This is a great tour of some of the 3-Stage network that connects the lower snowmobile parking lot to the upper trailhead. It follows the Three Bitches
climb and then does a fun circuit of the rocky, technical trails.
If you ever get lost in 3-Stage, look for a doubletrack. If you parked at the top, take the doubletrack uphill. If you parked at the bottom, head downhill. You can also use the MTB Project mobile app
to make sure that you're on track.
This is a varied, demanding route which is a favorite connecting route from bottom to top. It can be ridden both ways, but it's one of the nicer uphill combinations.
From the parking area, head southwest on the Pretty River Rd and look for the start on the Bruce Trail Connector
trail on the right after just over one mile. The first section is a singletrack climb.
Continue on the Bruce Trail
briefly before turning left onto the Three Bitches
. The Three Bitches
trail has three major cruxes (each is a set of switchbacks), and it eventually levels out in a mature hardwood forest.
Now, the trail is flowing and undulating, but after the previous climb, it feels slightly taxing with some nice recovery stretches. Finally, the grade mellows out, but more and more rocks and obstacles begin to litter the path.
From the end of Three Bitches
, head left onto the Blue-4
trail and continue onto the Blue-5
trail as it bends to the north.
Turn right onto Blue-2
and do a complete loop with Blue-1
, heading back down Blue-2
again and onto Blue-1
, this time turning right (north) onto Red-5
. Stay straight on Red-5
as it becomes Red-4
, which loops back to Easy
. Take Easy
south and turn left onto Clear Sailing
until it continues onto Red-1
From here, turn left onto The Gateway
and then left again onto the Osler Side Trail
, continuing onto Green-1
to the finish.
The boulders here are dolomitic limestone. On humid or wet days, they thoroughly reject tires and can feel almost soapy. On dry days they are nice and tacky with a very predictable release.
The final stretches of the rock gardens will test advanced riders, but if you have to walk some stretches, at least it won't take long. Enjoy a roller coaster finish.