June 13, 2014
The Uinta Trail Council, Forest Service workers, and volunteers have been out early this year clearing the single track trails in American Fork Canyon. Bob and I decided to go check out some of their great work.
I have not ridden some of these trails much in recent years because they used to be quite rocky, rutted, and difficult. I was pleasantly surprised that many of the trails are now in very good condition and they are really fun to ride.
Several years ago Jamie and I rode up the Mud Springs trail (#173) thinking it would be easier than the Tibble Fork trail (#041). Were we ever in for a surprise. It was a chilly morning when we started our ride from Tibble Fork Reservoir, but within about 10 minutes we were both drenched in sweat. We had to lift our bikes up numerous 1’ steps caused by exposed roots.
Last year Bob and I rode down #173, and it seemed to be in much better condition than when Jamie and I rode it. So, this year we decided to ride up and see how hard it would be. It is a steep trail, but it wasn’t overly difficult. It is certainly not a beginner trail, but it is by no means the most difficult trail in the area.
We stopped in the meadow for the traditional photo of Mount Timpanogos.
After reaching the Ridge Trail (#157), we turned left and rode out to the top of #041. I hadn’t ridden this section of the Ridge Trail for many years, and once again I was surprised at how nice the trail was.
We then turned right and rode down my all-time favorite trail, South Fork Little Deer Creek (#252). This trail loops around to the east, crosses the paved rode to Cascade Springs, and circles back to the Alpine Summit.
After a brief break, we rode the Ridge trail north to the top of the Pine Hollow trail (#047). This portion of the Ridge trail was fairly rocky and gets heavy use from mountain bikers.
The top part of Pine Hollow is a fun ride (but I think the bottom part is quite difficult). We turned onto the Timpanooke trail (#150) and then rode up Willow Hollow (#159). The portion of Willow Hollow between the camp and the highway is pretty rocky, but above the road the trail is nice.
After reaching the summit, we rode South Fork Little Deer Creek the opposite direction. It is fun riding either way.
Upon reaching the top of the Tibble Fork trail, we stopped and chatted with some other bikers, and then continued north on the Ridge Trail. This portion of the Ridge Trail is fairly rocky, but not overly difficult. The trail opens up at the end with dispersed camp spots near the top of road #180 and Mill Canyon (#040).
I have never ventured further north along this trail because I knew there was a very dangerous cliff crossing somewhere near Forest Lake. The work crews had just opened up a new trail re-route to avoid some steep and rocky climbs on the old trail. We decided to see what the new trail was like.
The old trail basically followed the ridge line up and down over a few small peaks. The new trail traverses back and forth across the old trail offering a much gentler climb.
Some portions of the new trail were very nice, while others were quite rocky. If everyone that rides this trail takes a little time to clear a few rocks, this will eventually be a great trail.
We continued north, past the junctions with trails #039 and #181. By this time I was getting pretty tired and hungry. We were stopped by snow at a saddle just south of Forest Lake, so we had a nice scenic spot for our lunch break.
After lunch we hiked past the snow to try and get a look at the dangerous cliff section of the trail. We got tire of hiking with our motorcycle gear on, so we never got a good look at it.
We rested a little longer after our hike, and then started the return trip on the Ridge Trail. My arms were really starting to feel sore and fatigued from all of the rocks, so we stopped periodically for a short rest.
We returned to Bob’s truck by riding down Mill Canyon (#040). Years ago I rode this with Paul. There were a lot of water bars that we dropped off, which would have made this a difficult ride up the mountain. But again, the trail has been significantly improved.
There were a lot of switchbacks, which you can see in the first GPS track, but they were not super-tight turns so I was able to ride every one of them. I am not very good at switchbacks, so this was a great chance to practice and work on my tight turning skills.
We covered just less than 35 miles by the time we returned to the car. It was a very enjoyable day of riding.