Accessing Heil Ranch from the Lefthand trailhead? You'll be riding up the Wapiti trail until you reach the Ponderosa Loop about two and a half miles up. A couple notes before you get started: if the trailhead is full, don't park along the road, you're nearly guaranteeing yourself a ticket. Also, stay off the Lichen Trail, it's hiking only.
The first section of the trail starts climbing on the access road, and is very straightforward. In the spring or wet, the small creek crossing may be wet, but other than that, it's smooth sailing to the start of the singletrack on your left (the Lichen Trail also connects here to the right, please heed that bike closure). After crossing a bridge and hitting your first of many switchbacks, you'll come to a clearing with a bench. It's an amazing view back down the Heil Valley and also of the Olde Stage Road area.
Moving onward, you'll head into the trees, rocks, and switchbacks. This trail has been reworked since it's opening ten years ago, and instead of the three feet wide straight trail of old, it's been narrowed, twistified, and fun-ified. While the trail is never overly steep, it's collection of rocks and turns make it challenging not only technically but aerobically as well. After some well used trail time, you'll end up at the Ponderosa Loop intersection - ride some of Heil's stacked loops, or turn around the way you came and enjoy a great downhill to the car.
Also, there's plenty of relics from the Heil's pre-open space days. Old buildings, quarried areas, and other snapshots from the past are spread throughout the area - keep your eyes open!
|Wapiti Trail GPX File||96.17 KB|
|Wapiti Trail Google Earth File||2.88 KB|
|Heil Valley Ranch Kiosk Map||1.7 MB|
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