South Beaver Loop to Woods Lake

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Sign post along the South Beaver Loop

This week’s rain provided only short term benefits to trail conditions.  Shadier sections are holding moisture, making them perfectly tacky, but sunny sections are still dusty and dry. We really need a long, soaking rain to smooth out those corners.

Parking at the Beaver Lake Trailhead gains you immediate access to some amazing single track.  We decided to ride from the trailhead to Woods Lake, complete the overlook loop, and finally finish with the South Beaver Loop back to the car.  We completed the Woods Lake loop in counter-clockwise fashion, the overlook loop clockwise, and the South Beaver Loop clockwise as well.  These loops are certainly worth riding the opposite way for a different experience, but we feel these directions squeeze the best features out of the trail.

After the first road crossing, the trail climbs ever so gently through a mature forest with thick undergrowth.  The plants were vibrantly green from much needed rain and the temperature stayed cool as the sun rose fiercely overhead.  After passing the second junction with the South Beaver Loop, the trail climbs consistently until the junction with the Woods Lake Loop. All of these trail junctions have directional signs, so navigating to Woods Lake is a breeze. Hang on to those handle bars as elevation drops to the lake basin!  There are two trees down along the Woods Lake Loop.  The first tree, only 100 yards from the trailhead, has been cut and is navigable on a bike.  The second tree, however, will probably have you dismounting your bike, unless you are a pro at bunny hops.

The overlook loop is currently the only section of trail where you can see views of Whitefish Lake.  It is also currently the most secluded section of the Whitefish Trail, but well worth the effort.  Our ride took about 3 hours to complete with stops for snacking and enjoying the scenery.  If you are new to this section, we recommend parking at the Beaver Lake Trailhead and giving the south loop a try before committing to Woods Lake.  This will give you a taste for the rest of the trail.

Overall, it’s a great time to get out on the Whitefish Trail, especially around Beaver and Woods Lakes.  Pack swim trunks and a towel and enjoy a dip in either lake to beat the heat.