Dark Hollow Trail
The Dark Hollow Trail is an advanced-technical downhill romp
that begins on Brian Head Peak. Trailhead elevation is 11,300 (11,000 if
you start from the shuttle parking area rather than the peak).
View from Brian Head Peak, looking
south towards Cedar Breaks. Photos July 27, 2001 by Bruce
|The "vertical mile" route descends
5,300 feet to Parowan. But to avoid riding on the highway, most riders
park their shuttle vehicle at the mouth of Second Left-hand Canyon at 6600
feet altitude. Length of the combined singletrack and doubletrack to the highway is
12 miles. Add 4 miles of paved road if you're going into Parowan.
Brian Head Peak is light-colored soft volcanic rock, deposited
during last 20 million years. The bright pink cliffs of Cedar Breaks are formed
of Claron-formation limestone from about 40 million years ago during the
Tertiary Era. This limestone was deposited at the bottom of a large fresh-water
lake, before the plateau area was uplifted away from the valleys of the Great
Basin. After a couple of miles on the surface volcanic deposit, you'll drop
through an area of intrusive igneous rock (granite), before cruising through
pink dirt of the Claron formation.
|The trail begins on Brian Head Peak.
This first 1.5 miles is fairly easy riding, but can be cool and exposed to wind.
At the fork, you turn left, while Bunker Creek is
straight ahead and Lowder Ponds is to your right.
As you drop down Dark Hollow, the trail becomes
steep and rough with
embedded rocks. Much of the time, those rocks are covered with loose dirt. These sections aren't very
long, but they can be challenging. Intermediate riders may want to walk
some of the more difficult sections of downhill.
Bruce rolls over a rise in the ridge
at 11,000 feet.
||The trail is easy to follow, with signs at every trail intersection. The only
spot that wasn't marked was the intersection of the singletrack with the Second
Left-hand Canyon road. (Just remember you're going downhill -- turn left at the
road. But if you want to go uphill to Yankee Meadows Reservoir, you can go down
First Left-hand Canyon to the highway from there. It adds about 2 miles.)
||The trail enters forest of spruce and aspen. It also becomes
easier to ride, but with an occasional tricky section. When the trail goes
while without rain, it gets sloppy, and small rocks in the soil act like ball-bearings
under your tires on the turns.
Although only the first section is exposed to high-altitude sun and
wind, you'd be in trouble if you broke down here. So pack rain gear and a
The trail winds through aspen forest,
near the fork of the Scout Camp Loop.
|After 6 miles, you'll leave the singletrack and turn left on the Second Left-hand
Canyon road. Here, you'll coast another 6 miles down to the highway. The
trees change from spruce and aspen to juniper, fir, pinion, and box elder.
it's almost all downhill, this trail is easy aerobic. But the jarring
downhill sections will work your arms and upper body. Wear gloves to
prevent hand blisters.
Rolling down the doubletrack at 30
mph. The last 6 miles may only take about 15 minutes.
||Shuttle service is available from the bike shops at Brian Head. Cost
per rider (summer 2008) is $20. I used the Bike Park (Giant Steps)
shuttle, and got one free ride on the chairlift with the shuttle fee.
Getting there: Leave your shuttle car on U-143,
anywhere below Second Left-hand Canyon (the canyon is up the second gravel
road on the left after entering the canyon). GPS of the intersection of
U-143 with the trail is N 37° 47.931' W 112° 49.350'. On U-143, head up
the canyon from Brian Head to the summit. Just 1/4 mile past the summit
sign, turn left on a gravel road (GPS N 37° 40.136' W 112° 50.350').
Drive 2.5 miles to the peak of the mountain to start your ride. GPS is GPS
N 37° 40.904' W 112° 49.827'. (Note the parking area to your left at 1.8
miles. Once you start riding, you'll turn onto the singletrack across the
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