View uphill from Alexander Spring,
about two miles from the start of the trail. Photos August 2002 by Bruce.
|Alexander Creek (Parley's Summit)
Alexander Creek is a little-known trail that climbs from U-65 just past the Little Dell I-80 exit up to Parley's Summit. This is a
singletrack hill climb with substantial altitude gain (over 1500 feet),
but fairly easy technically. True rock-and-root junkies may find this
trail boring, but it's a good workout and a worthwhile singletrack ride for
strong beginning riders. To the crest of the hill just west of Parley's
Summit is 4.5 miles, for a 9-mile round trip.
|Starting out just west of the golf course, the trail quickly
ducks behind a mountain. So you can't hear or see the traffic on I-80
until you arrive at Parley's Summit. Starting out, you're riding along
Alexander Creek, with gentle altitude gain during the first 2 miles.
The upper three miles of the trail lie on top of a natural gas pipeline,
so it's very straight, and there aren't any roots or trees to dodge on
this portion. This area gets a little steeper, with just under 500
vertical feet rise per mile.
Typical handlebar view on the lower
half of the trail, with hawthorn trees, choke cherry, and grasses along
||Along the creek, there are hawthorne, cottonwood, quaking
aspen, willow, maple, oak, and a few douglas fir. As you rise in altitude,
the terrain becomes more dry, giving way to gambel oak and brush.
Once the trail begins to follow the pipeline, you're riding in crested
wheat grass -- a long skinny artificial meadow in the gambel oak near
Near the top, we see the Mill Creek
Ridge on our south side. Soon, we'll see Parley's Summit in front of us.
|You can use this trail to connect to (or return from) the
Great Western: Just before the Parley's Summit I-80 exit, the pipeline
clearing intersects a doubletrack. Turn left and climb steeply to the
microwave towers. Go around the tower complex to the left, and go
northwest. This takes you toward Big Mountain Pass (At the last switchback
before the tower complex, a singletrack heads east past a fence. This
takes you down to Jeremy Ranch.)
Just a hint of fall colors appears in
the maples, spaced among the gambel oak. In this area, the trail sits on
top of the pipeline clearing.
|To connect directly to Jeremy Ranch, head east on the paved road from
the exit, about 0.2 mile, and find a singletrack on your right.
0.0 Head east past gate, doubletrack
45.336' W 111° 42.590' Alt=5575 ft
0.8 Trail becomes singletrack
2.0 Fork at pipeline, keep R (east)
L (west) = return from Great
N 40° 45.638' W 111°
40.435' Alt=6000 ft
Follow clearing of pipeline
3.6 Keep L. ST forks R (goes over ridge to Lamb's
Canyon -- option of loop back south of
golf course along I-80)
N 40° 45.037' W 111°
39.007' Alt=6750 ft
3.95 ATV trail on R (goes to archery range)
4.0 Keep slightly L, rejoin pipeline at
4.5 Crest of hill, see Parley's Summit
45.091' W 111° 38.077' Alt=7110 ft
(Good turnaround point)
5.3 Arrive at Parley's Summit Exit
Photo above: Along Alexander Creek, a beaver's house sits
in the middle of a beaver pond.
|Getting there: On I-80 in Parley's Canyon, take
the Little Dell Recreation Area exit (East Canyon, U-65). Turn north
towards the golf course. Drive about 0.1 mile. On your right, spot a gate
on a doubletrack, just past a ravine and before the first hill. This
doubletrack is the beginning of the trail. There's a wide spot on the
right for parking. N 40° 45.336' W 111° 42.590'
Copyright 2002 Mad Scientist Software Inc