Bear Lake – Sept. 2009

Sept. 5-7, 2009

Scott and Terri Barton were kind enough to invite our family, the Bradleys, and the Jolleys to spend Labor Day weekend at their cabin at Bear Lake.  We had a wonderful time and were able to do some fun dirt bike/ATV rides on Saturday and Monday.  I would also like to give a special thanks to Burt Lamborn for providing some excellent trail information.

For additional photos, visit my Picasa Photo Album at:

Saturday Sept. 5: Beaver Creek Area

We met the Bradleys at the trail head near Beaver Mountain ski resort.  We quickly unloaded and got ready to ride.  Participants included:

  • Dee Gardiner (Honda CRF250X)
  • Kim Gardiner (Yamaha Kodiak 450 ATV)
  • Kevin Gardiner (Suzuki DRZ-400E)
  • Jamie Gardiner (Honda CRF230F)
  • Jason Gardiner (Honda CRF230F)
  • Scott Barton (Honda XR400)
  • Terri Barton (Suzuki King Quad 450)
  • Ryan Barton (Honda CRF230F)
  • Peter Barton (Yamaha TTR125L)
  • Allyson Barton (riding behind mom)
  • Paul Bradley (Suzuki DRZ-400E)
  • Liz Bradley (Honda Recon 250 ATV)
  • Lauren Bradley (Honda CRF230F)
  • Sarah Bradley (Honda CRF150F)
  • Matt Bradley (Suzuki DRZ-250E)
  • Kevin Jolley (Honda XR250)
  • Rebecca Jolley (enjoyed the day at the cabin)
  • Jarrett Jolley (Honda CRF250R)
  • Spencer Jolley (Yamaha TTR125L)

In the following photo we are almost ready to ride.

Ready to ride

A short distance from the trail head we turned off of the main Beaver Creek road (411) to ride up Sink Hollow, trail #353.  It is good that we hit this trail in the morning while we were fresh since it took us about 2 hours to ride 4.4 miles!  Some of the trail was really nice as it meandered through the trees, but it was infested with some nasty rocky sections.

Terri in the first of many rocky sections

Most of the rocky sections had a fairly clean path cleared out for the dirt bikes, but the ATVs had to go over many of the rocks.  A few spots required help to keep the ATV from flipping over backwards or from being high-centered on rocks.  But they all made it – even Liz with her 2WD machine.  They may not have liked it – but they made it.



We stopped for lunch at the southern end of Gibson Basin and enjoyed a nice break.  The trail along the west side of Gibson Basin (353) was really fun, and then we turned on to the Highline Trail (316).  This had a few steep climbs and a few rocky sections, but nothing too bad.  I think everyone enjoyed this trail.

At Danish Pass we turned right and headed down through Egan Basin (415) and then turned north on an ATV trail (317).  This trail had a few ruts at first, but was otherwise a fun trail.  We took a little spur near the dried-up Big Creek Lake for a nice view of the northern end of Bear Lake.  We then turned right on the main gravel road (411) and headed down to Pat Hollow to visit the old airplane crash site.

After this break, most of the group returned to the car via the Beaver Creek road (411) and enjoyed the scenery of all of the beaver dams.  A few of us headed back up to Gibson Basin and then rode another section of the Highline Trail (316) which emerged near the Beaver Creek campground.  This was a fun and fast ride.  The stream crossing at the end was a little comical as everyone hit submerged rocks and vectored off in different directions.

Jamie crossing Beaver Creek

The total ride was about 30 miles long and it took most of the day.  If we bypassed Sink Hollow it would have been a much faster ride.  But all-in-all it was a wonderful day.  The weather was great.  We had a few light sprinkles of rain, but not enough to cause any trouble.  The temperature was perfect.

The Sink Hollow – Beaver Creek loop

Monday Sept. 7: Paris Canyon Area

We had another beautiful day on Monday.  We headed up to Paris, Idaho for a ride in Paris Canyon and Bloomington Canyon.  We drove up Paris Canyon about 4 miles and then turned towards the public campground.  We parked just outside the campground.

After a visit to the rest rooms (and Jarrett’s first crash) we headed south on an ATV trail (365) that took us over to Bloomington Canyon.  The trail had several water bars to help reduce erosion of the trail.  They looked like ½” steel plates sticking about 6” in the air, which made everyone very nervous.  Clearly other riders had the same feeling as there were bypass paths cut around the first few.  But it turned out they were made of rubber and we could easily ride over them.

We then rode up Bloomington Canyon on an easy gravel road (409) all the way to Bloomington Lakes.  I expected to see a quiet little lake in the forest, but there was a major parking area with rest rooms, picnic tables, and camping areas.  And there were a lot of people there – some in swim suits.  We couldn’t ride to the lake (actually there are 3 lakes), but there is a nice walking trail.

The first of three Bloomington Lakes

As we were getting ready to hike to the lake I noticed that Peter had a flat rear tire.  So while most of the group hiked to the lake, some of us attempted to repair the flat.  We had the tools to do the job this time, but my glue had dried out and Peter’s tire was basically shot.  One of the side knobs had broken loose, exposing a hole for rocks to puncture the tube.  So Scott rode back for his car while the rest of us enjoyed lunch and then continued on our ride.

Watching the tire repair attempt

After lunch we rode back down to Telegraph Flat and then rode trail 366 up to join the Highline Trail (316).  Most of the Telegraph Flat trail was extremely enjoyable.  It had very tight turns through the trees and some smooth bumps for getting some air.  This was one of the most enjoyable sections of the entire trip – at least for me.

Just before the trail merged with the Highline Trail we hit a steep hill climb.  The dirt was very loose and dusty, with numerous loose rocks.  The rocks would bounce you around and throw you off course, making it very challenging.  Spencer was the only youth to make it without trouble – way to go Spencer!  This climb turned out to be easy for the ATVs – a nice change for the ladies to see the men and youth struggle for a change.

Paul coming up the steep climb

The Highline Trail had some gorgeous views of Cache Valley, but it was difficult to enjoy the view because the trail demanded constant attention.  The Highline Trail used to be all single track, but sections are now open to ATVs.  Several portions of this part of the trail had traverses across very steep side hills.  It wasn’t too bad for the bikes, but it was totally nerve racking for those on ATVs.  One wrong move and you could find yourself rolling down the steep hill.  The ladies did not enjoy this part at all.

The northern end of the Highline trail was more enjoyable for everyone, and there were another set of bumps for the kids to get some air.

Jason getting a little air

We then rode through Paris Flat (408) and stopped to visit the Paris Ice Caves.  We thought we might meet up with Scott at this point, but he took a wrong turn and ended up missing us by a few minutes.  We returned to the car, packed up, and headed back to the cabin to clean up and head for home.

Jason and Jamie at the Paris Ice Cave

This ride was approximately 25 miles in length and we finished up about 3:20 PM or so.  It had a few challenging spots, but in general it was a more leisurely ride than the one we did on Saturday.

Bloomington Canyon – Paris Canyon loop


About gardinerfamilyadventures

A really great family!
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