The first time we were in this area we didn't have time to check out anything but the main roads, so we skipped Ruby Jewel. We were really looking forward to seeing it this time and possibly doing the hike at the end. We came off of Bockman Road and County Road 41 and started up the new trail.
We started on the southern end of the loop because we wanted to get to the end a bit earlier. We were still deciding on hiking or not. For us, it's always a balance between 4x4 trails and other activities -- if we go hiking, that's fewer trails we'll see in our Jeeps. We decided to wait until we got to the hiking trailhead to decide.
A lot of the trail is in the open, with evidence of logging everywhere. Though there are still parts of the forest thick with pine and aspen trees, there were a lot of areas on the trail where there was deadwood and stumps all over the place. It wasn't particularly attractive.
We saw one car parked in the 4x4 parking, but no people. We kept going, of course, and the trail turned to a bumpy bit of fun. When we got to the main rocks, Mike decided to see if he could straddle one of the larger rocks. He couldn't, so he had to back down and do the obstacle with his tires on them, instead.
Niko took the path that was the most flexy, and it paid off. He had a fun time through the rocks.
It wasn't long until we were at the end. We parked, and walked a little way into the trail. We stood on the foot bridge and decided we weren't going to hike. Mostly, it was the thick mosquitoes that turned us away. It was also a pretty steep trail. Instead, we had a slightly early lunch in the sun and tried not to get too many mosquito bites (it didn't work).
We soon headed down, anxious to get out of all of the mosquitoes. We took the other half of the loop and decided to head out to the overlook. It was high on the hill for a bit, and we thought that's where it would be. But then the trail headed down the hill and into the trees, where it finally stopped at a turnaround. We laughed, got out, walked around, laughed some more. You couldn't see much from there, and it wasn't relatively scenic. We dubbed it the "underlook."
We headed back out to the main road after finishing the loop. This was a fun trail, and we were glad we finally got to see it.