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Hurkey Creek Epic

May Valley & Hurkey Creek

 

My first attempt to ride the “24 hour loop” went a bit pear shaped, and I missed the turn off to Rage through the Sage and Tunnel of Love.  While getting my steed fixed up, I got a lot of useful trail intel from the shop owner. The trails he marked for me on a very basic map were some local secrets, and there is no way I would have been able to ride them without this inside intel. The good thing was, I managed to map a loop that included the Rage through the Sage and Tunnel of Love..

I must say though, there was one thing that made me (almost) hate these trails….

 

Hurkey Creek Trails Map
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Trail Stats & Information

 

Nearby Town : Idyllwild
Length: 17.29 miles
Trail Type: Loops
Skill Level: [what the books say] no info
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically easy to moderate. Physically moderate.
Duration
: My time was 04:25:15
Elev Gain
: 2,181 feet
Top Elev : 5,435 feet
Min. Elev : 4,378 feet
 

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Book Description

I could not find any Mtb Trail books describing the Hurkey Creek Trails, so the below descriptions are based on my personal experience :
>> The Hurkey Creek Trails just a few miles from Idyllwild offer some fantastic and scenic trails. Some of the trails are pretty popular, and are used in the 24 Hour Race held in the Spring. Trails such as Johnson Meadow, Exfoliator, Rage through the Sage and Tunnel of Love are some of the must do rides in this area.
May Valley offers some fantastic loop trails that can easily be combined. To get the most out of these trails you will really need a local to show you, or some local advice on which trails to take and HOW to ride them, for example the Lower South Ridge must be done counter clock, giving you an excellent downhill experience, rather than a hike up.
Visit the Hub bike shop, and get a map and  some advice before heading out.
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My Experience

Luckily for me, I had done a section of this ride a couple of days previous, so I had a much better grasp of the layout, I also had a slightly better map and a head full of trail info.
Again I set out early, I was on the trails at 6 am. the first 45 min. was on trails I had done before, so that went pretty smooth. Then onto the un-mapped “Meadow Trail” a sweet short trail that connected me to the Murkwood Trail. From here it was a gradual climb that took me to the Lower South Ridge Trail. From here it was a funtastic and pretty technical downhill to Coldwater Trail.  The Coldwater Trail is a moderate climb, it coud be an easy climb, seeing as it is pretty gradual however the sandy singletrack makes it some what demanding. You then continue pass the Murkwood Trail where you were more than an hour ago. When you hit the fire road, make a left, and immediately look for a well hidden singletrack on the RIGHT hand side, this will connect you to the Second Brother, that will then connect you to Cahuilla Cutoff. The Cahuilla Cutoff is also a really nice fast trail with a few “no warning” tech spots, so be careful. At the end of this trail, you cross a fire road and continue straight onto the “Coffee Pot” … Why is it called the Coffee Pot?.. ride it and you will know where the name came from.
The Coffee Pot ends at the beginning of the Exfoliator. I described this trail in my previous review, and all I can say is that the second time on this trail was just as mental as the first.. A MUST!!
This time I took the right left hand turn and crossed the creek and started the short but demanding climb to the top of Rage through the Sage.
Rage through the Sage is another fantastic and fast roller coaster ride,  not highly technical, but because of the potential speed you can reach, it’s not a trail to hesitate on which line you are gonna choose. If you choose the wrong line, my advice is to stick with it and hope for the best, ‘cos chances are you will bite the “Sage” if you try and change.
The Tunnel of Love is also a fantastic trail, a lot like the Exfoliator,  fast and sweet… Very Sweet!

 

Conclusion
I would say that 98% of the trails I did here are on singletrack, and sweet singletrack at that!. This ride is both technically and physically moderate, but there are one or two sections that are demanding . Lower South Ridge can even be pretty dangerous if things turn sour on certain sections. ( I actually endo’d on this section, and miraculously landed on my feet)
Exfoliator, Rage through the Sage and Tunnel of Love  are pretty well known trails, and once you’ve experienced them, you know why they are well known.
These trails are fantastic, but there was one thing that really put a damper on things.. Horse flies!!.. I’m not talking 2 or 3, I’m talking swarms!. I could not stop for 20 seconds to study my map without being attacked.
I mentioned this to some of the locals, and they said that it was really bad for some reason, and they confinced me that it is never this bad.

 

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : I had all the trails to myself, I did not see anyone.
Wild Life : A few dear along the Johnson Meadow section
Scenery : Great scenery
Getting There : Click HERE for directions from Idyllwild
Other : Take sun lotion and plenty of bug spray, the horse flies are terrible

 

My Trail Rating : 8 / 10


 

The Hub Cyclery IdyllwildThe Hurkey Creek and May Valley Trails review is proudly sponsored by :

The Hub Cyclery Idyllwild.

Don’t even consider riding the Hurkey Creek Trails before paying a visit to The Hub Cyclery. This is not your average Cycle Shop, the owners themselves are not just avid mountain bikers, they also build the popular Siren Mountain Bikes. The Hub Cyclery is well stocked with everything you and your bike will need on the trails, and a lot more. When you buy a Trails Map at The Hub, it comes with some free and unmissable advice and recommendations.

For more info please visit : www.hubcyclery.com

 


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Johnson Meadow Trail Hurkey Creek near Idyllwild CA

The Idyllwild Trails in California did their best to keep me away. I had first planned to come here about 5 weeks ago, and on the actual day I left Los Angeles to head to Idyllwild 4 feet of snow was dropped, and I got a phone call from a ranger saying that I would need chains to get to Idyllwild.. I put everything on hold, and headed South instead.

When I did finally make it to Idyllwild,  both my bikes were in dire need of a bike doctor, luckily for me The Hub Cyclery in Iydllewild did a fantastic job on ordering me some parts and getting me back on the trails..

So, was all this worth the wait?, or was I better off going elsewhere?

Hurkey Creek Trail
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Trail Stats & Information

 

Nearby Town : Idyllwild
Length: 7.3 miles
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: [what the books say] no info
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically easy. Physically  easy to modarate.
Duration
: My time was 01:37:28
Elev Gain
: 892 feet
Top Elev : 5,064  feet
Min. Elev : 4,393 feet
 

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Book Description

I could not find any Mtb Trail books describing the Hurkey Creek Trails, so the below descriptions are based on my personal experience :
>> The Hurkey Creek Trails just a few miles from Idyllwild offer some fantastic and scenic trails. Some of the trails are pretty popular, and are used in the  24 Hour Race held in the Spring. Trails such as Johnson Meadow, Exfoliator, Rage through the Sage and Tunnel of Love are some of the must do rides in this area.
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My Experience

Lucky for me there is the Internet, Google and some very good Mtb Forums, ‘cos if I had to get my trail info from books and maps, I would probably still be looking. The good thing was however, wherever I looked, or whoever I asked the answer was always the same.. Do the Exfoliator, Rage through the Sage and Tunnel of Love.
The above was the easy part, finding a trail map of these trails was not as simple. I did get a map from the Hurkey Creek Campground, and some advice about the trails, but to be honest, both meant very little once on the trail.
None of the trails are marked, and the map I had was a bad copy taken from Google Earth. It did not take me long to go wrong… 40 seconds to be exact. For any future non local riders who plan to ride this trail, as soon as you go through the gate at the very start of the trail, take the FIRST singletrack that takes a sharp left.. DO NOT stay on the main trail like I did for a whole mile!!.
Anyway once on the proper trail, a sweet singletrack takes you on a gradual climb to Keen Camp Summit. Once at the summit, you can prepare yourself for a fantastic fast flowing singletrack that takes you to the really nice Johnson Meadow. Here the trail bottoms out, and continues through this meadow for about 1.5 miles, I saw plenty of deer along this section. At the end of Johnsons Meadow, you start another  easy and graduate climb, that takes you to the large Oak Tree. Here at the large oak, you follow the trail on the right.. Congratulations, you have mage it to the Exfoliator. I have not got a clue what Exfoliator means, but let me tell you this, The Exfoliator is gonna put a smile on your chops that will last a long time. This is one hell of a short but sweet experience. FAST!!, just find your line and open up. The thrill is short lived, but it will last a lifetime..
So, I launced myself down the Exfoliator, and was ready to do the same on the Rage through the Sage and Tunnel of Love..
Well, things did not turn out that way, and I somehow completely missed the turn I should have made, so on this ride I never got to Rage through the Sage or the Tunnel of Love.. But, stick around, ‘cos 2 days later I did do these trails and a lot more.

 

Conclusion
The riding on these trails is fantastic, high elevation but without the serious uphill climbs. The trails are fast flowing and fun.
Some of these trails can and are very confusing for the first time riders in this area, they are not marked at all, and there are sometimes more than one to choose from. You are not gonna get lost on these trails, but just like myself, your planned route might turn out different than you had planned. But hey, worst case you just bomb down the Exfoliator 3 or 4 times.. Now that would be sweet!

 

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : I had all the trails to myself, I did not see anyone. 
Wild Life : A few dear along the Johnson Meadow section 
Scenery : Great scenery
Getting There : Click HERE for directions from Idyllwild
Other : Take sun lotion and plenty of bug spray, the horse flies are terrible

 

My Trail Rating : 7 / 10


 

The Hub Cyclery IdyllwildThe Hurkey Creek Trails review is proudly sponsored by :

The Hub Cyclery Idyllwild.

Don’t even consider riding the Hurkey Creek Trails before paying a visit to The Hub Cyclery.  This is not your average Cycle Shop, the owners themselves are not just avid mountain bikers, they also build the popular Siren Mountain Bikes. The Hub Cyclery is well stocked with everything you and your bike will need on the trails, and a lot more.  When you buy a Trails Map at The Hub, it comes with some free  and  unmissable  advice and recommendations.

For more info please visit : www.hubcyclery.com