Fantastic panoramic view of the huge valley of Heil. Longs peak in the distance. When the weather is good, there are numerous bikes, but they are always extremely courteous and step aside for hikers. Paths are just big enough that you can squeeze by one another.
Starting at the Heil Ranch parking lot, you'll climb right from the beginning at first onto a dirt fire road, but then the singletrack Wapiti Trail
comes up quickly on the left. Rocky gradual climbs for about 2.5 miles to where the Ponderosa Loop
starts. Turn left onto Ponderosa Loop
, which climbs slightly at first, then descends along easy, rolling terrain to the overlook.
Soak up the 180 views and then continue north down Wild Turkey where you'll get a bit of a break for some downhill and all the way to the bottom of Picture Rock
. Along Picture Rock
you'll see multiple old rock mining excavation sites and some nice views of the valley, all while cruising working your way down some switchbacks and rocky terrain.
Once at the Picture Rock
parking lot you have a 5-mile climb back to Wild Turkey Trail
. Turn left to finish the Wild Turkey Trail
and then head left onto the Ponderosa Loop
. Shortly after turning onto the Ponderosa Loop
you'll reach the top of Wapiti Trail
. This is a good place to rest as by now you'll be pretty tired.
From here it's a simple descent on Wapiti Trail
to the Heil Ranch parking lot!
Wild turkeys on "Wild Turkey Trail
," possible rattlesnakes in areas, coyotes and maybe mountain lions.
Be aware, there is a sign for an "aggressive grouse" on the Ponderosa Loop
near the overlook. Please take this sign seriously! That grouse ain't messin' around.