Repairing or upgrading your bike! Look for items on UMB site Discussion board for bike fanatics! Visit the UMB store!
Css Menu Javascript by Vista-Buttons.com v4.3.0
Coyote Canyon Loop

The Coyote Canyon Loop lies northeast of Heber. It's a big ride that's best reserved for conditioned riders. Much of the trail is easier-intermediate technical, but there are many tight turns and a few rock gardens that will challenge skilled riders.

Above: 165-degree west panoramic view from the top.
Left:  A rider climbs away from the Riverview Trailhead on the Coyote Loop. Photos and ride description by Bruce on June 1, 2013.

The last section of this loop was finished and the UVU trailhead to the Riverside (Sorensen) Trail was opened in June 2013. This loop is destined to be a classic ride that will draw riders from around the state. I'm adding it to the Must-Ride list. Kudos go to the Wasatch Trails Alliance, with thanks to UVU and the Sorensen family for providing access to private lands.

UVU trailhead with equestrian-scraper. It's 1.5 miles uphill from here to the loop.

The shortest version of this ride, starting from the Highway 32 (Riverview) trailhead, is 20.2 miles. A longer version from the UVU campus and including the lower portion of Coyote is 24.2 miles. (GPS tracks are provided below for both of these rides.) Conditioned riders should allow at least 4 hours.

The loop can be ridden in either direction. The Wasatch Back 50 race uses the clockwise direction. I encountered locals riding counterclockwise -- possibly because the first-built sections of the upper trail came from the south end.

Northbound on the Riverview (Sorensen) trail.

Starting altitude at the UVU campus is 5800 feet. (The Creekview trailhead is slightly higher at 6000.) Depending on the version of the loop you select, climbing will be between 2700 and 2900 vertical feet. Top altitude is 7550 feet on the ridgeline above Coyote Canyon.

Looking southwest over the Heber Valley as we start climbing up and away from Riverview. That's Cascade Mountain on the left; Timpanogos on the right.

Climbs are prolonged but at a fun and reasonable grade. Despite the steepness of the slopes, the gentle grade is possible because of the multiple switchbacks, climbing turns, and hairpins. As of June 2013, some of the tighter switchbacks on the upper mountain don't have good lines yet. Expect to wash out the front tire occasionally.

Heading uphill and northeast. Sage with frequent small stands of gambel oak.

The terrain is mounded and occasionally steep mountainside. Open areas of sage provide plenty of spots to appreciate the views. On the western and southern exposures, small groves of gambel oak punctuate the trail. 

Looking back as we leave the Heber Valley.

On the northern exposures and the top of the mountain, deep groves of maple and aspen provide cool shady riding. These areas will stay damp until late May. Early-season riders should stick to the exposed slopes of the Riverview trail and the "bookend" parts of Coyote at the north and south ends of Riverview.

We're beginning to see parts of Jordanelle to the north as we descend from the first ridgeline toward the sheep camp.

On the western and southern sides, outcrops of conglomerate and granite put a little rock under the tires and make the views interesting. At the top you'll find a few rock gardens made of rounded granite boulders.

Fresh trail meandering through groves of aspen on the north end of the mountain. We're ready to start climbing for real now.

Over most of the ride, you'll be able to see great views to the west over the Heber Valley and Deer Creek Reservoir. Cascade Mountain and Mount Timpanogos crowd the little notch that is Provo Canyon.

You'll also have great views of ewes and their lambs. This is private land grazed by herds of sheep. Spooking them is bad form.

Looking back at US 40 and Jordanelle as we climb higher on the mountain.

On the north side, you'll watch the Jordanelle Reservoir along US 40 retreat as you climb higher. On the south end of the ridge are the best views of the ride, with the peaks of the Uintahs to the northeast and the Heber Valley and mountains of the Wasatch Front to the west.

Temperatures are cooler here, with chokecherry and currant dominating the open spaces.

There are four access points to the loop:
(1) Coyote Trailhead. Located at the south end on Coyote Lane, this is used frequently by locals, but is harder for outsiders to navigate.
(2) UVU Wasatch Campus Trailhead. At the uppermost level of parking behind the UVU buildings, look for the duck-under and kiosk. A singletrack trail climbs 1.5 miles to the Riverview Trail.
(3) Riverview Trailhead. Park along Highway 32, one mile uphill from US-40. 1/4 mile up the Riverview trail is the fork that starts the loop.
(4) 32 Trail. As of 2013, there's no formal trailhead here. You can park along the road and clamber over the fence near the (locked) gate. Ride uphill on doubletrack and find the singletrack on your left about 100 yards uphill. You'll reach the fork that starts the loop 1/2 mile from the highway.

Near the top, long stretches of aspen forest with occasional maples.

Sample ride: Clockwise from the Highway 32 (Riverview) trailhead

Park on the right side of Highway 32 at the Riverview trailhead. Cross the fence at the stairs and ride 1/4 mile to the trail fork. Stay left and keep climbing. After crossing the ridge on the north end, you'll descend slightly to a sheep camp. Cross the dirt road at mile 4.5. About 100 yards later, fork right and start climbing uphill. (The left fork takes you down to Highway 32.)

Looking toward the Cottonwood Canyons with Deer Valley on the right.

You'll now begin two miles of sustained climbing through groves of maple and aspen. You'll gain about 1500 feet. There will be some views here. Around mile 6.5, the trail heads south through aspen forest with an imperceptible uphill grade.

Around mile 9.5, you reach the ride's highest point at 7550 feet. As you descend into a sage-covered saddle, there are views in every direction.

View west from the top ridgeline.

The peaks of Big and Little Cottonwood are to the northwest; the Uintahs are to the northeast; and Timpanogos is to your west. Stop here and take in the sights.

Immediately after the view, you'll begin dropping off the southern end of the mountain. There will be a few rock gardens along the ridge before you begin dropping down the steep side-slope.

View northeast toward the quartzite peaks of the Uintah Mountains.

The mountain gets steep here, although the trail is not. Prepare for seemingly endless switchbacks. The hairpin turns seem a bit more hairy here. Many of these turns "go flat" quickly with no run-out. Good handling skills are required.

Nothing special, just a typical hairpin turn on the descent of the south side.

As you near the less-steep slopes of the lower mountain, you'll reach a trail fork at mile 14.9. Go right to take the Riverview Trail northbound. (Left drops you another mile down to Coyote Lane near the trailhead, and you'll have to climb 1/2 mile up the steep gravel road to get back.)

Getting a little lower, with a temporary reprieve from the many switchbacks.

At the gravel road at mile 15.1, jog downhill 40 feet and turn right onto singletrack. You're now on the home stretch. Climb gently uphill on the Riverside (Sorensen) trail. At mile 16.9, keep straight (right) as connector from the UVU campus joins from downhill.

Looking northeast. The trail passes under the outcrop in the middle of the photo.

At mile 18.7, keep right. The short trail on the left goes to a viewpoint. At mile 20.0, you're back at the first trail fork. Turn left and descend to parking.

Bottom Line:
This is an epic loop with great riding and great views. You'll want to do this ride.

Almost done. Looking west.

Riding guide, clockwise from Riverview TH:
0.0   Trail at downhill end of parking
        N40 34.404 W111 25.215
        Take stairs over fence
0.2   Keep L (R = return)
        N40 34.430 W111 25.062
4      First ridgeline
4.5   Cross DT N40 35.353 W111 23.617
4.55 Fork R (L = to highway 32)
        N40 35.329 W111 23.601
9.5   Highest point
14.9 R to Riverview Tr
        N40 32.361 W111 23.402
        L = descend for longer ride
15.1 Downhill 50 feet on road
        N40 32.544 W111 23.380
        R on ST N40 32.539 W111 23.397
16.9 Stay R uphill (L = to UVU TH)
        N40 33.210 W111 24.242
18.7 Fork R (L = view)
        N40 33.705 W111 25.007
20.0 Fork L (finish loop)
        N40 34.430 W111 25.062
20.2 Back at parking
Getting there, Riverview Trailhead:
From Salt Lake, take I-80 eastbound to Silver Creek Junction (just past Park City). Go south on US-40, past the Jordanelle reservoir and descend past the dam. At the traffic light at mile 14.2 from I-80, turn left on 32 and climb 1.1 miles. When you see the second entry into Riverview on your left, note the gravel parking area on your right N40 34.403 W111 25.214. That's your spot.
From Utah County, drive up Provo Canyon to Heber. At the traffic light on US-189/US-40, turn left and drive north through Heber. 4.7 miles from the intersection, turn right on Highway 32 and climb 1.1 miles to the parking area as above.

Alternate trailheads:
(1) Coyote Trailhead. Two miles south of the junction of Highway 40 and 32, turn east (toward the mountain) on Coyote Lane. Find the trailhead on doubletrack around N40 31.88 W111 24.18 and head uphill and across the canal on gravel road.
(2) UVU Wasatch Campus Trailhead. One mile south of the junction of Highway 40 and 32, turn east (toward the mountain) at the UVU campus. At the uppermost level of parking behind the UVU buildings, look for the duck-under and kiosk N40 32.798 W111 24.735. A singletrack trail climbs 1.5 miles to the Riverview Trail.
(3) 32. As of 2013, there's no formal trailhead here. Drive up Highway 32 four miles. Look for a gravel road on the right side N40 35.430 W111 23.389. You can park along the road and clamber over the fence near the (locked) gate. Ride uphill on doubletrack and find the singletrack on your left about 100 yards uphill. You'll reach the fork that starts the loop 1/2 mile from the highway.

Riding resources:
Single-page, printable trail guide
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
    Short loop from Riverview (20 mi)
    Longer loop from UVU (24 mi)
    Multi-track GPX area master file
    Sorenson only GPX   Riverview to 32
    32 to Coyote TH   WB50 track
Maps for printing:   H-Res topo map 
   Satellite view WB50 race loop
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to area resources

Bathrooms:  No public restrooms nearby.
Water:  Gas stations in Heber, campgrounds.
Camping:  Hailstone campground at Jordanelle on US-40, about 6 miles away.
Bike services:  Slim and Knobby's bike shop, Heber

Copyright 2013 UtahMountainBiking.com