The Beaver Creek Trail is a fairly easy trail in the
western Uinta Mountains, suitable for beginners. The trailhead is located about 6 miles east of Kamas. Beaver Creek
becomes free of snow in June, but the eastern
portion remains swampy until early July. Starting altitude is 7,100 feet, with about 500
feet elevation gain over the 4.8 mile trail.
View from the trail looking north. Original review
June 1, 1999 by Bruce Argyle with latest
update July 2, 2018.
The trail begins across from the Yellow Pine parking area,
just before you reach the fee station for the Mirror Lake Highway (trailhead GPS N 40°
37.552' W 111° 11.224'). Be sure to pay your recreation fee before turning back to park -- if
your car is parked there, it's assumed you've gone into the fee area.
The trail rolls along where the valley meets the hillside, passing countless
beaver ponds. Here Jackie playing alongside a pond amid balsamroot and yellow fawn lilies.
Photo from my original trail review June 1, 1999.
The broad, round-bottom valley is the work of a glacier that originated
higher up near the headwaters of the Provo River. From 1 million to about 10,000
years ago, the Uinta Mountain area was covered with massive glaciers. The
action of the glaciers is responsible for the rounded valleys and multiple lakes
seen in the higher Uintas.
Climbing the hillside above the many beaver ponds.
Most of the trail is easy hard-packed dirt, perfect for a first-time
alpine bike ride. Except for a not-to-tough hill right at the beginning, the trail is
fairly flat. More technical ATV trails, such as the Cedar Loop trail, head uphill at several
locations along the Beaver Creek Trail.
Handlebar view looking east. We're just past the
Shingle Creek campground.
From the western end, the trail starts as a
broad singletrack for about a mile before joining the ATV route. There's
around 1/3 mile on gravel campground road at Shingle Creek. Then after the Shingle Creek
Campground, the trail narrows to true singletrack.
Single-track portion of the trail
just beyond Shingle Creek.
A good spot to turn around is where the Pine Valley Trail forks off to the right
at GPS N 40° 35.920' W 111° 07.217'. Or you can take a spin out-and-back
If you drop 1/4 mile downhill on the Beaver Creek trail, you'll cross a
wide rocky creek-bed before climbing to the Pine Valley group campground.
There's little reason to do this unless you want a longer ride. You can link up with the beginning-level North Fork Scenic Byway Trail
from the campground and pedal to the nature trail and scenic overlook
along the Provo River.
Heading back downhill, westbound.
Left: Yellow Fawn Lillies along the trail, appear soon after the snow
recedes. Also called trout lily, glacier lily, adder's tongue, and dogtooth violet, these
delicate flowers are around 5 inches high.
Right above: Beavers hard at work just before our
arrival felled this quaking aspen. The leaves on the branches are still crisp.
The Pine Valley trail
The Pine Valley trail is 2.9 miles long, extending south from the
Beaver Creek trail just west of the Pine Valley campground. It ends on the
Cedar Hollow dirt road above the Provo River. The trail can be used to
connect through from the Mirror Lake Highway 150 to the South Fork Highway
Heading through a meadow southbound.
The trail is singletrack, rising slightly as
it heads southbound. If you're heading for highway 35, there will be a
final downhill on dirt road. If you're doing an out-and-back, stop at the
ride's high point at mile 3.8. Take in the view, then turn around.
east over the flat plain around the Provo River.
During my 2018 ride, there was a huge amount of deadfall.
Not just "step-over" deadfall but "bushwhack 100 feet off
the trail to get around 3 big pines" deadfall. But the trail is nice,
the views are pretty, and it makes a nice add-on to the Beaver Creek
The terrain is a mix of conifer and aspen, with
frequent small meadows.
Out-and-back from Yellow
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Getting there: In Kamas, turn east towards the mountains
on the well-marked Mirror Lake Highway. Drive 6 miles to the fee station, then backtrack
1/4 mile to the parking area for the trail (GPS N 40° 37.552' W 111° 11.224'). Or you
can catch the trail at the second Shingle Creek Campground entrance (GPS N 40° 36.852' W
111° 07.800'). As an out-and-back from the lower trailhead, you'll cover 9.6 miles.