|Mill Canyon Springs Loop
(Middle Ridge 157 Easy Loop)
This is a very scenic, pleasant 8-mile loop on the Cascade Springs
Road. It's a quick ride -- a strong rider can hammer it in around
an hour. Overall, this is an intermediate level ride. Although an in-shape
beginning rider can easily do the climb, the section on Ridge 157 can be
From the ride's high point, we're
looking northeast toward the Snowbird ridge. Photos August 25, 2006. For an expert-level
all-singletrack loop using this same
middle section of Ridge
see the Middle 157 Expert Loop page.
|I'm not sure why this route is called the "Mill Canyon Springs
Loop," because it doesn't actually go past
Mill Canyon Springs. The ride combines 2 miles of paved road, 2.5 miles of
dirt road, and 3.5 miles of singletrack. Total climbing is 1400, but 300
feet of this will be on the paved road and 1000 feet is on easy
doubletrack. Peak altitude is 8400 feet.
Normally, I hesitate to recommend any ride that involves substantial
pavement and dirt road, but this really is a nice fun loop. It gets you
onto a section of Ridge 157 that you can't visit via other routes without
substantial pain. You'll see great views of Timpanogos, Mill Canyon,
Tibble Fork Canyon, and the granite peaks of the Snowbird Ridge
surrounding Mineral Basin.
You can bypass about 1/2 mile of the
dirt road with this singletrack that shortcuts between two switchbacks of
the road. Watch for it just after the first hard left turn of the road,
around a mile after leaving pavement.
||Park at the bottom of the Deer Creek South Fork trail, on
the Cascade Springs road. Then bomb down the paved road at lightspeed for
about a mile and a half. Oops. Time to climb. Gravity's Free Lunch must
now be paid for. Just before the top of the ridge, the dirt road forks
uphill on the left. (An alternate spot to park is on the side of the road
at the top of the climb, about 150 yards uphill from the dirt road.)
This is the dirt road to Mill Canyon
Just pretend it's very wide singletrack!
|The climb up the dirt road is mostly middle-chainring, with pretty
views on all sides. Nice training ride...
Just after a short steep section, you'll reach a meadow. The
northbound Ridge 157 singletrack is on
your right. You need to turn left -- south -- on the dirt road
that's a few feet past the singletrack. (Straight ahead
takes you downhill 1/4 mile to Mill Canyon Springs and the Mill Canyon
After 1/2 mile on doubletrack, Ridge 157 (Great Western Trail) forks
off on your right just before a turn-around. (The downhill trail at
the end of the turnaround that drops steeply southeast and connects to the
lower part of the South Fork Trail. This is part of the Middle
157 Expert Loop.)
Beautiful vista after vista, until
you're sick of gorgeous mountain views. Here's (yawn) another in an
endless series of looks at handsome Mount Timpanogos from this trail.
We're on Ridge 157 now, zipping downhill
occasional quick grunt up and over a small hill). Periodically
the forest opens up to views of Timpanogos, Box Elder, Pfeiferhorn, etc.
Jackie emerges from the deep fir forest
meadow of showy goldeneye. This is the easiest direction to do this section of Ridge 157. The uphills are short
that you can stand and attack.
You'll spend a couple of miles southbound on Ridge 157. While this is
mostly downhill, there are some rocky sections and some tricky but short
climbs. Continue to the 4-way intersection with the South Fork and Tibble Fork trails.
Turn left and begin descending some of the sweetest singletrack in Utah.
The Deer Creek South Fork trail is an absolute joy to ride, whether you're
bombing fast and mean, or meandering down while enjoying the beautiful
trees and bushes.
At the bottom of the trail, cross a wooden bridge and climb uphill a
few feet to the paved road. Your parking area is just across the road.
View down the Deer Creek South Fork
trail as we descend. Most of this trail is butter smooth with sweeping
|Counterclockwise loop, riding notes:
0.0 Right downhill on the paved road
N 40° 26.828 W 111° 36.491
2.0 Left on dirt road
N 40° 27.219 W 111° 34.854
2.9 Optional ST on left (goes to next switchback)
N 40° 27.535 W 111° 34.858
3.4 ST rejoins on L
N 40° 27.882 W 111° 34.898
|4.2 Pass R157 on R, turn L on DT
N 40° 28.440 W 111° 35.295
4.8 R on ST (Ridge 157, GWT)
N 40° 28.323 W 111° 35.346
5.8 Keep L (Ignore faint trail downhill R)
N 40° 27.975 W 111° 36.579
6.4 L at 4-way onto South Fork Trail
N 40° 27.544 W 111° 36.861
8.0 Cross road to parking.
|Alternate ride: For a longer ride, continue
past South Fork on Ridge 157. Go all the way to the Alpine Loop summit,
and descend via the southern end of South Fork.
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'.
Head right downhill on the paved road to start the ride.