Mineral Fork Trail - Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah
Starting from the gate which is always closed to keep out larger vehicles, you simply ride around it and then take the trail to the right (the left trail is for hiking only and only goes up a few hundred feet). The bottom part of the trail is a mixture of loose shale rock and river rock over hard pack dirt. There are a few switchbacks in this part as well, but the worst part is the fallen rocks that force you to either walk the bike, or pick through them carefully. There is also a huge rock at this point that limits the width of the trail to a smaller ATV maybe. After the rock slide you ride up through more loose shale rock and then cross a small stream in two points during some switchbacks, and then again farther up. Beyond that there a mix of forest trail and rocky terrain, but at one point the center part of the trail has washed away completely forcing you to ride on one edge or the other.
Continuing on the trail becomes a mix of steep rocky climbs, single track width forest hard pack with exposed roots, sharp rocks, and deep river rock filled washes. If you just bought new wheels, or you really like your wheels, this may not be the place for you. I've never ridden in rockier conditions than this, so if you don't like rocks, don't come up here! At about 3 miles up you will come to a fork in the trail. The left trail goes South East, and leads directly to the abandoned mine. The right trail continues up past the mine to the South West. When there is no snow, the trails look like they connect above the mine, but during our trip (August 3rd, 2011) there was still a six foot snow slide covering it. We originally took the left fork, and not wanting to back track, we walked our bikes across the snow slide and onto the West trail and continued on (see the pics).
From here the going is less rocky, but there are very steep sections, and some pretty gnarly switchbacks in the middle of them. There was also still a lot of snow covering the trails (in fact we had to help a dad and son get their four wheelers across one part), but the leading edge of the trail was dry and wide enough to ride on. Once we got to 9,875 feet, the snow slide was completely covering the trail, and it was pretty much impassible.
To summarize this is a great trail if you don't mind rocks. There are some technical sections, and my guess is that the run off during the spring makes the water crossings interesting, but it very scenic and quiet up there, and there is a lot of varied riding for those who like to mix it up a bit. Be sure to check out the pictures I took!
Average user rating from: 1 user(s)
|Location (5 - easy access, 1 - middle of nowhere))||5.0 (1)|
|Level of Difficulty (5 - the trail was challenging. 1 - Boring)||4.0 (1)|
|Local Amenities (restaurants, stores, etc.)||3.0 (1)|
|Accomadations (Hotels, campgrounds, etc.)||4.0 (1)|
Lot's of fun if you like scenery and rocks!
If you don't mind a few rocks (ok it's maybe a little worse than that), steep climbs and tight switchbacks, you will be rewarded with some of the most stunning scenery anywhere. Being one of the last legal OHV trails in Salt Lake County, my guess is that this will be closed sooner than later, so make a trip up there before you can't!