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Beaver Creek Trail
with Pine Valley

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.

Jackie plays along a beaver pond

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 on Pine Valley.

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.

 

Yellow fawn lily

 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.

What's the fine for cutting down a tree if you're NOT a beaver?

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 35.

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.

Looking 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 trail.

The terrain is a mix of conifer and aspen, with frequent small meadows.

 Out-and-back from Yellow Pine...

 If the above video does not appear on your browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

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.

A family of moose eyeball the biker suspiciously.

Beaver Creek Trail Map

One-page printable riding guide
GPS track file for this trail (right-click and "Save as...")::
    GPX 
High-res topo for printing:   View
Lodging, camping, shops:  Links to area resources

Copyright 1999 Mad Scientist Software Inc. Updated 2018.