||Ben Lomond Trail
This is a six-mile climb (or descent) up the east side of Ben Lomond,
rising 3000 feet. That's about a 10% average rate of climb, folks. Add the
narrowness of the trail, some areas with loose rock, and a bit of brush
overgrowth, and you've got a ride that's only for strong skilled bikers.
It's a beautiful ride with great views. It can be done as an out-and-back,
or as part of a shuttled ride or loop ride that includes the Northern
Skyline trail. An alternative ride that reaches the top of Ben Lomond
Peak (and connects to this trail) is Willard
Dominc Bria climbs through
shoulder-high ferns among the aspens as he ascends the Ben Lomond Trail.
Photo by Bruce, August 28, 2008.
|As an out-and-back, it's 12.2 miles round trip. In 2008,
protruding snowberry and currant bushes slashed our legs until our shins
were a mass of red sores. Check with the local bike shop for current
trail-grooming conditions, but you might consider shin guards if you value
beautiful legs. There are also a few spots of overgrown chokecherry where
horses have burst out the trail. These areas are short, but until the
trail sees some loving care, plan to hike through these spots.
Dom climbs through the forest of maple
and aspen early in the ride.
||Climbing from the bottom, keep straight (right) at the first
fork. The first two miles are so-so riding, with a fairly stiff grade and
frequent stretches of churned loose rock courtesy of horses.
In the second two miles, the bushes close in and begin to attack your
shins. Watch for twigs in the derailleur and in your spokes. A few spots
with shrubby small trees require you to dismount, put your head down, and
push the bike through dense branches. These spots also tend to have
trail-bursts as horses have flailed through.
Two miles into the climb, Dom cranks
away from a switchback overlooking the rock outcrop.
|The ugly middle section of
the ride. Soft fluff with holes
excavated by horse-hooves, overgrown elderberry and
choke cherry. Fortunately, these spots are short.
|Blackeyed Susans give way
to snowberry sticking
out into the trail. There's about 8-12 inches of space
to ride here, and it's a bit scratchy!
|As you reach the upper two miles, the trail opens up. This
is very beautiful alpine scenery. The climbing grade also lessens in the
top two miles, so you can pedal along in the thin air and enjoy looking
About a mile from the top (mile 5.1), you'll reach the Cutler Spring
trail. Turn left here. The Cutler Spring trail goes straight ahead, around
the ravine to the opposite side, and it looks nice, but it turns ugly and
it won't get you where you need to go. At the ridge top, you reach the
Northern Skyline trail. Right will take you toward Inspiration Point or up
the final slope of Ben Lomond Peak (don't bother trying to bike up). Left
takes you down the Northern Skyline to the North Ogden Divide.
The final two miles are the best, as
the trail gets less steep and the scenery is awesome.
||Most riders doing a point-to-point or loop ride will climb
the Northern Skyline and descend Ben Lomond. The Northern Skyline climb is
a highway compared to Ben Lomond. From the North Ogden Divide, it's 2500
vertical up the Northern Skyline, then 3000 feet descent to North Fork
Park, with a total distance of 12.6 miles.
For a loop ride, you'll have some climbing
on the road in either direction. So pick your trailhead depending on
whether you want the road-climb at the end, or at the start of your ride.
And decide whether you want more of your climbing on the road, or less.
And on whether you want the harder singletrack on the uphill or the
Dom arrives at top as the Ben Lomond
trail joins the Northern Skyline.
|The loop ride is 19.3 miles: 6.1 for Ben Lomond, 6.5
Northern Skyline, and 6.7 on the road. Total vertical is 3500, with the
low point on the paved road at 5200 feet elevation. Clockwise, there's
1000 feet of paved-road climbing, then 2500 up the Northern Skyline.
Counterclockwise, you only suffer 500 feet of paved-road climbing, then
3000 on singletrack. The descent on the counterclockwise loop is
blistering. I hit 24 mph on the singletrack and 49 mph on pavement coming
down from the North Ogden Divide.
View west up Ben Lomond from the
intersection of the Northern Skyline and Ben Lomond trails.
|Getting there, Ben Lomond trailhead: Go up
Ogden Canyon. (From the north on I-15, take the 12th South Ogden exit and
head east on Highway 39. From the south, exit I-15 on US 89. Pass I-84 and
climb up the hill, then turn right on Harrison Blvd. Continue on Harrison
until you hit U-39 and turn R toward Ogden Canyon.) Turn left across the
dam at Pineview Reservoir. At the stop sign in Eden, turn left. Turn left
at the stop sign in Liberty. After about 1/4 mile, take the next right.
Turn left toward North Fork Park just after you cross the river. Turn left
again at the North Fork Park sign. Turn left toward the stables, then keep
generally straight until you see parking and a metal horse corral on your
right. Park just north of the horse corral, and you'll see the trailhead
Getting there, for loop starting at North Ogden Divide: From the Ogden 12th Street exit, drive
east (towards the mountains). At 400 East (Washington), turn left (north)
and drive 5 miles. After the street narrows, veers slightly east, and
enters a residential area, turn right (east) at 3100 North. Drive 4.1
miles to the parking area on your right, at the highest spot of the North
Ogden Divide. The trail begins right across the road from the turn-in to
the parking area. Alternate, via Ogden Valley: Drive straight into Ogden Canyon from the 12th Street exit.
At Pineview Reservoir, turn left across the dam. At the stop sign in Eden
(shopping center and gas station), turn left. Turn left again at the
stop sign in Liberty, then go straight west until the road begins climbing
up to the Divide.