16.4 miles RT
Elevation gain: 1800 feet
I used to think this route was a lot of work even though it is slightly shorter and easier than the Pole Ridge or Faultline trips. After about the 50th time, however, I am warming to it. Why? Because, among the harder trips in this area, you are least likely to encounter a snowmobile. I never have had a snowmobile buzz by on this outing. Maybe they think it's a lot of work too.
The trip consists of a loop added on to the Meadow Creek Campground trip (Trip #1), making it a lollypop route. From Meadow Creek Campground (see Trip #1), continue another 0.25 mile to an intersection. You can do the loop either way, but I like my pain short and intense, so I go clockwise when I can (i.e., when the groomer cooperates). To go clockwise, bear left onto Route 3E and begin a gradual 3 mile climb. Along this climb you pass an intersection with Route 4F that takes you across Meadow Creek on Wounded Knee Bridge and onto Jarrad's Loop (see Trip #7). Stay straight, however, onto Route 3D. After a couple miles of gradual climbing your real work begins with an intense 1 mile hill.
The benefit of doing this trip clockwise is that, after cresting the hill (the high point of the trip at 3600 feet), you get to enjoy a gradual descent of over 4 miles through quiet forest, with occasional views across Meadow Creek and up to Pole Ridge and Dirtyface Peak. If you come the other way on this loop, counter-clockwise, this gradual uphill seems to last forever.
At the intersection with the Brush Creek trip (see Trip #8) at what the Forest Service calls Junction T, turn right to zip downhill on Route 3B. Then retrace your tracks across Meadow Creek on Route 3A and back to the Sno-park on Route 3. You might encounter a lemming or two on this last stretch, but by now you can smell the coffee at the 59er Diner.