Description: The trail begins as a single track that heads west
along the south shore of Ward Creek. The trail branches twice early
on at 0.3 miles and 1.5 miles. In both cases, you want to stay left
as the right branch takes you down to Ward Creek.
After the second branch the trail begins to climb in earnest and continues
to do so for the next 5 miles. The trail is in good shape and is rideable
the entire way. The trail gently switchbacks up the ridge toward Stanford
Rock passing through pine and fir forest. In several areas, grand vistas
of Lake Tahoe will open before you and beckon you to stop (as will the
constant climbing!) As you round the ridge and turn more west, views
of the backcountry abound. The trail continues up and up until you top
out on Stanford Rock at 8473' and 6.7 miles from the trailhead. From
here you have a tremendous view of Ward Creek Canyon and Twin Peaks.
A trail continues on to Twin Peaks for the hardy. For the rest of us,
begin a steep descent until you reach the trail junction marked with
a wood post. Take a right into Ward Canyon and begin a killer 6 mile
descent through sparse forest and meadowland full of mules ear, lupine,
and hoards of other beautiful flora. Parts of the descent are very technical
and need caution. The single track eventually crosses Ward Creek and
turns into a double track which intersects Ward Canyon Rd. Turn right
onto the paved road and finish the 2.5 miles of descent to Highway 89.
Turn right onto the bike path and follow this 0.75 miles back to Ward
Creek and your car.
Concerns: Once again, try to minimize
erosion by staying on the trail. Walk bikes around wet areas instead of
making a new path. On the descent, reduce skidding by keeping your speed
under control. STAY ON THE TRAIL!
This ride is completely on government land, but comes close to many private
areas. The property owners on either side of the trail can be very protective
of their property so please stay off their land.