This route is featured on some Forest Park Conservancy maps. They highlight the chance to see all of Maple Trail
while completing a loop. By linking with Leif Erikson and Wildwood Trail you get to experience the best of central Forest Park.
A couple of short, steep hills add variety to a course that's mostly gently rolling. Downed trees are the most common obstacles, with two easy stream crossings also along the way.
A bridge has been out on Maple Trail
for about two years. Signs say to detour onto Koenig and Firelane 4
, but if you're OK scrambling out of a small ravine there's no real need.
When running along Wildwood toward Maple, you'll encounter a sign that says "To Maple Trail
." Ignore this sign; it is a short cut through some brambles. But from here be alert; the actual turn off to Maple is easier to miss, as it's a T intersection where the signs are not optimally placed.
From the trailhead follow NW Saltzman Road
for about half a mile, until the junction with Maple Trail
. This is one of the more popular trails in the park, and can get busy during peak times.Turn right, and follow Maple until it dead ends at NW Leif Erikson Drive Trail
. This section of trail is a gradual climb through the maple canopy.
Turn right again and follow Leif about three quarters of a mile. Enjoy the peace and quiet along the way on NW Leif Erikson Drive Trail
- it's easy to zone out as you take in the sounds and sights of the forest, and forget how close you are to the city. The trail surface is generally smooth and wide, so there's room for the many bikes you'll likely see along the way.
After about three quarters of a mile, you'll find Wiregate Trail
. Wiregate is a left off of Leif, and runs a short way steeply uphill to Wildwood Trail - National Recreation Trail
. Turn left onto Wildwood. This trail provides for a quiet and serene run through varied and evolving forest ecosystem.
After a little more than five miles on Wildwood, Maple is another left off of Wildwood. Maple will bring you back to NW Saltzman Road
where you turned off, and the trailhead is about half a mile to your right.