16.4 miles RT
Elevation gain: 1800 feet
For some reason this trip feels like a lot of work even though it is slightly shorter and easier than the Pole Ridge or Faultline trips. Then why do it? 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). 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. 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, along Jarrad's Loop (see Trip #7). Stay straight, however, onto Route 3D. After the 3 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.