FATMAP difficulty grade
It's not every day that you get to ride past a bigfoot trap, but you'll get to do exactly that on this loop! Before you get to the bigfoot trap, you'll have to cross Collings Mountain.
The route mapped here climbs quickly to the top of a ridge up a little-ridden backcountry trail.
This region—Applegate Lake—is hidden deep in the wilderness of southern Oregon, and while a few mountain bikers, hikers, and runners visit the area's lengthy, wild backcountry trails, Applegate Lake is a long ways off the beaten track.
Consequently, the trails are narrow and little-used.
You'll likely have to cross at least one or two fallen trees or limbs along your ride. Upon reaching the top of the ridge, the trees open up a bit, offering stunning views of the towering mountains to the south.
After passing the high point just shy of the very top of Collings Mountain, the trail traverses the ridge, descending into a small saddle and climbing to a second knob.
Once you hit the second knob, it's time to rip! The singletrack plummets down the mountainside, descending steep grades and negotiating tight switchbacks as it drops quickly toward the shore of the lake.
While the trail is steep, it's mostly smooth along the majority of its length, at least until it drops into the creek bottom in the final section.
Here, you'll find a few challenging rock gardens and stream crossings. To see the bigfoot trap, keep an eye out for the split that will direct you back uphill, splitting off of the main trail.
According to the [US Forest Service](https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/rogue-siskiyou/recarea/?recid=70156), this is the only bigfoot trap **in the world.** The trap was built in 1974 by the North American Wildlife Research Team because "Miner Perry Lovell reported that he discovered 18-inch, human-like tracks with a 6-foot stride in his garden near the Applegate River." The trap was originally baited by hanging deer carcasses over a period of about six years.
While they managed to catch a few bears, the team never did manage to catch a bigfoot... After crossing the highway, you'll continue on the singletrack and take a right near the lakeshore.
The final section of singletrack contouring above the lake (or reservoir basin, as it were) is largely smooth and nontechnical, with only small hills along its length.
After the steep up and down on Collings Mountain, the respite is very welcome! Enjoy the stunning views as you cool down on your way back to your car.