Price Valley Trail
The 4-mile hiking trail system is a work in progress and can be accessed from both the north and south end of the forest reserve. From the kiosk on Wheeler Road, there are three options for hikers.
The Price Valley Trail is a 2.1-mile point-to-point hike along a well-defined two-track that ends at Darwin Road, a seasonal road that is not plowed. This is a flat-to-gently rolling trail that is crossed by several old logging trails but is well marked.
From the Wheeler Road trailhead (post No. 1), you head west, quickly cross the Central Ridge Mountain Biking Trail and then swing to the north, passing a 10-foot-high deer enclosure that protects the underbrush and trees from over browsing. You reach post No. 4 at Mile 0.4, where the Price Valley Trail continues to the left.
The two-track remains a level and easy walk between the two ridges for the next 1.5 miles, reaching post No. 6 at Mile 0.9 and post No. 7 at Mile 1.8, where there is another deer enclosure. Price Valley Trail continues north (left), where it steadily climbs to post No. 9, reached at Mile 2.1, and marking the north end at Darwin Road.
If you didn\'t spot a car, you could simply backtrack or follow Darwin Road east to post No. 8 and return to Wheeler Road via the Darwin Loop Trail and then the spur to post No. 5 to avoid as much backtracking as possible, a goal for many of us. Such a hike would total 5.2 miles with the spur to post No. 5 featuring far more climbing than the Price Valley segment.
Darwin Loop Trail
Darwin Loop Trail was added in 2017 when the conservancy purchased an adjoining 14 acres. The trail is actually a 0.7-mile segment between posts No. 8 and No.7, but when combined with the north end of the Price Valley Trail and Darwin Road, it forms a loop of 1.7 miles.
This is a hilly walk in the woods along easy to follow two-tracks. From post No. 8, it\'s a steady climb south of 0.4 miles to the crest of a ridge where at times, it\'s possible to catch a glimpse to the west of Sugarloaf, the shuttered ski resort that closed in 2000. At this point, the trail swings 180-degrees to the north and descends the ridge, reaching post No. 7 at Mile 0.7, marking the junction with the Price Valley Trail.
Head north (right) for a steady, 0.3-mile climb to Darwin Road. You then finish off the loop following the seasonal, dirt road east to post No. 8, reached at Mile 1.7. The final 0.4-mile segment is a steady descent along a beautiful, winding forested road with usually little to no traffic. Keep in mind the road is not plowed in the winter, and there is limited parking at posts No. 8 and No. 9.
Also located at the Wheeler Road trailhead is the Loop Trail, a mile-long footpath that lies between the East Ridge and Central Ridge Mountain Bike Trails. Loop Trail is a pair of old two-tracks posted in a counterclockwise direction that begins with a steady, quarter-mile climb to post No. 2. The post marks where the East Ridge Mountain Bike Trail crosses the footpath. You must keep an eye out for off-road cyclists flying downhill here!
The climb continues to post No. 3, reached at Mile 0.5, and marking where Central Ridge Mountain Bike Trail crosses the Loop Trail. At this point, the footpath swings south and begins a steady descent back to the trailhead. For much of the way, you parallel the Central Ridge Trail and can watch mountain bikers racing through the trees.