About a month after our easy-going, carefree ride down the Blackwater Canyon, we decided to try biking Canaan Loop Road from Blackwater Falls State Park to the forest road that’s about a mile from the Table Rock Trailhead.
These photos were taken on July 30, 2011. We drove to the Blackwater Falls lodge and took off down the road in the opposite direction of Blackwater Falls (This is the same road that leads to Lindy Point and Elakala Falls trails.) The signs warn that you need a 4WD vehicle to drive the road….and I can definitely see why.
Not long into the trip, the road dips into two “shallow” water crossings. The first was one you were able to bike through, but the second was about knee level (sitting on the bike) at its deepest so we had to get out and push.
The trail begins a very slight uphill grade at this point and seems fairly well maintained. It looks like this for much of the beginning…..but very abruptly changes not long after:
The next several miles were so intense that I didn’t even stop to take photos. The road begins to get very washed out as it works its way up the mountain. At its steepest section, the exposed, smooth limestone is also covered in grainy, sand-like dirt. This is a bad combination for bike tires- mine slid out from under me and I ended up bending my tire and knocking my spokes out of line. The downhill section begins not long after you pass the Table Rock Trailhead. You can continue on this road through to the end, which is near Canaan Heights, or you can take the forest road cutoff, which is what we did. From there, a section of Otter Creek Wilderness is a short bike ride away.
We had planned to cross the bridge, head down to the water, and have a riverside picnic. Luckily, we looked down as we crossed the bridge- because we saw 2 different snakes resting in the area that we were about to head to. We were far too worn out to explore any of the trails (the ride was around 12 miles total, mostly uphill) within the Wilderness area, but I would like to return to it someday.