This trail system on the outskirts of Deer Park is inviting to a variety of user groups with 3 loops of different lengths through a serene ponderosa forest. It's great for horseback riders, hikers and trail runners in the summer and snowshoers and cross-country skiers in the winter.
Its name comes from a defunct Cold War era site nearby, but signs of that history have long since faded from the landscape.
Enter the park and immediately notice the wooden sign with 3 maps outlining the mileages for each loop option: red (5.0 miles), blue (3.5 miles) and green (2.5 miles). Pick your speed and venture forth. Heading straight, the main trail acts as an arterial for the different loops that split off. The sandy two-track is churned up in spots from horses, but it’s easy to find a line on this roomy tread.
The ponderosas rise up along the trail, sprinkling the forest floor with a carpet of needles that seems to dampen any noise, making this a quiet, peaceful stroll. Enjoy the little things along the way like the ossified skeleton of a fallen ponderosa or the timeless pleasure of walking up to a crossroads on a country lane and seeing which way your feet will take you.
Arrive at the first junction where the red trail splits off to form a horseshoe loop through the northwest reaches of the park. Color-coded signs with arrows at each intersection show the way. Continuing on the main trail, you’ll shortly arrive at a four-way intersection (where the red trail rejoins). The blue and red loops stay straight and share the same clockwise, rectangular route back to the trailhead.
For the green loop turn right, passing through patches of shady forest and sun-drenched openings. At the next intersection head right to start your return journey.
From here, parallel the eastern park boundary on a trail that covers its distance in a series of gentle ups and downs. A final right turn puts you on a mostly-flat trail that arrives shortly back at the trailhead.