Luke’s Trail – Oct 2013

Oct. 18, 2013

Jamie decided that this year for fall break we would leave the motors at home and do some mountain biking.  A few weeks earlier we learned about a new trail in the San Rafael Swell that looked interesting.  So we decided to do a two-day trip and spend one day in the Swell and another day near Price, Utah.

There is a plateau just barely north of the town of Price, which has a network of trails, commonly referred to as Luke’s Trail.  Officially, only one of the trails is actually “Luke’s Trail”, but it is the one frequently used to link to the other trails in the area.

We timed our departure from home so that we would arrive at the park in Price in time for lunch.  After eating lunch, we drove up onto the bluff and began our ride.  The weather was perfect – in the upper 50s and low 60s.  It was a little chilly for Kim waiting for us at the car, but it was ideal for mountain biking.

We chose both days rides because they are relatively flat.  Since I don’t ride very often, I don’t have much stamina to handle long hill climbs.  So a ‘flat’ ride sounded great.

The Utah Mountain Biking website describes two common loops here; Luke’s Little Loop, and Luke’s Bigger Loop.  We decided to go for the bigger loop, but we ended up doing a medium loop.  Next time I will most likely do the little loop since it avoids the section of trail that we didn’t like.  Our track is shown below.

Our GPS track

Our GPS track

The first mile of Luke’s trail is really quite easy.  It is fairly flat and smooth.  You just need to stay on the trail because the dirt just off the trail is quite soft.

Jamie and I start off on Luke’s tral

The trail twists and turns through the Juniper trees.

Luke’s trail

At the one mile mark we turned left on Alan’s Alley.  Alan’s Alley is just slightly more difficult than Luke’s trail.  A loop around Alan’s Alley and back to the car via Luke’s trail would make an excellent beginner ride of about 3 miles.

Alan’s Alley gets near the bluff edge

The remainder of Luke’s trail is intermediate in difficulty.  Some of it is smooth and flowing, but there are a number of more technical sections where we got off and walked.  Better riders would not have any difficulty on this trail, but my fear of falling makes me walk anything that is questionable.  Luke’s trail also has quite a few interesting sights to see along the trail, such as a tree full of rocks.  Someone clearly had a lot of time to kill.

Dee riding Luke’s trail

Somewhere near the north end of Luke’s trail are turn-offs to the Bonus Loop and the Cutoff Trail.  We didn’t see either junction.  The Bonus Loop is the part of the “bigger” loop that we missed.  The cutoff trail is the route for the “little” loop.

After crossing a dirt road the trail becomes IMBAtween (I suppose it is short for “I am between” since you are between Luke’s Trail and S’mo Joes).  We didn’t like IMBAtween.  It had longer rocky sections, and a number of steep descents and climbs.  We ended up walking a fair amount of this trail.  Luckily it was only about ¾ mile long.

You can tell when you reach the junction with S’mo Joes because of the vertebrae sign post.

Interesting sign post

S’mo Joes returns toward the trail head by following the east side of the plateau.  This trail is somewhat more difficult than Luke’s trail.  It did have more places that we walked, but we were able to ride most of the trail.  It also goes quite close to the cliff edge in a few places.

S’mo Joes

The last portion of the loop is called Knott Peats Rim (spelled “Petes” on the Utah Mountain Biking website).  This trail is similar in difficulty to S’mo Joes, but it is closer to town with views of the neighborhoods below the plateau.

The loop was about 8 miles long (the website predicted 10) and took us about 2.5 hours (we ride pretty slowly).  It was a fun ride and well worth the time.

Update

Alan J Peterson shared the following background information about these trails:

“Dee,
I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to my backyard. I am the “Alan” of Alan’s Alley. I also built the “cut-off” trail and worked on a few others. I chose the name “IMBAtween” because IMBA came to a Trail Fest one year and taught a trail construction class, then we worked on that section of trail the next day.
You are correct though, it is in-between Luke’s Trail and Mead’s Rim Trail. Smokin’ Joe’s Trail was built later.
Knott Peat’s Trail got it’s name because the guy (Pete) that built it, didn’t want his name associated with it….thus I chose “Knott Peats”.
The Carbon County Mountainbike Club is called PASS (Price Area Single Track Society).
The Emery County Mountainbike Club is named MECCA (Mostly Emery County Cycling Association). MECCA holds 2 Festivals per year. The Spring Festival (May) is based in Green River and uses tails in The Swell.
The Fall Festival (September) uses The Good Water Rim Trail and Buckhorn Draw.
AJP”

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A really great family!
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