Outside with Charlie: Still time

By From page A9 | July 18, 2014

It’s time to take a hike or ride a bike.

Really, it is … before school starts in early August.

Once school is back in session, trips are relegated to the weekends. If there’s football, soccer, cheerleading, school work or band, all bets are off.

Take advantage of what’s left of the summer break to enjoy some outside time with family.

Perhaps you are good on a mountain bike. If so, head to a ski resort as some offer mountain biking over the summer months.

Kirkwood has a weekend program with 24 trails. There are an additional 11 trails that are accessed by ski lift, and 11.5 miles of single track. Their bike park has log rides, a pump track, jumps and other goodies for the more adventuresome.

The trails are open to mountain bikers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’ll cost you $38 for an adult all-day pass, teens are at $38, and children 5 to 12 will ride for $22. You can also rent a bike from Kirkwood.

Northstar has a summer mountain bike program that has an international reputation. It’s open seven days a week through August 10. You and your bikes will ride a gondola up to the trail network. From there it’s just a matter of choice.

If you don’t want to haul your bike, rent one. Rentals at the mountain bike parks are generally very good, well maintained, and with enough models that there is bound to be one that fits you. An all-day pass for adults is $50, children, 9-12, $31.

Homewood offers some pretty nice trails to hike or ride, with the same awesome views you get when skiing. Access to the trails is free. No lifts, it’s all muscle power.

Squaw Valley allows mountain bikes on designated trails through the summer too. Getting to High Camp is either by you riding, or by purchasing a gondola ticket.

Important thing to remember is that you’ll be riding your bike at altitude, somewhere around 8,000 feet or more at the resorts. Be prepared as it’s massively different than gliding on skis.

Closer to home, there’s a really nice paved bike trail up in the Crystal Basin Recreation area. It’s 4.5 miles of beauty in the forest at no charge. The altitude here is between 4,860 to 5,160 feet.

Ice House has a dirt trail, 3.1 miles, which runs along the ridge tops around the lake. Mountain bikes are what you’ll need. When you are done, the lake is very inviting for a quick cool down.

Make a reservation and camp at one of the great spots up in the Crystal Basin while you’re at it. It really is a very beautiful area to explore.

Get outside!

Charlie Ferris

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