A good introduction to trail navigation in Forest Park, this route features portions of the super popular NW Leif Erikson Drive Trail
and Wildwood Trail - National Recreation Trail
. Along the way, you'll find a couple of fun ascents and descents all of which are connected by smooth single- and doubletrack.
Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek
Parking at the trailhead gets tight, as it's a neighborhood. In the morning, runners and cyclists frequent the Clearing Cafe down the hill on Thurman for post-run coffee and pastries. Tuesday evenings at 6:30 a group run uses this route as the longer of two options. For more information, visit their Facebook
Begin at the Thurman Road trailhead, and head for the NW Leif Erikson Drive Trail
. Leif is a wide lane through the woods, with a steep slope up to a ridge on the lefthand side when headed north. The trail surface on is mostly gravel. White mile markers are present every quarter mile, which will help you make your way up Leif for about three miles. Then turn left onto the Nature Trail
This portion of the route is the most idyllic. The Nature Trail
meanders along and crisscrosses a stream briefly before heading up a steep hill to dead end at the Wildwood Trail - National Recreation Trail
. At the intersection you'll find a clearing with a picnic table.
You'll work along the Wildwood Trail - National Recreation Trail
another four-plus miles, then take a left onto Wild Cherry Trail
. Wildwood and Wild Cherry are both singletrack trails through dense woods. Trees fallen across these trails are not uncommon.
Wild Cherry will bring you back to Leif at the portapotty about a quarter mile from where you started; take a right and continue on back to the gate.