Yesterday we ventured to the Franke Park Mountain Bike Trails. We previously tried to visit these trails, but didn’t follow the GPS directions and ended up parking at the zoo and exploring the Pufferbelly Trail. Read all about it here. This time we followed the GPS directions and made it to the trails. We were glad that we did.
The Franke Park Mountain Bike trails consists of 10 miles of single track trails in the woods near Shoaff Lake. The trails are rated easy and moderate with inclines, descents, twists and turns, sections of wood planks, and sections of rocks. It’s a peaceful, nice hike despite being so close to all the activity of the zoo.
We started by parking near Shoaff Lake on Franke Park/Park Dr. The lake is not very big, but is quite popular with geese. We walked towards the Pond Pavilion and on the path behind it. This didn’t go too far, but led to a dock with a picnic table. After checking that out we turned around and walked past the pavilion. We found the entrance to the trails on the right.
The trails twist around in the woods on both sides of a gravel road. We walked on the trails in the woods on both sides and also on the gravel road. Although there are many intersecting trails they are well marked and I didn’t feel like we might get lost. The day we visited we were the only ones on the trails so it made for a nice walk in the woods. I imagine on the weekends it is much busier and I’m not sure I would want to hike on these trails when a lot of bikers are using them. They trail is narrow with not much room to move to the side.
The nice part about this trail is that Franke Park is across the road from the parking lot. This would be a great place to have a picnic lunch before or after hiking on the trails. I think we will do that on our next visit.
We rate Franke Park trails 3 out of 4 paws up. There is a lake, but because of the number of geese on the shore, the accompanying poop, and the no wading/swimming signs we could not let Sunny put her toes in the water. The trails are nice with some challenges. The only negative is the concern about getting run over if mountain bikers are also using the trails. All in all, a nice place for what can be a challenging hike in the woods if you choose the moderate trails. We will definitely return, but not on weekends or holidays when the trails are more likely to be busy.
How do I get there?
From 69 exit at Lima Road/27 and head south for about 1 mile. Turn right onto Coliseum Blvd. and then left on Sherman Blvd. Follow that past the trail parking and the zoo. Turn right onto Franke Park/Park Dr. After about 0.3M park on the right near Shoaff Lake.
For more information about the trails check out the Franke Park Trail Map