WELCOME! If you arrived at this page directly, you may want to read the introductory page: Roger's Favorite Singletrack Mountain Bike Rides
Please realize that I am an older, intermediate mountain biker with a passion for singletracks and am suggesting these trails to others such as myself. Please do not rely totally on my descriptions -- get maps and trail guides locally. Note that I live in California, but frequently ride in Utah.
Suggestions for minimizing trail damage:
-do not let your tires slide when climbing, descending, or turning.
-ride over water bars, not around them.
-avoid riding on wet trails.
-carry your bike over or around deep mud.
-ride under control so that you do not run off the edge of the trail.
This is described well in "The Mountain Biker's Guide to Utah". It is basically a ridable 3000 foot climb UP a singletrack along a scenic creek to the top of Strawberry Ridge, followed by 10 miles of downhill singletrack through aspen trees, wildflowers as high as your head, packed dirt, rocks, sharp turns, a waterfall that you can stand under, hot springs that you can soak in, and beautiful and changing scenery. This is a long, hard ride that should not be missed! (Be aware that it is hard to spot the singletrack as it leaves the top of the ridge, and that you will be riding through thistles and nettles.)
I tried to ride this again in July of '98, but a thunder storm hit us at the top of the first singletrack, forcing us to head back down. A positive note was that I had always wanted to ride DOWN that singletrack, and found it to be a GREAT experience!
NOTE: There is no water at the trailhead, but there IS water at the campground several miles before the trailhead.
BIGGER NOTE: The road is presently closed to the trailhead...
This is also described well in "The Mountain Biker's Guide to
Utah". We did not have a shuttle to do the loop and did not feel like
losing and gaining so much altitude on roads, so we did this trip as
an "out and back" from Alpine Loop Summit. We went about halfway
(past the double track) and encountered a long, loose, rocky, uphill
and decided that it was time to turn around! The only thing that you
need to watch out for is taking a wrong turn. In general, turn right
at every intersection when going out and turn left at every
intersection when coming back. I was impressed by the aspen and
spruce forests, the wildflowers, the views, and the challenging but
ridable technical nature of the trail.
I had tried to ride this with my son (Garth) in '96 , but we were driven out by a record breaking thunderstorm that tried to electrocute us and freeze us. It didn't succeed, but it came far TOO close!
I was a bit apprehensive about riding the entire loop in '97, as it was supposed to be 40 miles round-trip with a total elevation gain of 6,600 feet! Rather than try to break it up into two smaller loops or ride up and back from each end, I decided to do the WHOLE loop from the North Fork Camp while leaving out the two mountain climbs. That would reduce the total mileage to about 34 miles (24 miles of singletrack and 10 miles of pavement), and reduce the altitude gain by about 2000 feet.
Biking down valley early in the morning was nice -- especially because the Maverik station/store had fresh baked bakery goodies! The climb up the first ridge was LONG and fairly hot -- even in the morning. The altitude at the trailhead was only about 5500 feet and the Gambel Oaks had been recently burned, removing the shade from the trail. EVENTUALLY one reaches a trail junction with no sign. If you want to ride up Lewis Peak, take the left fork. If you want to continue on as I did, take the right fork. (The trails join at the top of the next ridge.) Now you are in for a steep downhill. I could ride most of it, but my butt was behind the seat for most of the time! Once you cross the road (North Ogden Pass) you begin the WORST part of the trip -- a LONG and STEEP uphill CLIMB on a south facing slope at mid-day! I only brought two litters of water and ran out by the top of the switch backs. The trail then continues to climb, but the terrain becomes more interesting! The east facing side of the slope is choked with water loving wildflowers, shrubs, and trees. The west facing side of the slope maintains an alpine environment. To the north rises Ben Lomond Mountain -- a rocky, steep, impressive mountain! To the west can be seen the ENTIRE Salt Lake basin. It you didn't get a view from the top of Lewis Peak, you can get it now! Segments of the trail "hang" on the side of a cliff. It was really quite impressive up there! I skipped the climb to the top of Ben Lomond mountain and headed DOWN toward North Fork Camp. I had feared that this segment of trail would be far too technical for me, but found most of it to be PERFECT: hard packed, narrow, choked with vegetation, occasional roots and rocks, not too steep, gentle turns. There is one unsigned trail junction on the way down. I took the right fork and made it to North Fork Camp. I don't know where the left fork goes... The last mile became VERY rocky -- ridable -- but rocky. I walked some of it because I was getting beat-up!
Actual singletrack biking time was six hours. It took another hour to ride down to the trailhead and have coffee and donuts along the way. Not a bad way to spend the day!
If you HAVE to split this ride up into a couple of "out & backs", I suggest riding from the Pineview trailhead to the top of Lewis Peak and back; and from the North Fork Camp to the base of Ben Lomond and back -- with perhaps a climb of the peak!
I had only three days to be in Salt Lake City -- and two of them
were weekend days... I first went to Mueller Park to check out the
Mill Creek Trail. Even though the trail at the bottom was a bit wide,
and a motorcyclist came zooming by me at one point, I was still
greatly impressed by this trail. Word of warning: if the day is quite
hot (say about 95 degrees) and the sun is quite high (say about
noon), the exposed lower portion of the trail can be quite difficult
to pedal up! But once one passes the white rock, the trail is more
shaded and the temperature falls. My favorite segment was above the
white rock -- not only because it was cooler -- but because it was so
green and moist. This segment passes either through White Fir forests
or through wet meadows. Small bridges allow one to pass through
without damage to wet areas. Flowers are varied and abundant
(especially Mule Ears and Small Sunflowers)! The incline is not too
steep. The trail is not too technical. It is fun going up and fun
going down! When you reach the top you will notice several trails.
The ones heading east all dead-end within 100 meters. The one heading
west is enjoyable for the first mile or so and then becomes steep
(down) and rocky (loose). It took about 3 hours to ride up, explore
around, and ride back down.
I arrived at the parking area exited about this ride. Everything was SO green and lush at the trailhead! I got my bike down off the car, got ready to go, and then noticed the sign that stated "Closed to bikes on odd numbered days", and I was there on an odd numbered day... So I sadly headed for Colorado with plans to ride it on the way back through Salt Lake City.
Unfortunately, I broke my leg on a fall before I could return to do this ride. I returned in July of '98, but late, lingering snow prevented me from riding it. (One of these years...)
I then returned in July of '99, and started off in the rain.
I made it up to the top of the ridge as it began to rain really hard,
and I turned around. SOMEDAY I will get to complete this ride!
"The Mountain Biker's Guide to Utah", written by Gregg Bromka and published by Menasha Ridge Press, is a GREAT guide to trails all over the state of Utah!
Several National Forest Service campgrounds are found within a few miles of the trailheads.
if you do a ride and enjoy it, please let the land manager know
that you did enjoy it and that the existence of single-track trails
is important to you! It might also be a good idea to make a small
donation for trail maintenance and development!
Minimizing Trail Conflicts On Singletrack Trails
Minimizing Trail Impact On Singletrack Trails
Hints For Beginning Singletrackers
Back to Roger's Favorite Singletrack Mountain Bike Rides