The Outer Inks Trails are mostly forested double tracks with a few single tracks added by dirt bikers on motorcycles. It is not an official trail system. The old double tracks on Crown Land were used by ranchers (grazing leases) and for forestry access. Recreational use has mainly been motorcycles and ATVs, but the trail system is also suitable for non-motorized use, so we follow the Share the Trail concept and we mountain bike, hike, and snowshoe on the trails over all months of the year, avoiding prime motorized-use times. On this last outing, we hiked past the the Spade Lakes, up to the Thickett Marshes, and over to Dam Lake, then down the hill in a 8.2 km loop.
Spade Lake is on the edge of both the forest and grasslands, south of working ranches. If cattle are grazing in the area, go quietly on established roads and trails. We passed the two lakes quietly, enjoying the tranquil wetlands then we followed unsigned single and double tracks up the hill through fir forest slopes.
Almost all of our loops in the Outer Inks Trail go past Dam Lake, a peaceful and scenic spot which we have biked, hiked, run, and snowshoed past. At this time of year, there was no draw down yet and there were a few ducks on the lake.
Since the whole area is on a slope, all routes bearing south will be uphill, but most grades are moderate, offering a good workout in every season. We always go to these trails in non-peak times to avoid the noise, speed, and difficult encounters with motorized users. We are happy to share the trails, but the sharing is better for everyone if we avoid prime season weekends. These trails are particularly nice to use in the shoulder season when no one is around, or in winter on snowshoes, making our own tracks.