5 Mile Loop Trail Description

When you leave the parking area, go East through the horse gate along the Fire Road At 0.25 miles there is a right turn down the Espinosa Trail. It is well marked with trail markers. This trail is rather steep and a little rocky, but not too rutted. It is currently being well maintained. It is quite passable in either direction.
At 0.75 miles, you come to the Crossroads. There are stone trail markers indicating the Espinosa Trail to the right. Follow this trail. If you go to the left across the stream, you will take the loop back to the parking area. You travel alongside a seasonal stream which is very pretty. It is a nice, narrow trail with decent footing for the most part. There are bugs along this trail in summer. Watch out for poison oak.
Cross the stream at 1.3 miles.
At 1.5 miles, just after the climb of the second little hill, there is a T-Junction in the trail. Continue to the left for the pond. If you go straight you take the alternative route home. The alternative route home includes a long steep uphill ride. Horses use it frequently, but frankly, I regard it as something of a challenge and don’t travel along it much.
1.7 miles – you arrive at the pond. There is usually water here. In some summers, I have swum or at least, waded in the pond. Occasionally, it dries up completely in summer. This is an excellent spot for the horses to drink and to take a break. You can cross the pond and continue along the Espinosa Trail up the hill.
Eventually, after a total of 15 miles, it joins Secret Canyon trail and ends at the Secret Canyon/Pine Creek Trailhead, whose staging area is at mile 3.5 on Old Highway 80 not far from the Pine Creek Road Intersection. I have attempted this trail twice on horseback and twice have regretted it and turned back. It is a steep, narrow and rocky trail for several miles after the pond.
Turn round and retrace your steps back to the Crossroads intersection at 2.76 miles. This time, go straight, over the stream to complete the loop back to the parking area. The trail is narrow, but clearly marked and pretty good footing all the way.
At 3.27 miles, follow the trail and cross over the stream. At 3.3 miles, turn left up a short, but steep, narrow trail to rejoin the fire road. You can continue along the trail for another half mile or so, cross the stream again and rejoin the fire road further down via a path that is less steep.
At the fire road, turn left and follow it for 2.5 miles back to the parking area. The fire road has excellent footing and is a great place to condition your horse by trotting up the long slow climb back to the parking area. Watch out for the footing on the corners, as it becomes very rutted in these points. Watch out for the cattle grid at mile 4.65 . There is a clear trail around it. Return to parking lot.
Alternate Route Home
Follow trail for about one mile, past a stream very close by on your left. After you pass a good drinking hole for the horses, take the sharp right turn up the hill.
You begin to climb the hill. The trail is steep and rutted with sharp turns for about 1.5 miles. At the top of the hill, turn right and follow the trail back to the parking lot.
The GPS Map shows the main trail in bright red. The alternate route home is shown with with a red marker pen to the right of the main trail.