“This steep, 7-mile ascent to the top of Blowhard Mountain will get the heart pumping and the legs burning.”
— Eric Lewis
Features: Views — Wildlife
The trail begins with a steep singletrack up through a narrow canyon. About a hundred yards up the hill, there is a trail going left. Continue straight. After about 0.4 miles, you reach the top of the cliff, where the trail begins to flatten out a little. In a couple of places, the trail follows right along the edge of the cliff.
At the 0.5 mile mark, you turn right, away from the cliff face, and follow the singletrack up into the trees. The trail is a bit rockier through this section. At the 0.75 mile mark, you cross a dirt road, with the trail clearly marked and visible on the opposite side. At mile 1.1, the singletrack tees into a doubletrack trail. Turn right here, and head up the steep and rocky hill.
At mile 1.4, veer left, back onto singletrack. At mile 2.4, you enter a small pasture on the side of the mountain.
Typically there is a herd of sheep grazing in this area so beware, especially if you are running with a dog off the leash. You'll have to pass through a gate in the fence. Make sure to secure it closed after you pass through.
After a steep climb through the pasture, you'll crest the hill, and the trail will begin to flatten out a bit, as you enter the pine forest. From here, the trail flows gently up and down for the next couple of miles. At mile 3.9, you'll enter a clearing in the woods and intersect the Potato Hollow Trail. Continue straight, through the meadow. On your right, you'll see a fenced parking area. This is the Crystal Springs Trailhead, and it can be accessed from Hwy 14.
As you leave the meadow, the singletrack re-enters the forest and begins to climb elevation for the next mile, before relaxing to a relatively flat stretch for the next 0.5 miles. At around mile 5.3, you'll pop out underneath a transmission line that goes up the mountain. Turn right, and follow the trail as it wraps around the right side of the steep ridge in front of you.
Over the next 0.6 miles, you follow a series of steep switchbacks, before popping out on the edge of the "breaks" at mile 5.9. From this point, follow the steep singletrack along the edge of the breaks. As you reach the edge of the breaks, you'll see a step and rocky hill in front of you. Climb this hill and, as you reach the top, follow the singletrack back into the woods on the left. The singletrack continues to to climb through the woods before popping out near the Doppler radar station. From here, the trail is relatively flat to the upper trailhead!