||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)
|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
Looking back as we leave the Heber
||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
|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
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
Near the top, long
stretches of aspen forest with occasional maples.
|Sample ride: Clockwise from the Highway 32 (Riverview)
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
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.
This is an epic loop with great riding and great views. You'll want to do
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
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.
(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
(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