For years as we’ve driven up Brice Creek Road, I’ve noticed the trails leading off to the “other” side of the road, away from Brice Creek. I’ve always wondered where these trails go.
The other day, we found out. With an afternoon available and no specific plans, we headed up to Brice Creek and randomly stopped at the first trail heading off to the south … away from Brice Creek. We wound up on the Crawfish Trail.
Crawfish Trail leaves Brice Creek Road, and heads up the hill quickly. Within no time my lungs were working hard and my calves were burning as we headed up a series of switch-backs along a hillside bathed in sword ferns.
Once we reached the top, it became obvious what the main purpose was for this trail — mountain biking. The trail was banked well for bikes and occasional jumps had been added. In all, it took us about an hour to go a little over a mile, between the elevation gain and the muddy trails more suited for mountain biking our progress was slow.
When we returned home, I read the hiking guide distributed by the Cottage Grove Ranger District. It calls the Crawfish Trail an “exertive elevation gain,” and I totally agree. It also notes that the trail generally follows ridgelines, which “provide for an occasional view of the forest”. The views along our stretch were definitely “occasional.” The full trail is 5.2 miles so we barely scratched the surface.
Will we hike this trail again? Probably not. Do I recommend it for hikers? Not really. But if you want to get out and see something new and challenge yourself with an “exertive elevation gain” this might be the trail for you. If you are an experienced mountain biker seeking a challenge then this is definitely your trail.
Here’s a video I found on YouTube from the Cottage Grove High School Mountain Bike Club which shows the trail heading down, and which incidentally shows one of the reasons why I don’t mountain bike.
To reach the Crawfish Trail head out Row River Road, and in about 19 miles be sure to stay right onto Brice Creek Road instead of veering left over the river on Layng Road. Continue on for about 5.8 miles, the trail is on the south side of the road with parking on the north side.