Friday, October 16, 2015

Trail Review: Soldier Ridge Trail, Sheridan, WY

One of many views from the Soldier Ridge Trail, outside of Sheridan, WY.

Back in July, on our return home from Montana where my family and I spent part of my sabbatical, car issues struck one of our vehicles and we ended up spending some time in Sheridan, WY.  As this stop was unexpected, we found we had some time on our hands as we awaited a repair.  Having found a hotel, I picked up a copy of "Destination Sheridan: The Official Lifestyle & Tourism Magazine of Sheridan County" in the lobby.  As I glanced through the magazine later, I found on page 72, a trail review for the Soldier Ridge Trail on the outside of town.

The first stretch of trail has been widened and lightly covered with some pea gravel.

I decided the next morning I would get up early and go out on this 4 mile trail, (one way, and not including a connecting spur just before mile three that heads off to the north).  I ran a little more than 2 miles out and then back, for just under 4.25 on a very sunny morning.  The trail gives awesome views of the Bighorn Mountains and rolls over several hills.  There are a few cattle guards to go thru and a mileage marker will appear occasionally.  

The only real shade on the trail comes from the hills themselves.

The first stretch of trail, probably well under a mile, has been widened a bit more than single-track width and covered lightly with pea gravel.  This wider section ends as you come to the top of a hill with a sign detailing some facts about the area.  At this point, you descend down the side of a hill on single-track.  The only shade on the trails comes from the hills themselves depending upon the time of the day.  As it was very early in the morning, some of the single-track was also gummy or tacky.  I would probably put this down to soil type, time of day, and moisture in the ground.  The trail is very narrow, almost game trail width in a few places as it is carved out of the ground, making footing just a bit tricky.  The trail, according to the website, (Soldier Ridge Trail), was completed in 2013, at least in terms of acquiring the land.  But something I read, (and I can't remember where at this point), indicated that work on widening the trail would be ongoing as they sought to make the whole trail similar to the opening stretch so it could be more readily usable.  The following is a selection of pictures from the rolling hills of the Soldier Ridge Trail with the Bighorn Mountains in the background on a VERY sunny morning.  (Some of the pictures may look a bit washed out!)

This was a fun stretch of trail to run down and was cool in the shade.

One of the cattle guards that you have to go through on the trail.

Flowers on the trail.

Like a postcard with the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming in the background.

An occasional mile marker is set in increments of every 1/5 mile.

Loved these downhill/uphill single track stretches.

Glad I don't have to run thru or drink out of that!  You can tell this was/is(?) used for cattle!

Heading back to the trail head parking lot.

Back to the beginning!

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