Loon Lake Death Loop! - Trail, Placerville, California

Loon Lake Death Loop! - Trail, Placerville, California

DESCRIPTION

This whole ride is really nasty and cannot be ridden by riders without a sense of adventure!! The first 1/3 of the ride is granite. It is a lot of fun though very technical in some areas (4-6' drop offs, etc). The second 1/3 of the ride is on the Rubicon Jeep trail. Also very very technical and steep in areas. Some walking required. The last 1/3 of the ride is all single track. Again, very technical!! The first time I rode this loop, I got spanked. I hated the whole experince. However, I went back and worked on some of my bike handling skills and it is by far my favorite ride anywhere!! You may want to get a forest map of the area since there is a section where you have to walk a quarter of a mile (in manzanita) to locate the single track. This is at spider lake just past the tunnel (the army core of engineers bored a 10' diameter tunnel from spider lake to loon lake to extract water from spider lake, very cool to see). I prefer to do the loop clockwise since I like to do trials on the granite when I'm fresh. The loop takes 2.5 to 4 hours depending on how much you want to goof off. The scenery is very cool. Be prepared for changing weather. Also have a plan ready in case someone gets hurt. The area is very desolate so beware! Enjoy!!

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 12  
[Nov 06, 2013]
Scott
Weekend Warrior

Tunnel goes to Buck Island.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[Jul 22, 1999]
Sid

The scenery is fantastic and the granite slickrock playground which is located off the Northwest corner of the lake (between Loon Lake and Wentworth Springs) is a blast especially at night.

Customer Service

This trail's complete name is the Loon Lake Ride and Death March! The climb you have to go up when you leave the Northeast side of Loon Lake is rideable for a ways but then you are gonna be pushing your rig. I think the other reviewer rides down this part but it would be a hike-a-bike from the other side as well. Big dinner plate size rocks make it almost impossible to ride down this trail as well but that section isn't to long. Bring lots of water and grub. This is adventure cycling-- no groomed singletrack to be found.

Similar Products Used:

Ride to the top of McKinstry Peak. Look at a forest service map and follow the jeep/forest service roads. There is a jeep trail that goes to the very top and you look down on Hells Hole Reservoir. It is like a view from a plane.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
[Jul 26, 1999]
Cdale

Whew- where to begin? This ride was a HUGE disappointment. I had ridden it many years ago, and it was fun then but now it's a death march. We followed directions from a popular book, called MTB Northern CA's Best 100 Trails. It was written in 1995, and the dumb s***s obviously haven't ridden the trails since they wrote the book. Many of the trails they described are now strewn w/ babyhead-sized rocks, making it hard to ride down, and impossible to ride up, and some of the signs aren't there anymore. I would guess we rode 1/4 of the time, and walked the rest, on rocks that chewed our shoes up. Virtually no singletrack. We were lost for a while, and since we knew we weren't too far off, we weren't too worried, but we were out there for 8 hours. Luckily we were prepared by bringing enough food & water, but this ride stinks. The best part was watching the jeeps navigate the Rubicon Trail. That is something to see! But- I wouldn't do this again unless we had a guide who knew where he was going.

Customer Service

Pull out of your driveway. Head towards another trail. One you know & like.

Similar Products Used:

Salmon Falls, Folsom

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
[Aug 06, 1999]
Jm

It is a pretty nice trail, and by nice i mean challenging, it is not the biggest loop ever, but it will take you a long time to do, yes there are huge rocks everywhere, yes it is challenging, yes it is very technical in sections, and yes, everyone will push their bike on this ride. But I dont think that detracts from it, it is a good trail, great scenery. Wacth out for the anal hikers, they think that the lake loop is in deslolation wildernes and therefore bike are prohibited, this is WRONG, you can ride a bike right up to the deslolation wilderness, just not in. The lake trail meets a trailhead that goes to desolation wilderness, so you you will see a lot of hikers on the south shore probably, tell em what i just wrote here, and to stuff it.
4 spontanious combusting chillis for this trail.

Customer Service

I started at the lake, and went east along the southern shore of the lake.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
[Sep 19, 1999]
Griff

I followed the same book as C-Dale. The only advice I can offer for readers of this book (if they haven't figured it out already) is that the book doesn't always contain the best directions and doesn't tell you about every fork in the road. Hence, you're left wondering if you're really going the right way. On ALL trails in the book, not just this one. For Loon Lake, that's a little sketchy because you'll see more hikers than bikers on this trail, and you won't see many hikers.
On to the Loon Lake Loop. . . This trail is for the MTB adventurer in many of us. It is not a trail to race. I would recommend giving yourself much more time than you think you'll need, and if you're following the book, remember, once you hit slickrock, there is one trail out. You can't really get lost. You just think you are. There are some tricky technical parts to this ride, and you have to push your bike ALOT. Go with the right frame of mind, the right supplies (food, minimal first aid, tools for your bike) and you'll be ok. Just remember, it is an adventure, not a race. I'm somewhere in the middle on this trail because I started late in the day and wanted to hammer out the trail and ended up riding A LOT longer than I really wanted. Watching Jeeps on the Rubicon was really cool. Three chilis for being in the middle. If I ever ride it again (this time I'll know where I'm going) I'll probably upgrade.

Customer Service

Follow everyone else's directions and don't expect to hammer this ride out. You will push your bike. You will go a long time without seeing people. You will ask yourself what idiot talked you into this ride. You will walk away with a unique experience.

Similar Products Used:

Clementine Loop (Auburn area trails), Ohlmstead Loop (Cool)

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
[Jan 30, 2000]
garrett

I just stumbled accross this trail review section today, and seeing this trail on here made me laugh. Like one rider put it "an experience", is how to describe this trail. I went on this about, oh, 2 years ago I think. I went with some guys from Bicycles Plus in Folsom (Scott, Justin, and some others), they did this ride once a year, and once a year only. They called it the Hell March. Rightfully so, because we walked about 1/4 of it. And 1/4 of 16 miles is around 4 miles. Maybe it wasn't 4 miles of walking, but it sure seemed like it, especially in rigid clipless shoes. And yeah, we did get lost a few times, and 50 ounces of water wasn't near enough water in march when it is still very temperate in the Sacramento area. Luckily there was a very kind older couple in a Jeep doing the Rubicon that gave all 8 of us a bottled water. I would like to thank them now. I have never drank so much water on a ride... And yes, it took like 5 hours to do it. I still remember seeing the Jeeps going up rocks and parts of the trail that looked impossible, something you would have to see to beleive.
To this day I have never seen anything like the Loon Lake Hell March, the 500 yard valley like slab of sheer granite (that was breathtaking, riding 30mph down granite that was as smoot as pavement, it was awesome), walking soo much your feet hurt, and walking up slick rocks and falling down :(, heheeh. After seeing people from our group mess up their knee on a 5 foot drop off, wiz on their oakley's, and ride in the beautiful scenery, I long to go on this ride again. I think I will try to hook up with the guys at Bicycles Plus again and go on that ride (now that I have more experience and full suspension) with them since the trail is poorly marked.
At the time I rode the trail, I though this was the crappiest trail ever, walking soo much, but for some reason I want to ride it again, go figure!

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
[Dec 23, 2000]
Trav

I find the best way to do this trail is in parts. From Loon Lake campground take the fun pretty technical single track for maybe 8 miles without too much elevation change. Turn left and make the whole loop counterclockwise. Otherwise I recommend turning around at the top of the last hill before the Desolation Wilderness and head back to make a nice ride. The trail gets more technical the further away from the campground and be nice to the hikers! The camp hosts can be very helpful. I've ridden the same trail away from Loon Lake over the mountain and down to the logging area near Bobs - not too much fun! A horse would be better suited to this part of the trail.

Then in the afternoon either drive or ride over to the dam and ride the slick rock. We play around there for several hours playing follow the leader up and down the slick rock. Great fun. Hang out and watch the jeeps crawl around the place.
I find it a lot more fun to jump on the dirtbike to tackle the next part of the Rubicon after the slick rock. Head up to Spider Lake and back.

Amazing scenery. Intermediate to advanced. Take a first aid kit because it is a long way home! Try and avoid long weekends when there can be huge traffic jams of jeeps on the Rubicon between the slick rock and Spider Lake.

Customer Service

We stay at Loon Lake campground.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Jul 23, 2001]
Travis

whatever

Customer Service

loon to spider and back out

Similar Products Used:

the tunnel doesnt run to spider lake. Spider lake is lower in elevation then loon. The tunnel goes to either rockbound or runbicon resivour

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Jul 03, 2002]
Eric

This is not a beginner's trail! Be prepared for a tough day for both rider and equipment. I would advise switching from your clipless pedals and shoes to platforms and decent hiking shoes-because you will be walking at least 25% of the time! Also, if you are riding anytime in the summer, bring LOTS of water. All in all, a very nice bike/hike with extreme technical sections and rock gardens like I have never experience in my 17 years of mountain biking!

Customer Service

Loon over the ridge down to Spider Lake

Similar Products Used:

Loon to Van Vleck bunkhouse-much more rideable with greater elevation changes and less rocks than the Loon loop.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
[Oct 06, 2002]
JB

This is one of - if not thee - best, action packed rides around... period.

Plan a whole day around it. Play on the granite. Re-ride sections you almost cleaned. Have a blast.

Bring spare parts. Bring plenty of food. A water purifier is good too. Wear pads if you have them. Bring a first aid kit.

Don't bring people that are not VERY comfortable riding really technical terrain, up and down. Don't bring people that blow up or bonk after 2 hours of riding. Stick together.

The guys I rode with today and I figure that probably less than 1% of all mt. bikers would ride this adventure...and like it.

I love it.

Customer Service

Counter clockwise

Similar Products Used:

Barrett's Jeep Trail to Wright's Lake is very similar from a techical stand point. More climbing though.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 12  

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