Single Track Mind
If you check out the various Utah online and printed mountain bike guides, you’ll see that the Skyline Trail is considered a “must ride” singletrack for its long, demanding climbs, wildflowers and unbelievable views as you ride the ridge between the Ogden metropolitan area to the west and lush Ogden Valley to the east. However, that 30-mile Olympic-caliber section of trail represents about 10% of what’s available to fat tire fanatics in the area.
This is just a sample of some local favorites…
Wheeler Creek to Coldwater Overlook
Locals hit Wheeler Creek as soon as it opens in the spring. Wedged in a limestone slot canyon at the head of Ogden Canyon (the trailhead is just below Pineview Dam), the trail parallels Wheeler Creek itself on pebbly double track for the first 1.9 miles to the Art Nord Trailhead. From there, Maples Trail offers 3.3 miles of single-track through grass and wildflower meadows, stands of quaking aspen, oak and maple where you’re likely to see moose and deer. Foot bridges have been installed at strategic water crossings and the transitions from the trail to the bridges are typically seamless. The Maples Trail tops out at a connector. Turning south shoots you over to Snowbasin on a short two-track section that connects you into the entire Snowbasin trail system. Turning north sends you on incredibly buffed out single-track to the Coldwater Overlook. The sustained climb is easier than you think and the resulting view is nothing short of epic. Plus, it comes with the benefit of a velvet-smooth, high-speed descent.
Length: 6.5 miles, one way
Elevation: 4,900’ to 6,900’
As part of the Great Western Trail (stretching from Mexico to Canada), the Skyline Trail has received its share of ink with the out-and-back north section from North Ogden Divide to Ben Lomond Peak achieving the most notoriety. However, the south section has a “no breaks up, no brakes down” 18-mile loop option that every hardcore mountain biker has to do. Begin at the Pineview Trailhead on the west side of Pineview Reservoir (called Windsurfer Beach by locals...don’t get confused). Out of the parking lot you’ll grind up 5 miles of single-track steeps. You’ll hit a fork where you can opt for another 4 miles of climbing to Lewis Peak or about 3.5 miles to North Ogden Divide. The last mile approaching the Divide is a wicked descent. Very technical, hike-a-bike stuff. At the Divide, descend down the Pioneer Trail into Ogden Valley. This section is an improved wagon road with a recognizable single “best descent” line that dumps you into the community of Spring Mountain. Pedal a chunk of pavement past Snowcrest School and whip into Eats of Eden for a frosty beverage. Then it’s a short combination of road, paved trail and single-track along the edge of the lake back to the trailhead.
Length: 9.5 to trailhead to divide
Elevation: 4,950’ to 7,750’
Bonneville Shoreline Trail – East Ogden Bench
Ogden’s East Bench is home to a spaghetti bowl of single-track trails. Official trailheads can be found at Rainbow Gardens (at the mouth of Ogden Canyon) and at the tops of 22nd Street, 29th Street and 36th Street. You have endless ride options ranging from 20-mile out-and-backs to short 6-mile loops. Fifteen minutes of pedaling on any piece of the single-track puts you above the city. You’ll see wicked sunsets, dip into canyons, cross streams and cling to the edge of ledges. This trail sees most of its action in the spring when wildflowers are popping, the high-country trails are still under a blanket of snow and local mountain bikers are trying to get their legs back. You’ll share the trail with other bikers as well as trail runners and their four-legged canine friends.
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult
Elevation: 4,400’ to 5,680’