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Simpson Lane (Rd 450)

Stroller running challenging: Grades, some uneven terrain

Parking and Directions: Click on the map at right for Googlemap. Drive east on Simpson Lane (at the roundabout south of Highway 20) 2 miles. Pull into the parking area on the leftand side of the road. Do not block the gate.

 

Popularity: Apparently, half the residents of Fort Bragg live up Simpson Lane (sort of), so this road gets a lot of use. I have run into people on ATVs, dirtbikes, horses, bicycles, and on foot. I have run into deer, dogs, and the only mountain lion I have ever seen in all my years of nature running (see below for details). This is to say that I usually run into someone once on my run, and usually near the beginning--not throughout the whole time. There is plenty of quiet time out here.

Wildlife Sighting: In all my years running on the backroads in this area (and this one in particular), this is the only road, and the only time in my life, where I encountered a mountain lion. I was halfway through 5  miles. I turned around and crested a small hill, when I spotted a large animal several yards away, in the shadow of the trees, but definitely in the road. For a split second, I thought it was a giant bobcat, until I saw its tail. "Oh, ****! A mountain lion," I yelled. She looked at me and darted. I stood still for a few moments, yelling, "Mountain Lion! Mountain lion sighting! Don't eat me, mountain lion! I'm gross!" I continued yelling as I began running back (After all, there's only ONE way back to the car!). I attempted to haul ass while yelling for half a mile, at which point I figured Ms. Lion was probably a ways away.
Run Profile: Warm up as you descend by offshoots of Hare Creek. There are some otherworldly tableaus here. You will enjoy a brief flat stretch before ascending a steady but casual grade. The grade plateaus as you stride through the woods. At approximately 1.4 miles, you will find a lovely footpath ofshoot to your left. I strongly recommend taking this loop. It will add .4 miles onto your run, and take up and down rolling clay, alongside a Hare Creek branch, and up a killer hill to take you back to the main road. You will feel immersed in the woods, and get a great leg workout. Note the elevation profile of the 3-mile loop above.
 
Run Profile cont'd: If you are up for a longer distance, you will continue to ascend and descend through the woods. The path is relatively clear and mostly exposed. You will zip down one area at approximately 4.5 miles where the path is fairly washed out, but passable.
 
You will pass a gate.
 
At this point, you can proceed left on road 452, which descends steeply to road 400 in about a mile (Gravel Pit Road), or continue fairly straight and up some intense grades.
 
At approximately 5 miles, there is a sign as indicated. This is another trail in the woods. The next mile is fairly gently rolling. This road eventually connects to the 500 road network that originates in Caspar.
Continue through the gate
Continue through the gate
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Road 450 to left, 400 to right
Road 450 to left, 400 to right
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approx 5 miles, sign and trail
approx 5 miles, sign and trail
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free snacks!
free snacks!
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Great forest surroundings
Great forest surroundings
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Jackson State Forest view
Jackson State Forest view
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Feeling good at 6 mile turnaround
Feeling good at 6 mile turnaround
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