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The descent on the Rodeo Trail is awesome!

Lambert Park Trails

Looking for delicious upper-intermediate singletrack that you can ride in the off-season? Or for a summer morning quickie? Head to Alpine's Lambert Park. Lambert Park is a foothill area on the edge of the national forest. Over 16 miles of singletrack trails meander though scrub oak, maple, fir, and sage. The singletrack rates from easy-intermediate to advanced-intermediate on the southeast corner (the dog trails).

Mike Engberson hits the sidewall on a tight turn in the ravine of the Rodeo Trail. June 30, 2000.

The lower and southern side of the park -- south of Box Elder Drive -- offers snow-clear singletrack by early March. During the winter, the snow on the loop consisting of Middle Trail and High Bench is usually packed and ready for Fat Bikes. (In mid-winter, other trails depend on the timing and amount of snowfall and the determination of the local fatties.)

In the spring, it's a mass of flowers and deer. Lambert Park is warm and dry three months before the canyon trails clear of snow. In mid-summer, local riders hit the trails in early morning and late evening.

There are only a few days during the entire year when you can't ride these trails. In the winter, start your ride around 9 a.m., before the exposed dirt gets squishy. Here Matt makes a turn on the Rodeo Trail. January, 2000.

  Lambert in the winter...

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There are many different ways to ride Lambert Park. (You can hit every trail in one day, but the shortest way to do that is a monster ride of around 16 miles.) We'll tell you about a couple of the local riders' favorite routes.

The main north-south doubletrack (High Bench Road) is a fun broad path for beginners and families. As of summer 2017, motorized vehicles are forbidden in Lambert Park, except on paved Box Elder Drive and the paved roads to the Bowery and Rodeo Grounds parking areas. At this time the ban includes High Bench Road and the Lambert Homestead (poppy field) road ($500 fine). The moto ban may be reversed for specific roads in the park when the new Master Plan is implemented in 2018.

Mitt flies through the trees in early April.

Some singletrack trails are closed to horses because of risk of injury to horse/rider/cyclist (Rodeo, Lambert's Luge). Although built by cyclists specifically for mountain biking, equestrians are welcome to ride most of Lambert's singletrack when conditions are appropriate.

Bruce Argyle rolls among oak on the River Trail, with his dog Jackie in pursuit.
June 30, 2000, photo by Mike Engberson.

The Doc cruises the trail

 Lambert in May:  a loop to the poppies and back

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Some sample rides:
Taste 'o Lambert.  Beginner. Fun but non-threatening, no brutal climbing. About 3 miles. Start at the Rodeo Grounds. Ride down Rodeo to the River Trail. Follow the River Trail until it turns back to become the Middle Trail. Ride Middle back to Rodeo Up.

Diane cruises past the poppies of the Poppy Trail.
May 25, 2001.

Lambert Classic.  Intermediate. A nice ride, with moderate amounts of climbing. Start at the Rodeo Grounds parking. Go down Rodeo, turn onto River. At the south end, curve back north onto Middle. Turn right onto Ziggy then right again to Zag. Left downhill on Ziggy, follow Ziggy down. Back at Middle, turn right on Middle, then right on Poppy and continue on Ruin. Right on Middle. Right on Spring and climb all the way up and around, then connect to Rodeo Up to get back to parking.

Dallin launches off the bridge on the River Trail.

Buckaroo.  Expert. Whoop-de-doos, bike handling challenges, climbing, and bombing on the cooler north end of Lambert. Start at the Rodeo Grounds parking. Take Rodeo Down then left onto Rodeo Up. Right onto Middle Spring and climb the hill. Left on Spring and bomb downhill. Catch the last 1/2 of Rodeo Up, and drop left into Rodeo Down. Fly to Middle, then turn left on Spring and climb. Just after passing the spring, here are your options: left on Middle Spring, or right on upper Rodeo. Drop to the bottom of Rodeo, then climb back Rodeo Up. Repeat various permutations until you puke. After climbing up, try going right Spring to descend the southern side (clockwise direction) of Spring.
Tour de Lambo.  Expert. A longish ride that hits many of the highlights of Lambert. Start at the Rodeo Grounds parking. Take Rodeo Down, and continue on down Middle.  Veer left at the water tank road, then R on Flank singletrack. Left uphill on Black Dog before the next DT. Cross the ATV-track and climb Corkscrew. Pass Brown Dog. Left to descend Ziggy. Stay on Ziggy to Middle Trail and turn right. Turn right uphill on Poppy and continue around to Ruin. Left to retrace a bit on Middle, then cross the road to River. Veer left on High Bench and follow it all the way until it rejoins River, then keep straight to the Spring shortcut. Right on Spring, then veer left onto Lambert's Luge. At the bottom, join High Bench and go back south to join River. Curve around onto Middle and ride northward, turning right on Spring. Climb Spring all the way to the top, then drop off the hill on Middle Spring. Connect to Rodeo and find your car.

Mike hits the corkscrew!

Lambert in Four Seasons.  If video will not play in window above, click to launch in separate window through YouTube

Trail Descriptions:

Black Dog. Trail winds from the middle of Corkscrew down to Flank and River, just south of the water tank. Some technical aspects, length 0.5 miles with 300 vertical feet elevation change. Stiff climb. Top N40 27.958 W111 45.017, bottom N40 27.936 W111 45.325.
Brown Dog. 
Tougher trail extending from Corkscrew to Indian, just north of the water tank. Length 0.3 miles, 150 vertical feet elevation change, offers some rock stunts at trailside marked by diamond posts. Some easier shortcuts have appeared 11/08 - the shortcuts offer an easy climbing route and connect to the upper portion of Zag. Top N40 28.003 W111 45.027, bottom N40 28.043 W111 45.148.
North to south, it joins the top of White Dog, traverses the edge of the wilderness border, then plunges rapidly to the far south end of Lambert. From the south, it's a brutal climb. From the south, it's often used as a connector from the city trail to Flank. Length 0.7 miles, elevation change 220 feet. North end N40 28.101 W111 45.040, south end @ City Trail N 40 27.656 W 111 45.167.
Flank. Short connector ties the bottom of Corkscrew to the water tank road to join River or Middle. Usually open year-round. Length 0.4 miles. South end at Corkscrew N 40 27.699 W 111 45.106 - North end water tank road N 40 27.961 W 111 45.317. (The south end of Flank lies on private land.)
High Bench Trail. North-south route on far western side of Lambert Park. Upper-intermediate. Forks off River at both northern and southern ends. Forested areas snowbound in winter. 1.1 mile, elevation change 130 feet. North end @ River Tr just after it forks off Middle near Box Elder road N 40 28.533 W 111 45.423 - South end @ church road N 40 27.898 W 111 45.341
High Bench ROAD. Gravel road runs one mile north-south from Box Elder Drive to the south parking area near the church. Used by horses, hikers (especially in winter), and cyclists. 
Indian. Short trail connects upper Zag (just below the road past the water tank) to Flank. North end at Zag N40 28.027 W111 45.155, south end at Flank N40 27.825 W111 45.177.
Short optional route off River Trail, 0.3 miles. Forks off on northern end just after River crosses gravel road then bridge.
Lambert Luge.
Challenging route from the lower portion of Spring to High Bench, features tight turns, whoop-de-doos. After passing the connector to Ruin Trail, it's downhill only. No horses! Crosses Middle and River on the way down. 0.5 miles, elevation change 120 feet. North end @ Spring Tr N 40 28.460 W 111 45.323  - South (downhill) end @ High Bench Tr N 40 28.212 W 111 45.593. Access to downhill portion off Ruin @ N 40 28.287 W 111 45.327.
Middle Spring. Serpentine narrow trail with tight turns and challenges, connects top of Spring to top of Rodeo Trail. Advanced. Climb or descend. 0.6 miles. Elevation change 150 feet. Bottom @ Rodeo Up N 40 28.669 W 111 45.028 - Top @ Spring  Tr N 40 28.648 W 111 44.768
Middle. Fairly straight north-south route, intermediate. "Main Street" of Lambert, with access to River, Rodeo, Spring, Ruin, Poppy, Ziggy. Usually open year-round. 1 mile, elevation change 130 feet. North end @ Box Elder paved road N 40 28.540 W 111 45.400 - South end @ water tank road N 40 27.963 W 111 45.340
Poppy. Climbs from the Middle Trail up to the poppy field near the old homestead. Continues as Ruin Trail at the 3-way  intersection with the Lambert Luge connector. Usually open year-round. Length 0.4 miles, elevation change 100 feet. Bottom end @ Middle Tr N 40 28.000 W 111 45.388 - Top at Ruin/Luge Connector N 40 28.287 W 111 45.327
River. North-south route, intermediate. Usually open year-round. Access to High Bench trail at each end. 1 mile, elevation change 130 feet. North end @ Middle Tr N 40 28.527 W 111 45.390 - South end @ water tank road N 40 27.963 W 111 45.340
River Alternate.  When southbound, forks left off of River just after crossing the High Bench Road and the creek bridge at N40 28.517 W111 45.448. At first, runs to the east of River. Extends about 1/2 mile, crossing River as it crosses DT (N40 28.437 W111 45.501) near the water utility shed, then rejoining River from the west side at N40 28.394 W111 45.529.
Rodeo Down. Downhill ONLY. No horses. Extends from the north side of the creek at the tippy-top of Spring (where the water comes out of the mountain, crossing bridges over the creek down to a thrill-a-second whoop-de-do down a wash. Very popular trail, usually snowbound in the winter, clears in March. 0.5 miles. 150 feet elevation change. Top @ N 40 28.620 W 111 45.757.  Short connector to rodeo grounds parking @ N 40 28.682 W 111 45.033. Bottom joins Rodeo Up N 40 28.560 W 111 45.405
Rodeo Up. Uphill ONLY. Climbing route to the top of Rodeo Down. Connects to Middle Spring to continue uphill. 0.5 miles. Bottom end via connector to Box Elder paved road N 40 28.553 W 111 45.392 - Upper end connect Rodeo Down N 40 28.693 W 111 45.034
Ruin. From top of Poppy Trail to Middle Trail. Goes past old Lambert homestead. Features jumps when ridden top-to-bottom. Access to Lambert's Luge just before the first jump. Usually open year-round. Length 0.5 miles, elevation change 100 feet. Top at Ruin/Luge Connector N 40 28.287 W 111 45.327 - Bottom @ Middle Tr N 40 28.027 W 111 45.441
Spring. Long loop, 400 feet climbing, upper intermediate to advanced. Recommend counter-clockwise. Not recommended in winter. Runs from center of Middle Trail, connects to Middle Spring at top, curves around to connect to Rodeo Up. Access to north end of Lambert's Luge just before crossing Box Elder road. 2 miles. South end @ Middle Trail N 40 28.379 W 111 45.438 - North end connects Rodeo Up N 40 28.681 W 111 45.207. (Shortcut off beginning of Middle near Box Elder Road @ N 40 28.527 W 111 45.390)
White Dog.  Winding trail connects upper Zag and Ziggy (near the private property border) to Corkscrew, 0.4 miles. Climbing or downhill, intermediate technical with a couple of alternate-line stunts. Rebuilt following 2013 flood to be less strenuous on the climb. Bottom N40 28.106 W111 45.141, top N40 28.103 W111 45.039.
Wildcat. Trail plunges from southbound Corkscrew all the way to High Bench Road across from the High Bench Trail. Fairly high-speed downhill, tough climb. Length 0.4 miles. Top N40 27.921 W111 44.989, Bottom N40 27.903 W111 45.337.
  Back-and-forth meandering trail takes its time climbing from the base of Ziggy to the middle of Ziggy near the Corkscrew fork. Length 1 mile, elevation change 150 feet. Downhill end on southern downhill Ziggy @ N 40 27.998 W 111 45.370 - Uphill end where Ziggy and White Dog meet N40 28.106 W111 45.141. 
Ziggy. As DH, starts top of White Dog, connects to top of Zag (and bottom of White Dog), then descends to Middle Trail. As climber, connects via ZPC to Poppy then up to White Dog. Upper portion (above Zag) has climbing route DH-only route in trees. Upper section may have deep snow in winter. Jump, gap jump. Length 0.8 miles, elevation change 300 feet. Southern (downhill) end @ Middle Tr near water tank road N 40 27.973 W 111 45.363, top N40 28.103 W111 45.039.
ZPC.  Ziggy to Poppy Connector is a short trail that ties Ziggy to Poppy, with a Y-fork at the south end to smooth the uphill vs downhill connection to Ziggy. It offers southbound riders a climbing connection to the upper mountain without descending to Middle. Southbound, it forks left off Poppy at N40 28.145 W111 45.281 just after it exits the trees and begins descending in earnest. Descending riders can veer off Ziggy and head for Ruin or Lambert Luge for alternate downhills. It forks right off Ziggy about 0.2 miles from Zag at N40 28.100 W111 45.266. Length 0.2 miles

Milder Climbs:
   Rodeo up, lower rodeo down
   Zag and White Dog up, then left down Ziggy.
   Northbound River or Middle

Harder Climbs:
   Spring (counterclockwise from Middle)
   Rodeo and Middle Spring up,
      down Spring clockwise or down Rodeo
   Poppy up, down Ruin.
   Corkscrew up, down a "dog trail."
   Black Dog

Getting there: Take I-15 to the Alpine/Highland exit, just south of Point-of-the-Mountain. Drive straight east 5 miles towards the mountains, turning left at the stoplight in Highland (where you see the grocery store and gas station). Drive 2 miles north into Alpine to the 4-way stop at 200 North. Turn right. At the next stop sign, turn left. You'll be on 200 East, which becomes Grove Drive. Continue northeast on Grove for two miles. The road will turn 90 degrees to the right. Pass two streets on your left, then arrive at a T in the road. Turn right, across the river. At the fork in the road, go right for the Bowery parking area, left for the Rodeo grounds.
Rodeo grounds: Keep left at the fork and drive 0.25 mile on pavement, then turn right onto a dirt road and drive 0.25 mile. The trailhead is on the right side of the road, where you'll see a parking strip and a bathroom just before the rodeo arena. (Toilet.)
Keep right at the fork as you cross the river on the paved road. Pass the High Bench dirt road on your right. About 300 feet further up the paved road, keep straight as the main road turns right, entering a smaller road. The Bowery pavilion is on the left, 500 feet up the dirt road, with a parking lot on the right. (Toilet, pavilion, water.)
Church trailhead:
About 1.5 miles up Grove Drive (as above), turn right on Alpine Boulevard. Go 1/2 mile until the road turns from east to south in front of a big church. As you pass the church, turn left toward the mountains. Continue east as the road turns to dirt. (Some riders park in the southeast corner of the church parking lot and pedal into the park.) After two quick right-turns on the dirt road, you'll reach the trail kiosk at the city water reservoir. Cross the bridge to join the High Bench Trail.
Other trail resources! Click for:
     Color-coded trails on satellite view for printing
     One-page riding guide.
     GPS track files (right-click a file and select "save as..."):  
         Lambert.gpx   Map datum GS84. Updated 2013.
      Lambert Park Interactive Tracks Map (2011 map)Load
      Lodging, camping, shops:      Links to northern county resources

Copyright 1998 Mad Scientist Software Inc
Original review 1998. Last updated September 2013