Highlands Trail Review

A few months ago I published a post featuring a ride on Corrals and Bob’s trails. At the time, the easiest way to incorporate this ride into a loop was to start out in town, (Camelsback) and ride up Bogus Basin Road to the Corrals trail-head. Then do Corrals, Bob’s to the 8th street “bailout” and then up to Trail 4 and down Hulls Gulch. In spite of my resistance to pavement, I had to admit that this ride was fun. I claimed that I was ready to add it to my list of “regulars” — and I thought I would. But then the Ridge to Rivers gang went in and built this new trail – no more Bogus Basin Rd. for me.

With the addition of the new Highlands Trail into the Ridge to Rivers system, this ride now has some compelling alternatives that don’t involve pavement riding. When I first noticed this trail being built, I was scheming how to integrate it into some of my loops. I’ll get to the ride that I did, and the viable alternatives later in this article, but first a short review of the trail itself.

For those who may not be totally familiar with the geography, the lower end of this trail is at the bottom of Bob’s trail where it intersects Hearthstone Drive, (in a cul-de-sac). At the upper end, it intersects Corrals about .4 miles from the trail-head. The trail is 1.7 miles long and has approximately 600 ft of elevation gain. It makes use of new man-made sections, as well as some natural “cow paths” and old road beds that are now “single-track”. There are a couple of very tight hairpins, one with big exposure on a steep side hill and the other right in the middle of a gully. I’ve flagged these with waypoints in the GPS data. The rest of the trail flows nicely and there are no real obstacles such as rocks, trees or brush. Here is a Google earth view of the Highland trail.
I rode the trail from bottom to top as part of a clockwise loop. If you are going to ride this in a natural loop with Corrals and Bob’s, then the question is which direction. I think it boils down to this:

  • Do you want your downhill to involve technical sections, big bumps and lots of speed? Then ride it clockwise, let ‘er rip on the Corrals DH and charge as hard as you dare down Bob’s.
  • Are you looking for smooth sailing on the DH and kick-your-butt grades on the climb? Then ride it counter clockwise, but beware that your Corrals DH will have a lot more uphill traffic, including foot traffic then the clockwise DH.
  • Also, I saw more hikers on Highlands then bikers, but that could just be that the mountain biking community hasn’t discovered it yet.

The GPS data and map below shows the ride that i did, which accesses the loop from Camelsback via Red Cliffs, Crestline, Trail 4 and then crossing 8th Street. I returned via Hulls Gulch. This was a great 18 mile ride and it linked in some exciting, technical downhill sections with some good climbs. Here are the alternates that I see from this: (This link has data for these alternatives, Highlands GPS data including alternate loops and rides)

  • Add Scott’s trail in, to give you more vertical and a 20 mile total ride.
  • Just do the basic Corrals, Bob’s, Highlands loop by starting at Corrals trailhead, the alternate trailhead off of Bogus Basin Rd, or the 8th Street Parking are at the transition from Trail 4 to Corrals. These alternatives will all be around 9-10 miles.
  • There are tons of others which include starting in the cul-de-sac, utilizing 8th street or still riding up Bogus Basin Rd, but all of these involve pavement or gravel with cars, so I put them lower on my list.

Corrals/Bob’s Highlights: This video will give you a good feel for the Corrals and Bob’s downhill section of the loop.

GPS Data and map of full ride from Camelsback Park:

GPS Data and map of the Highlands Trail and connection to Corrals Trail-head (direction is climbing):

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