The Picture Rock Ride is one of the rides offered as a part of the Beaver County Trails ATV Jamboree. Having been riding desert trails all year waiting for the mountain trails to open, the Picture Rock Ride was my first mountain trail ride of the year.
The reason I chose this one is because of the name. I was curious to know what picture rocks were all about.
The ride came recommended as a good one. No, all rides are not good. Some of them are just good to have over with — one and done, as they say. I don’t always know when I begin a ride if it is going to be a good one. The Picture Rock Ride is a great one.
The trail began in downtown Beaver and wound its way through some shady country lanes on the North Creek Road. We wandered through the foothills of Beaver before entering Fishlake National Forest at Merchant Hollow. We had only climbed 700 feet, but we were headed for the cool mountain trails and that was just fine with me.
We made a turn to the south and dropped into North Creek Canyon. We were following the North Fork of North Creek Canyon and it was no small creek. We crossed it several times and each crossing was an event, not just a splash in the trail. It was part of the reason that this was a great trail.
We soon came to a place called the Picture Rock Quarry, and here I learned about picture rocks. The rock formed in layers that laid flat. Manganese seeped in between the layers, making irregular etchings in the rock. Then an upheaval of major proportions turned these layers of rock from horizontal to vertical and the beauty of these rocks was discovered. The quarry is open to the public and we were able to pick up a few pieces to take with us. The manganese has etched odd images into these rocks, making each one like a picture.
North Creek runs by the quarry, making it a very peaceful spot to spend some time. I love the sound of water in a mountain scene. It can be the sound of a rushing river or the quiet gurgle of a mountain brook.
The trail to the quarry was a dead end, making this leg of the trip an in-and-out proposition. That meant that I had those water crossings to look forward to on the way back.
Backtracking, we climbed out of the canyon before reaching our entry point. This track took us up Tanner Hollow, just under Tanner Mountain and down into Twitchell Canyon, where we followed Indian Creek and more water crossings.
I love the name Twitchell. It sounds like it was a made-up name like the Wah Wah Mountains, which are west of Beaver on the other side of the Friscos. When I say Wah Wah, I think of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly theme song – “Wah, Wah, Wah.” Now that I think about it, all those names of places in the backcountry were made up, and I love to learn about them.
We made our way up Twitchell Canyon to Manderfield Reservoir, where we stopped for lunch. It was a beautiful place in the woods overlooking the reservoir. Manderfield Reservoir is nestled in the mountains at 8,000 feet between Little Shelly Peak (9,800 feet) and Mount Baldy (12,000 feet) to the east.
The trail to the reservoir was also in-and-out, so once again, we had the water crossings on Indian Creek to enjoy. However, the trail we took from Twitchell Canyon took us back down Pole Canyon and on the other side of Tanner Mountain. We turned south at Drag Hollow and passed on the west side of Sheeprock Canyon before exiting the national forest.
We finished our loop as we came past Merchant Hollow and dropped down into Bone Hollow before coming back into town finishing a ride of about 50 miles. Because of the altitudes, this ride is best taken late in the spring and into fall. It is suitable for side-by-sides.
Beaver is planning to host another ATV trail event this summer. Scheduled for July 27-28, the Beaver Adventure Days will focus on the mountain trails east of Beaver. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and put the Beaver Adventure Days on your calendar – “Wah, Wah, Wah.”