||Bennie Creek Cutoff Trail
The Bennie Creek Cutoff Trail is an awesome downhill romp. There
are a few tricky spots requiring advanced riding skills. But the typical
intermediate rider will have a great time, dismounting to walk the bike
over these few rock or root tricks.
View from the Bennie Creek ridge,
looking southwest towards the Rock Spring area. Photos by Bruce,
September 27, 2002.
NOTE! This trail
is now open for riding as of August 15, 2019.
closed due to damage from the big fire (and subsequent flooding and
mudslides) of 2018.
As a short loop, there's 1500 vertical
of climbing: 1400 on road, 100 on the trail. The loop is 8.1 miles, with
4.4 on pavement. You can lengthen the ride by starting from the ridge above
the Blackhawk Campground (7 miles of singletrack, 1700 vertical descent).
After the initial one-mile descent from the ridge, the ride rocks up and
down for 3 miles before dropping down Bennie Creek. This is my favorite --
as a loop. Road portion = 6.7
Another option is to ride from the campground itself. This gives about
5 miles of up-and-down singletrack riding without any net elevation change
before the big 2.5-mile plunge down Bennie Creek. (Road portion = 9.4
miles.) For these longer versions, most riders use a shuttle vehicle for
the uphill road portion.
crisp fall temperatures, beautiful colors. Full-suspension bike with six
inches of travel, big tires and disc brakes, ready to take the plunge down
the trail. Can life get any better? (Hint: the answer is no.)
||The ride is mostly in forest of aspen, maple, and fir.
You'll break out into meadows with views of surrounding mountains,
including Mt. Nebo. In September, this area is famous for the color
of the leaves. But it's a pretty ride anytime.
The trail wanders in and out of groves
of trees, through small meadows. Here, we're looking west, during a break
in the descent.
|If you do the longer ride using the Blackhawk Trail, you'll
encounter a couple of swampy spring areas. Don't try to ride through these
spots -- lift up your bike and pick your way through or around.
Another look down the trail. We're at
the fork where the Bennie Creek trail plunges downhill from the Loafer
Mountain Trail. (The Loafer Mountain Trail is a fun technical descent, but
it's a real bugger to climb after the first 1-1/2 miles. Nobody rides it
except lunatic explorers like me. But if you wanna go play, be my guest.)
||Ride Notes, Long Loop:
0.0 Start from the pullout (near Maple Dell) N 39° 57.126' W 111° 40.480'
7.5 Turn left onto Blackhawk Campground Rd
7.7 Just past the turnout (R), go L on ST
N 39° 54.541' W 111° 38.348'
Alt = 8400
9.0 Join Blackhawk Loop, in from R N 39° 55.147' W 111° 37.617'
9.3 Fork R (straight) (L = up to road) N 39° 55.410' W 111° 37.574'
11.4 Gate, fork R (L = up to road) N 39° 56.497' W 111° 38.499'
12.2 At corral, keep L (R = downhill to Bennie Creek Road)
N 39° 57.122' W 111° 38.454'
12.3 Fork L (R = Loafer Mountain) N 39° 57.190' W 111° 38.534'
14.9 Back at vehicle
Jackie's a little
pooped after racing at 20 mph behind the bike, down the 2-1/2 miles of
|Ride Notes, Short Loop:
0.0 Start from the pullout (near Maple Dell)
N 39° 57.126' W 111° 40.480' Alt =
4.4 Turn off road onto Loafer Mountain Trail
N 39° 56.598' W 111° 38.515'
4.6 Fork L (R through gate = to Blackhawk Trail)
N 39° 56.497' W 111° 38.499'
5.4 At corral, keep L (R = downhill to Bennie Creek Road)
N 39° 57.122' W 111° 38.454'
5.5 Fork L (R = Loafer Mountain)
N 39° 57.190' W 111° 38.534'
6.3 Faint trail in from L, keep straight and slightly uphill
8.1 Back at vehicle
|Above right: The Blackhawk Trail, from the campground or from the
road, adds some great up-and-down meandering riding to the Bennie Creek
Loop or shuttle parking: Going south, take the Payson exit
I-15 and turn left. Head into Payson on U-115 to the traffic light, then turn left (100
North, U-198). About 1/3 mile later, at the top of a small hill, turn right at 600 East.
Drive up the Nebo Loop Road. Look for
a small turnout on the left at mile 7.3, with a sign "Bennie Creek
Cutoff Trail." If you're doing a shuttle, this is the trail's end. GPS N 39°
57.126' W 111° 40.480'. If you're doing the loop, park and start riding
uphill on the road.
Loafer Mountain TH: At mile 11.7, there's a small turnout on your left at GPS N 39°
56.598' W 111° 38.515', with a sign "Loafer Mountain Trail."
This is the trailhead for the short loop.
|Blackhawk add-on: At mile 14, you reach the fork to Blackhawk Campground. Turn left.
About 1/10 mile down the road, there's a turnout on the right. You want
the trailhead across the road, slightly downhill -- not the trail heading
directly west from the parking area. GPS N 39° 54.542' W 111° 38.373'.
The second trailhead is in the campground, 2.5 miles further. (Note! If
you park in the campground or picnic area, it's a fee area. You
gotta pay da man.) Keep left,
going into the group picnic area. The trailhead is on the left corner of a
small parking area, just before the loop around the bathroom. GPS N 39°
53.568' W 111° 37.203'