If you only have only an hour or two and want to get some elevation, views, and chunk squeezed in, this is a great route. This is not for the faint of heart, though.
- Trail/All Mountain
- Moderate to Expert difficulty, fitness and technical
- Best April-October (depending on snow conditions)
- Access from Water History Park
- Total climb: 2,200′, Total descent: 2,200′
- Total Mileage: 10 miles
- Time Needed: 2-3 hours
Starting at the Water History Park (good parking spot), you’ll begin on pavement heading up Upper Canyon Road. Keep your eyes peeled for a path and opening in a wire fence to your right, just past some new construction. This is the start of Dorothy Stewart trail.
Enjoy what we call the ‘hateful eight’ switchbacks and get in your first major views. You’ll descend some loose turns and crossover onto Camino Cruz Blanca road, which you’ll pedal past the Wilderness Gate and continue till the connector for the Atalaya Trail.
Head up the steps on the Atalaya trail and begin your major climb. Atalaya is typically pretty loose and rocky, with a mix of scrub and ponderosa forest. Take in the views while you catch your breath.
Once you get past the tighter switchbacks you’ll reach the summit. Rather than come back the way you came, head down northwards on the narrow, rocky, and rowdy northside trail.
The final part of the descent will test your switchback abilities before getting back into some flow that puts your out where you started on Upper Canyon Road and your ride back to the car.