Did some exploring last week on some new-ish trails on Ester Dome.
I parked at the Y. Ran down Ester Dome Road to the new Alder Chute bypass. It was recently put in by Stan Justice for the Interior Trails Preservation Coalition effort to find a legal route around the Alder Chute trespassing issue. (The bypass drops off the beginning of Styx River Road.) That takes you to the Farmer Mine Trail.
Then I turned right on the Farmer Mine Trail and followed it to its end. Then I followed the minimalist trail that follows — very roughly — the route of the proposed West Reroute that would route trail traffic around the Alder Chute to the Tri-Con Mine Trail/Road. (This plan is still in negotiations by the borough and Mental Health Trust.)
(While the trail crosses Mental Health Trust land, nonmotorized day use is allowed under the Mental Health Trust’s “Public Recreational Use” policy. Please respect this policy.)
Then I went up the Tri-Con Mine Trail/Road a ways. After a short bit, I turned right into a hole in the alders and went UP the roughed in steep downhill trail that connects the Tri-Con Trail/Rd to the Out-and-Back (Nugget Creek Trail). Confused yet? Then I took the Out-and-Back (Nugget Creek Trail) back to my car.
The whole loop was 3 miles. It was fun to check out the new Alder Chute bypass and to find out that the (rough) West Reroute trail is being used. A new fun and challenging loop!
The Alder Chute bypass was better than I thought it would be. Not bad for running. Do-able on a bike, at least downhill. The roughed in West Reroute trail has clearly been followed by many people, so it’s easy to follow, but it has a bit of sidehilling. Doable by dedicated runners or hikers. Skilled and very dedicated mountain bikers could do it, too, though there will be sections of hike-a-bike.