It seems like summer has begun in earnest now, and with the snow retreating slowly up to the peaks, one by one trails are clearing off and drying up.
I had never been to the Dutch Hollow trail system. In fact I didn’t know much about it other than a shaky video that Fuzzy had posted on Facebook from Memorial Day Weekend. It looked dry and fun so we made the trip up there Saturday. Got a big mix of people for a Saturday morning, the regulars, the semi-regulars, those I haven’t seen in over a year, and a first timer(nice to meet you Paul).
Several people had described Dutch Hollow as “Lambert with elevation change”. I ‘d say that’s accurate. While the trails are pretty concentrated, they’ve done a good job of keeping you from realizing your covering a lot of the same ground. Also there’s enough to keep you entertained long enough to meet ZenMasterKenny’s “the ride time should at least exceed the drive time” rule.
With the large group we had the usual “Where should we go” and “I don’t care, I’m easy” discussions at the truck. Good thing we had Sister Nosack along once again to play trail guide.
Our first climb had us on a wandering climb up Cottontail loop which takes you up to Burnt Ridge. Everything was peaches and cream singletrack. Not too steep, buff like it had been raked, and interesting enough to keep you from getting bored. I figure it probably gets pretty toasty in the middle of summer, but right now things are perfect.
All the other trails in Dutch Hollow are foreplay. They’re fun, get you all excited, but we all know why we’re there. There seems to be a quick route to Barrel from the top of any climb. And for good reason. It’s the fun way down. Pretty sure there are no rocks anywhere on the trail. Gravity leads you into bomber berm sections. With only a couple tight spots to slow you down and check your speed, you cover the half mile pretty quick, and finish wanting to snuggle or sleepy depending on your emotional attachment.
We explored a little more climbing up Dutchmans Way which is another smooth grind, this parallels the dirt road that goes up the middle of the canyon, ending at a small stream crossing.
Another quick run Barrel and we climbed Sage to the 1000 turns trail. A pretty good grunt followed by a tight, methodical, slow motion descent. A little overgrown, and under-traveled, things reach out and grab you.
By descending 1000 turns(though I swear I only counted maybe 850) you commit to climbing Enchanted Forest. It’s probably the steepest climb we did all day but not overwhelming. A lot of trees, and greenery keep you shaded. A good excuse to end up at the top of Barrel for another run.
All in all good stuff. Not the kind of trails that you’d put into heavy rotation, but definitely good for a change of pace and scenery.