||Middle 157 Expert Loop
This is a tougher version of the middle portion of Ridge 157, intended
for expert riders. (For an easier ride using this same portion of Ridge
157, see the Mill Canyon Springs Loop
page.) The ride starts on the Cascade Springs Road, climbing South Fork to
Ridge 157, then descending via a new singletrack back to the South Fork
Breaking out of the trees on Ridge
157, we look over our shoulder at Timpanogos. Photos August 30, 2006.
|The lariat loop as described here is 5.5 miles, with 1000
vertical feet of climbing. Peak altitude is 8400 feet. It's a tougher ride
because middle Ridge 157 is much harder ridden south-to-north, and the
singletrack descent from Ridge 157 back to South Fork is steep and narrow.
I do NOT recommend riding this loop in the reverse direction -- the trail
down from the Ridge is steep and ugly when ridden uphill.
For a longer ride, you can climb up the southern limb of the South Fork
trail to the Alpine Loop Summit, then ride Ridge 157 north. This adds
about 300 additional feet of climbing, and extends the ride by about 3
You'll see great views of Timpanogos, Mill Canyon,
Tibble Fork Canyon, and the granite peaks of the Snowbird Ridge
surrounding Mineral Basin.
The climb up South Fork to Ridge 157
gets easier once you reach the pines. It's a fairly steady aerobic effort.
Park at the bottom of the Deer Creek South Fork trail, on
the right side of Cascade Springs road, about 1.5 miles from the Alpine
Loop summit. Go across the road and find the northern limb of the Deer
Creek South Fork Trail. It will drop past a primitive campsite, cross a
creek on a small wooden bridge, then begin climbing through a meadow.
0.7 miles uphill, you'll climb a short but very steep spot then descend
a bit and suddenly turn left. Just a few feet after the turn, look to your
right. That trail is the return route from the top of Mill Canyon. Go
straight past it for now.
Jackie plods along, crossing another
meadow on Ridge 157.
|When the trail reaches the top of the ridge, you'll find
yourself at a 4-way trail intersection. Turn right onto northbound Ridge
157. The trail begins climbing. You've got another 400 vertical to go.
When the trail breaks out onto doubletrack, turn hard right and go into
the turn-around area. On the far (left) side of the turnaround, looking
out over short scrub, you'll find the downhill singletrack.
We're looking southeast as a newly-dug
section of downhill trail leaves the turn-around at the top of the ridge.
The singletrack will meander down the ridge for about 1/2
mile, then suddenly turn 150-degrees to the right. Now you'll begin
descending through aspen and fir forest. Sometimes the underbrush is
tight, but you should be able to follow the trail easily here.
After dropping through two small creeks, you'll climb
slightly to find yourself looking at a large meadow. The ground squirrels
recycle the soil rapidly here, and the grass quickly hides the trail. Look
across the slope and see if you can spot a couple of rockpiles. Plot your
course as a straight line along the cairns.
Typical section of narrow,
semi-overgrown trail wiggling through the aspens and firs on the way
If you don't see the rocks, look towards Timpanogos, then
look down to the "hump" of the fir-covered hill just below the
peaks. Directly below the middle of the hump -- that's where you're
headed. Take your bearing and start riding.
Find the continuing trail as it enters the aspens. After
just a few feet, it's suddenly easy to follow again.
here's the meadow where the trail disappears. (More bike traffic will
help.) Find the hump on the hill, look straight underneath it, and those
are the aspens you should aim for.
The trail will undulate a bit here, and will start to climb again. There
are two short but mean climbs, the last of which takes you up to the Deer
Creek South Fork Trail.
Reaching the trail, turn left (uphill and around the bend). Head
back to the parking area the way you came.
View through the aspens as we pick our
way along a fainter area of trail.
|Counterclockwise loop, riding notes:
0.0 Cross the paved road, find the trail
N 40° 26.828 W 111° 36.491
0.7 Keep L at fork after sharp turn
N 40° 27.233 W 111° 36.390
1.6 Right at 4-way at ridgetop
N 40° 27.547 W 111° 36.894
|3.2 ST hits DT, hard R
N 40° 28.057 W 111° 35.675
From turnaround, L on ST
4.2 Meadow, trail may be faint
Aim for "hump" of
4.8 Back at South Fork, turn L
N 40° 27.233 W 111° 36.390
5.5 Back at Cascade Springs Road
|Alternate ride: For a longer ride, go up
the southern limb of South Fork to the Summit, then ride north on Ridge 157.
Getting there: (Cascade Springs Road trailhead) From
I-15, take the Alpine-Highland exit just south of Point-of-the-Mountain.
Go east towards the mountains on UT-92 and continue up American Fork
Canyon. There's a $6 fee (as of 2009). About 6 miles up the canyon, turn right at the
North Fork junction. Drive up to the summit of the Alpine Loop, then turn
left on the Cascade Springs Road. About 1.5 miles later, turn right on a
gravel road and park. GPS N 40° 26.801' W 111° 36.489'.
Cross the paved road and find the singletrack that crosses the stream and
climbs the meadow.