Two Towers and a Trail?

South Tower

Since the first time I bike hiked up to the towers on Lookout Mtn I’ve wanted to explore some of the nameless trails on the way back down. On today’s ride I did, and the trail I chose will now be know to me as No Buenos Trail. I’m sure it has a proper name as people obviously spent a lot of time on it, but the name just wasn’t on the map I was using. A coworker knew it’s real name, but to me the trail is still going to be No Bueno Trail because it was mostly unrideable and therefore no good.

I started the ride ( and some pushing) up to the towers from the Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve parking area on Lake Louise Road. There are bathrooms, a nice big parking area and the road is obvious at the West side of parking opposite bathrooms. Just go around the gate, or up the stairs, and continue uphill on the main road for several miles until at about 2000 ft. elevation you reach a very large Y in the road. From the Y you can go left to the south tower and right to the North tower, both are at about 2600 ft. so you still have a bit of climbing which ever way you choose. Today I chose both so I went to the South towers and then back through the Y an onto the North towers. The road is a workout, especially if you hit both sets of towers, but it is also mostly through very nice forested land which provides a lot of shade.
After hitting the second set of towers I was ready for some downhill trail riding back to the car which was down about 2000 ft of elevation from where I was standing at the trailhead. The trail began rough and only rideable to me in a couple of short sections, then it got really No Buenos, difficult to navigate, full of obstacles beyond my skill level, many of which were so beyond my skill level that they were downright dangerous. I would venture to say that many of the drops were beyond the skill levels of all but the most elite riders. We are talking 10-20 foot drops with some very steep runouts. At one point I was thinking that if I just grabbed my handlebars and rode off the Space Needle I’d have about the same outcome as if I’d attempted any one of these big drops. Several of the ride arounds were really just hike a bike walk arounds to me and even a few were so steep that lowering my bike before climbing down myself was the safest way to go. There was a good side to the trail which was that the forest canopy created and earily quiet environment filled with huge boulders, huge tree trunks and huge root networks to navigate. As I got further down the trail, the trail became more and more rideable but then abruptly ended when it hit the road behind a trail closed sign. So for riding, I say that this is a no bueno trail, but for a cool way to hike to the tower I’d call it a muy bueno, but according to the sign it is a closed trail, so it is No Bueno Trail.
There are other trails to explore from the towers, some towards Galbraith from the north towers and at least one towards Cain Lake from the south tower so I will likely be bike hiking up the road again. If for nothing else, I may just do the road for the workout and the refreshing ride back down.
Gaigps track for the trail section is here, while the track for the ride can be found in my earlier posts Splashy and Granny Insufficient.