky path, but taking a right will send you somewhere else altogether.
If you decided to go right make sure you have a good sense of balance and lack the tendency to look where you don’t want to go. As you work your way up the trail, you’ll find yourself navigating over roots and around trees, but soon enough you will see that the trail runs directly along the ledge overlooking the creek. Don’t look down or else you may find your bike heading towards a 100 foot descent [see photo]. Eventually you will come to yet another split in the trail (you’ll know you’re there by the little guy in the tree stump [see photo]. One direction takes you into a deep ravine and back out (not all too rideable, though), while the other takes you up a long, loose climb featuring off-camber sections. I can’t say whether the climb is worth it in the end since my bike decided it would put a stop to the climbing by suffering a technical. If you have made it all the way up this climb, let us know how it went so we can complete this review.