The Treasure Valley’s youngest mountain bikers have a new playground — a “sagebrush forest” at the Ada/Eagle Bike Park that offers them a place to learn some trail skills isolated from faster-moving adults.
The Snoop Loop opened Wednesday at the Ada/Eagle Bike Park. The 0.14-mile loop is accessed by a 0.04-mile stem that serves as the only entrance and exit. That provides a safety buffer from other cyclists.
It’s a tight single track with several challenging corners. The target age range is 6 to 10 years old.
The Southwest Idaho Mountain Biking Association (SWIMBA) built the trail.
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“What makes it kind of a kid-friendly trail is it’s kind of a miniature trail loop that has the features of mountain biking that kids would expect on other trails in the Foothills,” said Scott Koberg, the director of Ada County Parks & Waterways. “There’s small little climbs, there’s little downhill sections, tight turns, some technical kind of turns. This gives them a chance to explore that environment in this awesome sagebrush forest. The turns are pretty tight for adults, but they’re perfect for kids.”
Riders can travel in either direction. The recommended route is counter-clockwise, which creates a tough beginning climb for young riders that peaks with a hard left turn. The younger riders at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting event needed to dismount to get through that corner initially but showed improvement on later loops.
After a windy descent, riders encounter two boardwalk-like bridges (puncheons) and a hairpin left turn that also presented a challenge for the youngsters.
The idea was to create a trail that offers some realistic examples of what the cyclists will encounter as they graduate to the trails across the Boise Foothills — and a trail they can’t necessarily conquer on their first visit.
“It’s definitely not a dumbed-down trail,” Koberg said. “It’s meant to challenge them and allow them to develop.”
Koberg’s daughter, 8-year-old Jadyn, was among the participants in the ceremonial first ride. She struggled with the two most difficult turns — the one at the top of the steepest climb and the 180-degree turn after the boardwalks.
“It’s kind of hard,” Jadyn said. “It’s got some tight turns ... and it’s kind of hard to pedal up the hills.”
Her favorite part?
“I liked all of it,” she said.
The Snoop Loop replaces a previous trail in the same location. There is no age restriction for users but a sign likely will remind older riders to watch their speed. It’s multi-directional in part so the kids can learn proper trail etiquette — downhill riders yield to uphill riders.
The Ada/Eagle Bike Park is on Horseshoe Bend Road, 2 miles north of State Street. The Snoop Loop is accessed from the lower parking lot. Climb to the first lateral trail, take a left and look for the Snoop Loop trail marker on the right.
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We previously featured the pump track at the Ada/Eagle Bike Park, another learning ground for mountain bikers.
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Tamarack Resort provides an update on its Bike Park in the video below. The Chocolate trail is planned to open for the first time since 2008.