6-mile intermediate-technical singletrack loop climbs 600 vertical feet from Deer Creek South Fork to the Alpine Loop Summit, then hangs a right to go north on 3.5 miles of Ridge 157 to the Tibble Fork Trail junction. Turning right on the northern end of the South Fork Trail, there's a couple of miles of blazing downhill through deep pines back to the Cascade Springs Road trailhead.
At the top of the Alpine Loop Road in American Fork Canyon, turn downhill on the Cascade Springs Road. About a mile downhill, turn right on a gravel road into a meadow. The trailhead is on the right at the treeline of the meadow.
Summary: An excellent Northern Utah trail. In my opinion, the best alpine singletrack in the state is in Park City, but this is a great 90-minute burn with a couple of really great descents to reward your uphill grinds. There are also a couple of really good viewpoints to gawk at.
Recommended Route: Start at the first major parking area on the right on the way to Cascade Springs. The trail takes off into the trees and ascends to the Alpine Loop summit. Continue across from the parking lot there back across the road on Ridge 157, stay right at the junction with Salamander Flat and Pine Hollow, all the way to the juntion with Tibble Fork, and turn directly to the right. Bomb it downhill for a couple miles back to your car.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Aspen Grove, Tibble Fork, Dutch Hollow, Bonneville Shoreline
Summary: Continuous climbing, with moments requiring a little extra kept in reserve to power through sections, here and there, but the reward is a very fast bermy downhill. Heavy vegetation and the sort of soil that goes with it, with rather sharp rocks protruding from the trail (which are kicked loose by the mx bikes allowed on the trail and horse dung for flavor.) I encountered two shallow water crossings in a section of the trail I rode.
Recommended Route: Getting there is easy. Go I-15 to the Highlands/Alpine exit past American Fork and then, Lehi. This is called Highland Hwy (92) You stay on (92) the whole time. There is a national park fee of $6.
The first thing I learned is the folks at Checkpoint Charlie (both ends) have no clue about the mountain biking they offer. Next, the name of the trail is, South Fork Little Deer Creek #252. I found a small parking area at one of the turnouts (3/4 cars straight in) at Salamander Flat #150. (I'm embarassed to admit that I had a difficult time figuring out which way was up. I took off from the parking area side of the road.) Started up #150, which quickly turned into #159, which led to the Summit parking area (I'm told.) It was this section that I encountered the water crossings. Now, that you're at the Summit parking area, you'll notice two trail head signs at opposite sides of the parking area. We started off on #157, making only right turns, when having to choose, ending back at the Summit parking area via #252. The last bit of #252 is a challenging uphill, so I was happy I parked at Salamander Flat because I had a nice downhill to finish the ride.
Other recommended trails in the same area: The friendly group that I hooked up with told me that I need to do Wasatch Crest at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Summary: This trail or route is one of the best trails in the state of Utah and yes, I am including Moab. If you like single track and fun climbs and decents; ie a mountain biker, then you will LOVE this trail. American Fork Canyon is the best place to ride and you can't go wrong with any direction you care to take.
Recommended Route: There are so many ways to go that it is relatively easy to get lost or forget how to get back to your car. I highly recommend going with someone who has ridden these trails before. The best place to start is at the Alpine Loop Parking lot at the top of American Fork Canyon. From there you can strike out on your own or ask to follow along with the 10 other mountain bikers who are there. Either way you will be amazed at the riding available. Watch out for other trail users as everything from hikers to horses and dirt bikes are allowed on these trails.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Timpanooke to Provo Canyon
Summary: Trail is well maked, and well used. One of the guys in our group was unable to switch to 1st, 2nd gears. 3rd gear was all he could manage, so we had to do a lot of waiting for him as he walked his bike up a couple of hills. Still, we were able to finish the entire route (described below) in 1 hour 40 minutes.
It can be a very fast trail. Leaving the 4-way intersection on Ridge Trail 157, Deer Creek South Fork drops into a deep forest and you're presented with a couple of switch-backs, and then a few roots and bumps, but after that, your speed really picks up! The trail is not steep, it's just smooth, and your bike keeps wanting to go faster, faster! I loved it! Do watch your speed though because I remember coming around a curve and seeing the large boulder that people use as a jump (as seen on www.utahmountainbiking.com) - if you're going too fast, that boulder could sneak up on you! Oouch!!!
Something I really loved about the trail was near the end, there is a rounded knoll dirt ramp that drops you sharply toward the highway. It kind-of reminded me of a roller-coaster, where you reach the peak of the ramp and roll down the other side! It was soo fun!
We found ourselves at the end of the trail saying, "Man! That was awesome!!! We've got to do that again!!!"
Ride it once and you'll see what I mean!
Recommended Route: We parked our vehicle in the small dirt turn-out at the end of the Deer Creek South Fork trail (located off of the Cascade Springs highway). Then, since some in our group wanted to get to start riding the trail quickly, we rode our bikes up the highway to the Cascade springs - Alpine Scenic Highway intersection where we found a small dirt trail directly in front of us. We took the dirt trail for what seemed like 1 city block where we saw a sign (Left: Aspen Grove, Right: Summit Paking Lot). We went right for 1 more city block on the dirt trail, and viola! We found Ridge Trail 157! That was easy. Started riding down the RT157, and found some hikers (so be careful), but the trail was very well marked.
Saw a sign at the intersection of Pine Hallow and Ridge Trail 157 (stay right), and another at the intersection of Mud Springs and Ridge Trail 157 (stay right, and climb up the hill), and then reached 4 way intersection (Tibble Fork, Ridge Trail 157, Deer Creek South Fork: turn right). Headed down Deer Creek South Fork and arrived back at our vehicle.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Mud Springs
Review Date August 9, 2003
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 3 of 5
Technical Difficulty 2 of 5
Ridden Trail: Once a month
Reviewed by: Cedar Hills Terry
Cross Country Rider
, from Cedar Hills, UT
Summary: This loop is a quick fun ride that most riders in decent shape can handle. It can be ridden in either direction and is fun both ways.
Recommended Route: If you are just going to ride the Southfork Loop, the park just off the Cascade Springs road at the low point (in elevation that is) of the trail. Climb in either direction (though from here I recommend climbing toward the Alpine Loop summit. Cross through the summit parking area and pick up Ridge 157. Stay on this until you reach a 4 way crossing. Hand a right and bomb back down to your car.
There are several other trails you can include in your ride to add variety, like the Pine Hollow trail (but don't take it all the way down, or you'll have a long road climb back to the car) The Salamander Flat trail, or even the Timpanooke trail. If you position a shuttle vehicle at Tibble fork reservoir, you can add Mud Springs, Tibble Fork or Mill Canyon (all fast and technical descents) to you list of choices.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Mud Springs, Tibble Fork, Mill Canyon, Julie Andrews Meadow to Bear Canyon (for major technical downhill), Grove Creek (for a near death experience with sheer drops of 150+ feet), Ridge 157, Great Wes