The Barnes Lake Trails are a bit of a hidden secret. The trail system is maintained by the Barnhartvale Horse and Hiker Society in an area which is half in the grasslands and half in open forest. Good signage is posted and most of the trails are easy to follow, allowing hikers to choose their own route. We usually choose the outside loop, staying left at almost all junctions until we take the right turn past Killdeer Pond to return us back to the start, a 9.5 km route.
From the Gardiner Road trailhead we hiked for about 1.6 km in the open sagebrush grasslands before approaching the edge of the forest.