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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 narrow singletrack.

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 Parley's Summit.

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.
Ride Notes:
0.0   Head east past gate, doubletrack
        N 40 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 Western
        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 hilltop
4.5   Crest of hill, see Parley's Summit
        N 40 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'

Riding resources:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track file (right-click and select "Save Target as..."):
     Garmin MPS     GPX
Topo map for printing:  View
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to NE SLC resources


Copyright 2002 Mad Scientist Software Inc