Vertical Mile Challenge Loop
ElevationAscent: 497' 152 m
Descent: -496' -151 m
High: 1,589' 484 m
Low: 1,126' 343 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 36% (20°)
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“A moderate, 2.2 mile loop with some steep ascending, interesting rock features, and great views.”— Amber Scott
The Quarry Trail is paved, but the rest of the loop is singletrack, either along forested trails with some roots and rocks, or across the namesake, smooth, exposed rocky faces of the mountain. A quarry once existed at the base of the mountain, and the Quarry Trail (unsurprisingly) offers cool views of the former quarry walls. The Vertical Mile Challenge Trail climbs many sections of steep, exposed rock—be sure to turn around to check out the views to the south, but definitely take care if it's wet or icy out as these sections could be very slippery and potentially dangerous given the exposure.
Because Rocky Face Mountain Recreation Area has over six miles of trails, it's easy to link together other trails to make a longer or shorter run. If the weather is looking bad or the Vertical Mile Challenge climb is too daunting, try the Grindstone Trail's gentler, switchbacking ascent to the Hollow Rock Trail. If the Vertical Mile Challenge Loop is too short on its own, consider running the entirety of the Hollow Rock Trail around the summit of the mountain. The Prison Camp Trail offers an alternative descent as well—it's a little longer, but also a little more gradual of a descent than the Hollow Rock Trail.
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