I’ve written about Freidrich Wilderness Park a few times, and ran there many times. For an overview of the park, see Freidrich Park Review or Outer Loop 10k.
This time, I wondered, “what about all the other trails that I don’t normally run on?”. So, a few friends and I went out to explore all the “inside” trail withing the park, only doing the Outer Loop when necessary to get to the inner trails. This made for an interesting GPS track:
This course took a lot of navigating and checking with the map we had printed out:
Overall, we did not do too bad, and only missed 2 segments that we had planned on. We did a lot of out and back, and the many other people on the trails probably wondered what the heck we were doing. We passed some people 4 times, from different directions.
We definitely hit some new trails that we had never been on. The biggest surprise was what has to be the least used trail in the park: Encino Pass.
This little trail is usually a marker you just fly by and don’t notice if you are running Restoration Way. It is actually a steep, technical section that is more difficult than anything in the park except the stairs on Vista Loop. If you do an out and back on it, it is only about 2/3 mile, but your legs will feel it. The top of the trail is where it intersects Restoration Way, the bottom is at Mill Pass.
The other surprise to me was the Water Trail. This trail is only 1/3 of a mile, located just off the flats of the Main Loop. It takes you up to a cool windmill and a meditation style area with what one of my friends called “The Hottub”.
Overall, with all the out and backs, this route was 7 miles, which is actually longer than doing the Outer Loop itself. It was fun seeing some new trails!
If you try this, I’d advise to take a map with you, don’t take yourself to seriously if you make a wrong turn, and expect to go about 50% farther than you thought. The lower trails around the entrance are pretty easy. The back side of the park, with Encino Pass, Vista Loop, and a segment of Restoration Way, are technical and your legs will definitely feel them. And of course, there is always the Big Hill ascent/descent on the Main Loop.