Length: 1,008 ft. • Difficulty: 4 (impassable obstacles)
Terrain: Overgrowth, peat moss, some stones, debris, wetland
If it weren’t for the city’s forestry department being careless by leaving several downed trees lying across the trail, Skunk Trail would be one of the more pleasant and easier rides in City Forest. But the four trees left in the trail prevent riders from getting any momentum, as each obstacle requires bicyclists to walk.
The trail begins on the righthand side of Main Road about 500 feet past the end of Shannon Drive. You’ll see the brown trail sign nailed to a tree. You’ll probably want to walk your bike through the first 50 feet or so because of an overgrowth of XXX and XXX saplings. Be careful making your way through the XXX because the bush features large and sharp thorns.
Once you reach the trail sign, you’ll be able to easily pick up the trail as it heads northeast through a smattering of ferns on either side and along the soft, moss-covered forest floor. There are some sharp, exposed stones through this area, but nothing too difficult to steer around. However, there are a few sudden depressions in the soft forest floor to be wary of.
You will encounter the first fallen tree about 210 feet along the trail, with the second fallen tree about 35 feet farther than the first. Unless you have exceptionally strong upper body strength, you’ll have to carry your bike over both obstacles.
At this point the tree density increases on either side of the trail as you head deeper into the woods and pass patches of bunchberry on the ground and an occasional pink lady slipper. The forest floor is still covered mostly in moss, but there are moderate-size rocks hidden underneath that you’ll have to look out for.
After passing the fourth, and last, fallen tree, the trail opens a bit as you continue through a small, cleared section of woods. In this area leftover brush from the harvested trees makes it difficult to follow the trail. Keep to the left, on the edge of the tree line and leftover debris. There will be patches of grass to the right of the trail.
Continue bearing left, avoiding the temptation to explore some of the apparent paths that branch off to the right. Those paths were created for the tree harvest and are not trails.
At about 740 feet along the trail you will encounter a nearly impassable stretch of wetland that takes the trail northwest for about a hundred feet. The ground is extremely soft in this area and wet. Rainwater tends to pool in several spots along this section.
Upon going through the wet section, the trail then heads up a small, Grade 2, incline. When you reach the crown, it’s an easy ride on firmer ground for the last 130 feet.
Skunk Trail ends about a third of the way along Squirrel Trail. If you go left onto Squirrel, you’ll reach Main Road in about 300 feet. If you go right onto Squirrel, you will eventually end up on East Trail, which is one-way to the northwest for bicyclists.
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