TR - Beaver

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by evdog, Sep 14, 2020.

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  1. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    I've driven past here too many times on I-15. It was time for a pilgrimage to Beaver. A few weeks ago I made the trek.

    Well more specifically, to the mountains above Beaver in the Fishlake National Forest. The area has been a bit of a blank spot for me between Brian Head and SLC area in terms of bike trails. Most of what I'd seen in the past suggested it was primarily ATV/OHV trails. I've looked at it every so often thinking there has to be more there, and over time I've seen trip reports that suggested that could be the case. At some point a few trails appeared on TF and MTB Project. Looking at those recently on satellite it looked like a lot of above tree line riding which could be good. The Dixie 311 bikepacking route also touches this same area, but that has not been run in a few years due to poor conditions. So I set out with a plan to spend a couple days in the area with a backup of SLC area or Brian Head if the trails here sucked.

    Headed out after work on a Wednesday. Got as far as St George before fatigue set in so I found a place to camp and then finished the drive the next morning. Snagged a sweet campsite and got ready to ride. Turns out this trip would be more about mountain goats than beavers.


    First ride was from camp up to a peak, planning to do a loop that would drop out right back at camp. Camp was already above 10,000ft and it didn't take much road climbing to get above tree line completely.


    It was full on hike a bike right from the start of the singletrack. Stout hike a bike, 1500ft in less than 1.5mi


    I met this group not too far up. Hard to head with the wind, but I think they said something to the effect of me being crazy for climbing this trail.


    Great views though


    Looking across at other peaks


    I also spotted this scene below a distant ridge. My camera has a decent zoom lens that sometimes proves useful


    Summit shot


    I hiked over and took a peak off the south side. More goats!


    My intended route was to continue forward down to that saddle and beyond. In my mind the route would continue down and to the right, but in reality it turned left and down out of sight into the canyon. Checking GPS it would circumnavigate the entire mountain. I couldn't spot the trail which wasn't a big surprise, it was faint in a lot of spots and would probably see less use from here on.


    I dropped down and soon lost it. I stopped where a large gully formed and still no trail. Hiked down a bit, still no sign of trail. I had lights but this was more than I wanted to bite off this late in the day, so I called it and headed back up to the peak.


    I'd spotted another faint singletrack on a ridge opposite that it seemed I'd be able to connect to from the peak. I figured it would head back to the road and might connect back to some other trails. After a bit of cross country the use trail became obvious. While the trail I'd climbed up on would have been a fun descent this seemed like a victory to be able to finish as a loop


    Climbing over a slight rise I came across this scene. The herd startled at first when I popped up but after holding still they settled down and hung out. I watched for a while.


    Got some good shots. Eventually I had to go. Hiked around them slowly and they didn't move at all.


    My route down along the ridge.


    I crossed the road and picked up another trail that connected to the Blue Lake Trail. After some initial hike a bike it got really nice and was mostly downhill. Then picked up a connector that brought me back to the road just above camp just before dark. 11mi +/-2,800ft


    I saw this sign on a different day posted at a pretty random spot along the road

  2. mountaingirl sara

    mountaingirl sara iMTB Hooligan

    So Cal
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley
    Those mountain goats are beautiful!
    evdog and mtnbikej like this.
  3. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Hooligan

    Crescenta Valley
    Mike, aka "Ssnake"
    Current Bike:
    Trek FEX
    evdog and mountaingirl sara like this.
  4. konakc

    konakc iMTB Rockstah

    thank you!!!
    evdog and mountaingirl sara like this.
  5. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Day 2, first ride

    The longest singletrack trail in the area is the Skyline National Rec Trail. It starts close to where I camped and heads south, contouring and climbing over a number of ridges. I originally planned to make a big loop of it but decided on a point to point shuttle instead assuming there would be a lot of hike a bike on any climbs.

    Dropped my truck just off the road to Eagle Point Resort. I noticed the Pauite ATV route took off right across the road so I rode that back to camp rather than the main dirt road.

    It's probably on the green-blue difficulty scale but had a couple steep rocky chutes that got the old heart rate up


    Other parts were downright nice. Mostly it was lots of twists and turns. The Dixie 311 uses this same section of trail. Not sure I'd find it as fun on a MTB.


    Rode the moto back to camp where I traded it for the MTB and did the short climb up to Skyline TH. There is a high option that was very faint and had a hike a bike right away. I took the much used lower option. It had a steep HAB later.


    There was a pretty good mix of steep climbs, steep descents, and contouring. In and out of lots of drainages. Overall pretty good trail.


    After a solid climb to what would be the highest pass at 11,000ft I had a nice 800ft descent starting in the trees.


    Then breaking out into meadows. No downed trees so far, impressively.


    Continuing along a bunch of trails split off including one that should lead up to the peak I was on the day before. Will have to go explore that route some day.


    Looking back north. About to start the second biggest single climb on the day of 500ft.


    Another great view looking back north


    A fun rocky descent to finish Skyline and I hopped across the road onto the Hi Hunt trail. No sign of it at first but I knew it had to drop down to the right. Soon picked up a vague path that got more clear the further I went.


    Made some new friends along the way, everyone had to come over and say hello



    Hi Hunt was fun. Raw. Glad I didn't climb it! Got pedally toward the end, lots of blown out stream crossings. I stayed on the trail proper despite suggestions to take an ATV trail that branches off. If you go, take the ATV trail.

    A steep climb followed over a ridge to my truck. A few downed trees on that one. Just a handful of others all day. I'm sure there are plenty after winter each year so late summer/fall is probably the best time to ride here.


    Pretty decent ride overall. Could be made epic with some additions at the beginning. 14.5mi, +2,300/-3,600ft
    Danimal, DangerDirtyD, Robbie and 6 others like this.
  6. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Day 2, second ride

    By the time I got back to camp and had a beverage I had a bit of time for one more ride, but not a ton of time. I decided to drive up over the hill and check out the terrain to the north, scouting some trailheads along the way.

    Some tantalizing trails were spotted. I was aware of this one down in the valley but where it connected was unknown and it would be a 3k climb back out if I rode it.


    Decided to check out another one I saw that was not on the maps but looked promising. Seemed like it might go over to some nearby peaks.


    Despite a few short HABs it was mostly rideable.


    Views were fantastic


    Still contouring


    High point in sight


    High point attained - 11,700ft.


    Time to drop back down


    I went down an alternate way that turned out to be an old mining road reverting to singletrack. Would ride through the moonscape below


    The old road bed disappeared for a few hundred yards due to slope creep. A couple get offs but mostly pretty nice riding thus far.


    Looking back


    And looking back up from the road.


    It was a long descent on pretty rocky old road. Not the best riding, and the trail disappeared a couple times in a meadow at the end. Had to climb back up the fire road for 1,000ft in the dark. Good times. I'd do this as an out and back next time.

    9mi, +/- 1,900
  7. mountaingirl sara

    mountaingirl sara iMTB Hooligan

    So Cal
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley
    That’s some high altitude, I’m guessing you don’t have any issues acclimating?!
    herzalot likes this.
  8. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Hooligan

    Current Bike:
    Chameleon 60%
    I'm worn out reading...

    Love this photo:

    scan, Robbie, Old&InTheWay and 4 others like this.
  9. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    I'm definitely sucking wind and stopping often on climbs the first day or two. But I've done a 4-5 day trip each of the last 3 months to higher elevations plus another weekend or two to Socal "high" elevations. Those weekends all help. What affected me most was my campsite being above 10,000ft. I didn't sleep well a couple of the nights.
    Old&InTheWay and Cyclotourist like this.
  10. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Laguna Beach
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower; Revel Rail
    @evdog I have two requests of you please.

    1.) Get out more. We are all growing tired of you riding the same ol' places all the time.
    2.) Learn how to take better photos. You can check out some of mine for some pro tips.

    :confused: o_O

    Well done sir! :thumbsup:
    evdog likes this.
  11. sir crashalot

    sir crashalot Well-Known Member

    laguna beach
    gary fishman
    Current Bike:
    2018 banshee rune
    I am so jealous of this
    Cyclotourist likes this.
  12. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    It would meet your standard for lack of traffic, for sure.
    herzalot likes this.
  13. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Day 3, first ride

    I've lucked out too many times on this and other recent trips, I was due for a stinker. And I had just the sketchy ride for that. One that I spotted on USGS maps but was on no other map or app. I'd scouted the trailhead the day before and it looked legit. But I had a feeling this one would see a lot less traffic and have a lot more downed trees. It also had a 13mi / 4,000ft road pedal to close the loop as a reward if the trail sucked. Thanks, but I'll shuttle that part.

    After dropping the truck off at the far end I was glad to be riding the road by moto and not MTB. Tons of side by sides out and it was very dusty


    The side road up to the trailhead. Nice little campsite up there too.


    Overview of the route. Drop down the canyon 1,000ft, then traverse around the shoulder of the ridge for 5-6 miles. Of course, you have to find the right trail first. I thought it very obviously went straight ahead. Within 150ft this tapered to nothing but steep scree slope, and GPS showed me far above the trail. In reality the trail turned hard left just behind where I took this pic and switchbacked down, but was faint/overgrown enough I didn't see it. So I downclimbed scree to the valley bottom to see if I could pick it up, thinking I may need to call the ride off if I didn't. All was good when I saw it down there. Followed it back up to see where it started from. Duh....


    No trouble once I found it. It was pretty nice descending, mostly like this. A few small downed trees I was able to move off the trail.


    After dropping 1k in just over a mile I came around a corner into a pretty good tangle of trees. No moving those off by hand. The ground flattened. Within 100 yards I spotted a herd of elk, which took off. They were hanging out in an old hunting camp ironically, complete with log frame shitter.


    The trail crossed the creek here. It was better defined but there were downed trees every 50 ft or so.


    You start wondering whether you're better to turn around and bail or suffer through unknown miles of this crap. What did Adolfo Perez do in 1915? I bet he finished his hike. And so would I


    Looking back at the peaks. The saddle I started at is just barely visible on the left


    Another mile and a half forward I was in a pretty bad mood. This was one of the worst trails I've been on for downed trees. But coming around this corner I could tell things were going to get better as the trail was going to climb out of the trees.


    It was like I could breathe again...and pedal!


    The trail passed back into other stands of trees but only a few were down. Being closer to the far trailhead this part sees more maintenance. The biggest issue from here on were a few large mud pits caused by cattle on the trail.


    This ride would pass through private property at the end. I spotted one of the local's pads below. Nice spot for the old double wide!


    Interesting rock outcrop coming up. Trail went right along the base


    It looked like I'd be traversing along but this trail actually turns steeply uphill at far right to a spot called Tip Top.


    And Randall's Lookout


    From there I did a bit of double track traversing and then about 1,300ft descending on fire road. Signs had said this ride popped out on private land so I parked lower down to avoid it, but it seems like the roads I was on were all public roads. Who knows.

    This probably isn't a ride I'd do again unless part of a route to connect further north. Even if the trail were clear of trees it's a long shuttle or road pedal for what you get in singletrack. Doing it as part of a bigger ride isn't out of the question as it is a great connector. The road cut in the pic below is I-70. And there may be trails on the north side of that, too.


    MTB portion of the ride was only 8 mi. +570/-2,550ft. 1,300 of that was dirt road at the end. Moto shuttle was 13mi +3,850/-1,450ft, and not recommended for cycling to close the loop.
  14. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Day 3, second ride

    Shuttling the first ride and battling trees took up a lot of the day. Heading back down I decided I could do one more quick ride and make it to the Eagle Point Resort bar for dinner.

    Dropped the truck off at the highway and rode the moto back up to camp again. I'd hit Tanner Hollow to connect to Duncan Creek Trail. The trailhead map refers to Tanner Hollow as Bosman Trail, so Trailforks may be incorrect.


    Doesn't matter, it was mostly downhill to the Duncan Creek connector trail. That one had a few steep hike a bikes, starting right after crossing this bridge.


    But it brought me to nice riding. First some traversing atop a ridgeline in the aspens



    Then it dropped down through nice meadows, probably 1,500ft before dropping me onto a dirt road for about 1/2 mile



    Fun ride, and nice contrast to what I "rode" earlier today. 6 mi, +300/-1,800ft
  15. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Day 4

    Final day, the main trail I wanted to get in was Blue Lake Trail. I'd ridden a short piece of it on day 1 but wanted to check out the Blue Lake itself. Pics looked awesome. I left the moto down at Hwy 153 the night before so just had to drive up to the top to start riding.

    I figured based on the topography and elevation profile the road that dropped down would be pretty burly. No surprise it was gated at the top.


    It was definitely burly, basically carved into a scree slope


    The road down in the flats looked like it would have to be graded in every year following floods


    Took a few tries to find where the trail took off from the road. But it was freshly maintained including the signature 4-claw mark. I saw this in a lot of places over the weekend. Thanks to who ever is doing all the trailwork!


    The climb out was surprisingly rideable


    And scenic


    After some of the other trails I'd ridden so far in the area this one was a total surprise. A lot of it was beautiful buff singletrack like this.


    There was a bit of scree to climb to get to this point, and some sketchy scree to descend after it, but it was definitely worth it.


    Some more buff riding followed. The climb to the high point was about 1,500ft in 3.5 miles. A bit steep but very nice trail. I'd definitely ride it again.


    The high point is what I connected to on Day 1, so I repeated just over a mile of trail but continued on Blue Lake an extra couple miles.


    Nice view. It looks uphill but really wasn't


    Rather than repeating Duncan Creek Trail I planned to finish down another part of the Dixie 311 route. This would have me climb up a tough section of Tanner Hollow Trail which included two hike a bike sections, and then traverse a ridgeline that seemed to be called Jimmy Reed Creek Trail. It started off through a burn area but was all cut out. Note the call sign, again.


    Looking back north. The trail followed right along the top of the ridgeline which included a few short steep hike a bikes to keep up with the terrain.


    Eventually it dropped down. I thought it would be a short descent dropping on to a forest road, but two segments I thought were road were the awesome singletrack in the two pics below. Win



    There was a bit of fire road at the end but didn't lose a ton of elevation that way. What an awesome ride though. Perfect point to point. About 15mi and +2,500/-5,000ft. Huge variation in terrain and scenery too.

    I stopped for a bit of fishing on the drive out. Fish were skittish, turned out they were browns which explains why. Awesome road trip. Tough riding though, but I'll be back. I rode most of the main trails but there is still more to to explore.

    scan, Dirtrider...., Walleye and 4 others like this.

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