Loon Lake Bike/Hike

Destination: Pleasant Campground/day hike to Rubicon Reservoir
Mileage: 20 miles round trip
Trailhead: Loon Lake off Ice House Rd from Hwy 50
Elevation: 6,430 up to 6,850 feet

1. View along Loon Lake 2. Pleasant campsite 3. Click for larger map 4. Success at Rubicon Reservoir 5. Frustrating hiking surface

1. View along Loon Lake 2. Pleasant campsite 3. Click for larger map 4. Success at Rubicon Reservoir 5. Frustrating hiking surface

For as much as I love backpacking, Wildlife 4-8 loves mountain biking even more – this trip was an attempt to combined these two passions.

From Highway 50 take Ice House Road into the Crystal Basin for 28 miles to Loon Lake – follow signs to Loon Lake when the road forks with Wentworth Springs Road. Take the right for the Loon Lake Campground and then follow the signs for the trailhead.

From the trailhead pick your mode of transportation – it’s hike, bike, horse, or boat to Pleasant Campground. By land it’s about four miles to the campground itself, with the elevation gain saved for the last mile. Once at the campground we had our pick of sites, there wasn’t another camper all weekend. We chose a sheltered site with a lake-view. I’m not positive which campsite it was, but I’d guess seven.

On Saturday we traveled to Buck Island Lake where we stashed Wildlife 4-8’s bike and crossed the wilderness boundary to Rubicon Reservoir. I cast my fishing line into the water about 10 times with not so much as a glance from the fish. Wildlife 4-8 casted twice and caught the largest fish I’ve seen in the wilderness…typical!

We learned a lot from this bike/hike experiment – including researching trail design! This particular trail was not designed with mountain biking in mind, so Wildlife 4-8 had some frustrating moments. Starting on the backside of Loon Lake all the way to Buck Island Reservoir the trail is an old road that was designed for driving; I nicknamed this stretch ankle-twister alley. I never actually rolled my ankle thankfully, but they got such a work out they were sore.

One more forewarning, while this adventure is dog-friendly Aspen and I met a rattlesnake on the trail. Thankfully the snake and I had a mutual distaste for each other, while Aspen was blissfully unaware, and we parted ways without incident.

Ssssssseee you next week,

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