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Forebay System, lower trails

This page provides photos and details for specific trails in the lower Forebay trail system. Trails are listed in alphabetic order. For trailheads and general information, see the Forebay main page. See also the Forebay Upper Trails info page.

Photos from rides by Bruce from 2015 through 2021. This banked turn is on Noah.


Ezra is an easy 0.5 mile loop off JMC in the lower canyon. The entry to the loop is 1/10th mile up JMC from the gate (old trailhead). From the new trailhead, there's 1/10th mile on the connector, then a right turn onto Little Shawny for 1/4 mile, then a left turn to go around 50 yards on JMC before turning left into Ezra. See the map.

Entry to the Ezra loop from JMC.

Ezra winds through groves of oak on a fairly flat area. The trail surface is almost 100% smooth dirt. There is only trivial elevation change along the loop.

Typical trail surface. Dirt ribbon winding through tall grass among small oak groves.

Because it's so easy and close to the trailhead, a loop around Ezra is an excellent ride for young children or true beginners. Also attractive for this ride is the picnic table you passed on Little Shawny, which is just downhill from Ezra when the kids are ready for a break from looping around.

View from Ezra looking north toward the mouth of the canyon.

Favorite is an easy smooth trail in the upper shoulder area, starting at the 4-way where Noah, JMC, and Orange Gate end. It extends from that 4-way trail intersection north through grass and oak to end on the reservoir access road. (From there, it's around 100 yards on the road to the Overlook Trail, which is your connection to the upper mountain.)

More Mules Ear blossoms on the Favorite Trail.

Favorite is very easy riding. It's 0.4 miles long with very little elevation change. When climbing up Favorite, a trail fork to JR Devo comes at 0.2 miles on your right.

Bruce heads through the tall oak of Favorite in 2017.


JMC is considered the main, and most direct, climbing or descending trail of the lower trail area. It extends 0.8 miles from the old entry on the Nebo Loop road to end at a 4-way with Favorite, Noah, and Orange Gate. About half-way up, it temporarily merges with Noah for a short distance. There will be 300 vertical feet of elevation change on JMC, for an average grade of just under 8%.

JMC in early June 2015.

From the new trailhead, riders will reach JMC by taking the lower side of Little Shawny (a right turn 1/10th mile from the trailhead). You'll turn left uphill onto JMC at mile 0.3 from the trailhead (1/10th mile from the bottom of JMC).

JMC starts with grass and groves of oak, then reaches a slightly rockier and steeper slope as it climbs.

JMC makes connections to many trails. As you head uphill, you'll pass the exit from K-Launi to your right just a few feet away from the fork with Little Shawny. Just uphill on the left is Ezra. At mile 0.3, the upper end of Little Shawny forks left. Then in 1/10th mile, Noah joins on your left. In another 1/10th mile, Noah forks away to your left. About 100 feet later, the top end of K-Launi  forks to your right.

The next intersection is the 4-way with Noah and Orange Gate where JMC ends and Favorite continues on.

Drone view as Bruce climbs JMC. We're looking south.

JR Devo
JR Devo is 0.5 miles long. On the upper end, it forks west from the reservoir access road just past the orange gate, sharing a common origin with the Orange Gate singletrack trail. On the bottom, it forks away from the middle of the Favorite trail.

From the orange gate, JR Devo is on the right and the Orange Gate trail is on the left. We're looking west.

JR Devo is a meandering dirt trail through oak and grass, similar to the other trails in the area. There's almost no elevation change over its course.

Meandering through oak near JR Devo's end on the Favorite trail.

K-Launi is a narrow and twisty route that offers some ridge views. I'd consider it a downhill trail and rank it upper-intermediate or easier-expert in skill requirement.

A tight turn around a cedar on K-Launi.

K-Launi forks away from JMC at around mile 0.5 uphill. After descending 0.4 miles and 130 vertical feet, it ends on JMC near the Little Shawny trail fork.

Not all trails here are pure dirt. K-Launi has a bit of exposed rock.

Little Shawny
Little Shawny is 0.8 miles long. It forms a semi-circle as it gains 150 feet of elevation. It begins and ends on JMC, but has a mellower pitch and more meanders. It's fun for climbing or descending and can substitute for the (shorter and steeper) bottom half of JMC. (Compared to JMC, the combination of Little Shawny plus Noah makes the same 300 feet of climbing over twice the distance.)

This is the connector trail from the trailhead to Little Shawny. It heads north along the creek. At the intersection, straight takes you to the upper side of Little Shawny (and a connection to Trotter and Noah) while right takes you over to the bottom of JMC near Ezra.

Most of Little Shawny will be in the trees, with a fair amount of rambling around. At the upper end, it passes a swampy catch basin before a trail fork with Trotter. (If you're planning to climb Noah, turn left uphill here and you'll find the bottom of Noah 100 yards uphill.)

Bruce winds through the trees.

There's a picnic table with bike stand at the bottom of
Little Shawny, just before it ends on JMC. 

Meadow with a bit of swamp off the upper end of Little
Shawny. We're looking west here.

Noah makes a nice climbing or descending trail that can substitute for the upper half of JMC. It actually joins JMC in the middle for about 1/10th mile (watch the trail signs here). Noah is 0.7 miles long and has 150 vertical feet of elevation gain.

The bottom of Noah forks away from lower Trotter, just 100 yards uphill from where Trotter ends on Little Shawny.

Entry to Noah from Trotter.

Noah winds back and forth, with some fairly tight turns. Almost all of the trail is in cool maple and oak forest. Noah has had some "engineering" done, consisting of man-made bench-cuts and banked switchback turns. But the majority of the trail is the same natural narrow meandering singletrack you ride elsewhere in Forebay.

Typical trail on Noah.

In the middle, Noah hugs a side-slope with a narrow hand-made 
bench-cut through a couple of traverses.
The banked turns on this stretch are one of the few places in the
entire system where the terrain has been altered.
At the top, Noah ends in a 4-way with the top of JMC, the beginning of Favorite, and the Orange Gate trail.

A meadow of Mules Ear near the top of Noah.

Orange Gate
Orange Gate is a short singletrack that extends from the reservoir access road to the 4-way intersection with JMC, Noah, and Favorite. It's only 0.2 miles long, climbing over a small rise from the orange gate. For most riders, it's use will be as part of a little loop from Favorite around JR Devo. See the map.

Orange Gate isn't that interesting unless you're using it to connect -- for example, if you followed JR Devo out to the access road and want to take Orange Gate back to Favorite.

Trotter is an alternative route for descending from, or climbing to, the upper trails. It's 0.5 miles long with 150 feet of elevation change (most of that vertical comes in the upper half).

The lower end of Trotter is on Little Shawny. As the Little Shawny trail hits a dike structure at an old retention pond, Trotter goes uphill (you may see two parallel trails here, but they merge after 100 feet).

Entry to Trotter at the bottom.

The bottom half of Trotter is a meandering dirt trail through tall trees with a very gradual slope.

The top half clings to a side-slope as it heads over to Round Top and has a fairly good pitch. For about 1/10th mile it will be a bit of a tough climb for most beginners.

Trotter meanders through tall oak and maple.

If you're using Trotter to descend from the top, Trotter forks to the south from the Round Top lariat trail just before it splits into the loop. Across from Trotter on Round Top are the entry and exit from the Wakara loop.

Trotter forks away from Round Top in a meadow just before Round Top forms a loop.

Lower trails (below the reservoir Access Road)

Ezra: 0.5 mile loop off JMC in lower canyon
Favorite: 0.4 miles from JMC and Noah to Access Road near reservoir, connection to JR Devo
JMC: 0.8 miles main route from Nebo Loop road to 4-way with Favorite, Noah, and Orange Gate. Connections to Little Shawny, Ezra, Little Shawny, Noah, K-Launi
JR Devo: 0.5 mile loop off Favorite extending to Access Road at Orange Gate
K-Launi: 0.4 mile downhill route from JMC, ends on JMC
Little Shawny: 0.8 miles begins and ends on JMC
Noah: 0.7 miles from lower Trotter to top of JMC (joins JMC briefly)
Orange Gate: 0.2 miles from the orange gate on Access Road to top of JMC and Noah
Parking access trail: 0.1 mile to Little Shawny
Trotter: 0.5 miles from Little Shawny to Round Top

See the main Forebay page for trailhead details and other resources!