OverviewThe Ingles Creek Trail is a excellent ride and a trail that is near and dear to my heart. It was the first real mountain bike ride that I ever rode on a real mountain bike!
There are several options for where to start, and two ways to ride the loop. The trail consists of a steady uphill grind and a killer downhill regardless of the direction you take the loop. Clockwise is a longer more gradual downhill, and counterclockwise is an easier uphill, and a super fast downhill.
The terrain consists of mostly rocky well beaten trail with loose and bedded rocks to bounce over. There are several creek crossings to cool you off on the western half of the loop. The eastern half is extremely steep and has a lot more loose rock sections.
There is also another option from the top of the Ingles Creek...you can continue up to Silver Run Plateau.
The trail starts off at the parking just off of West Fork Road. You can either ride the loop clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on what kind of downhill ride you want to finish with. For the purpose of this trail report, I'll focus on the more popular counter-clockwise loop.
From the parking area, ride west on Silver Run Road. The road will split with a branch heading south. Continue east until you cross a small bridge over the stream. About 10 meters beyond the bridge, you will branch off onto the single track trail.
The single track starts with a fun swtichback section that can be a bit tricky with the rocks and tree roots in the extremely tight corners. If you're not in decent shape, you'll probobly have to take a breather on the way up the swithcbacks.
Once you reach the top of the switchbacks, you continue up the trail that is covered with good sized boulders and patches of rough tree roots. Though not very technical for the most part, it sometimes requires some decent technical skills just to bounce up some of the steep and rocky sections. There are several stream crossing along the way. The grade for the rest of the trail is a steady uphill grind with several short super steep sections.
Just before climbing the final grade, you will go down hill a bit to the last creek crossing and then back up on a sidehill to the top of the trail. From the top, you have the option of riding to Silver Run Plateau, continuing counter-clockwise down the steep, fast, and rocky trail...OR, you can turn it into an out and back and head back down the way that you came up. Whichever choice you make is going to be a good one!
If you continue counter-clockwise, you will start down through a windy sidehill trail that passes through a nice meadow with lots of mountainside paintbrush and other mountain wildflowers. Just past the meadow, the trail levels out a bit and then...it gets fast! The trail is extremely steep...too steep and loose to be able to ride up (I've at least never seen anyone do it). There are a lot of water breaks in the trail made from rubber, logs, and rock. The trail is loose enough that you definitely need to be careful to not lose control.
The steep downhill ends in a small meadow with a stream running through the north end of the meadow. Once you cross the stream, you ride a little further and end up at a parking area and the southern end of Silver Run Road. The road is a fun ride down...the ruts and rocks make it interesting and you can definitely maintain your speed!
The road intersects with itself at the bottom. Take a right and you'll end up right back where you started!
Mileage Table to come...but maybe not until next summer!
Getting ThereFrom Red Lodge, drive like you're going to Red Lodge Mountain Resort...you follow Ski Run Road about 5 or 6 miles and take a left on West Fork Road at the tight hairpin corner where the pavement ends. Follow West Fork Road for about 4 or 5 miles. Take a left on Silver Run Road and you will find the parking area immediately after you cross the bridge.
More precise mileage to be added next time I go there
When to BikeDepending on the snowfall during the previous winter, you can get on this trail from late May through mid September.
BranchesSilver Run Plateau
Nordic Ski Loops