Happy Meal / Horseshoe Lollipop

As described below, this is an eight-mile "lollipop" loop starting at gate 5.  It is mostly an easy trail, gradually climbing 1000 feet up to the high point at Park Reservoir.

The Happy Meal Trail is probably the most "kid friendly" trail in the Turkey Springs area.  If you are bringing children or a novice mountain biker, suggest you enter at Gate 3 off Fremont Court (see Google map at the right).  

Follow the trail beginning at Gate 3 for .12 miles where it will intersect with the Happy Meal Trail.  If you turn right and follow Happy Meal to the intersection with Newt Jack Rd. (Forest Rd. 923) and return, you will have an easy 3.42-mile route.

Be aware that neither the Gate 5 trailhead nor this route has any directional signage.  This is a local “social trail.”  Go there with a Boy Scout mindset:  be prepared with map, compass, GPS, extra clothing, cell phone, water and whatever else you’ll need to stay safe in the forest.

Directions to Gate 5 (see map at upper right):


Turn north off highway 160 onto North Pagosa Blvd.  Drive 3.7 miles.  Look to your left opposite Mockingbird Place to see the forest entry gate #5.  (Use Google Map in upper right for directions to Gate 3.)


Route instructions:  


  1. Reset bike computer/GPS unit at Gate 5.
  2. Ride west on Lower Newt Jack Rd.
  3. At about 1 mile, you descend a rocky hill with a frog pond on your left.  Walk this if you are not a comfortable “downhiller.”
  4. At mile 1.15 you come to a gate with a green, bike cattle guard on your left.  Cross the cattle guard and immediately pick up a trail branching right off of Lower Newt Jack Road.
  5. Follow this trail (“Happy Meal Trail”) for two miles.  At mile 1.55 there is a fork in the trail with the most worn branch going right.  Take the left fork.  (Note:  The right fork takes you directly to Gate 3 off Fremont Court.  This is an alternate access to the “Happy Meal” trail.
  6. At mile 3.14 you reach Newt Jack Road.  Turn right.
  7. At mile 3.23 (150 yards) the road turns to the right.  There is a single track exiting on your left.  Take it.  (This is “Horse Shoe Trail.”)
  8. At mile 3.75 you pass Park Reservoir (Pond) on your left. 
  9. At mile 4.4 Horse Shoe Trail reconnects with Newt Jack Road.  Turn right.
  10. At mile 5.0 you arrive back at the intersection of “Happy Meal” and Newt Jack Road.  Turn left onto “Happy Meal Trail.”
  11. At mile 5.97 turn left at a fork.
  12. At mile 6.8 take the left fork again.
  13.  At mile 8.0 you return to your start at Gate 5.

(Note:  You can also print these instructions and route map using the PDF files attached below.)
The map below shows the driving route from the Hwy 160 / N. Pagosa Blvd. intersection to the Gate 5 trailhead. 
Note:  You should be able to manipulate the Google maps, below, to zoom in, click and drag, and see different terrain and satellite images.

Gate 5 Trailhead


Gate 3


Note:  To download and print the map below (and/or the route) instructions see the attached PDF files at the bottom of this page.


Tom Steen,
May 27, 2010, 8:20 PM
Tom Steen,
May 27, 2010, 8:22 PM