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Eagle Point Trails
Monarch Mountain Loop, Eagle Egress

The Eagle Point Ski Resort at the top of Beaver Canyon has a couple of short bike trails with beautiful scenery. Built in 2013 to be ready for the 2014 season, the trails are fun and well-built. The only complaint is, well, the riding was so nice I wanted more. But it's a nice diversion from the low-land heat -- and if you're heading north on I-15, it's your last biking singletrack for 130 miles. I rode everything a couple of times in both directions. It was worthwhile.

View of Lake Peak to the east of the Monarch Mountain Loop. Photos and review by Bruce on August 7, 2014.

For you Utah old-timers, Eagle Point was formerly Mount Holly then became Elk Meadows. There's a general store and lodge on Highway 153 (a mile downhill from the upper lodge and 1/4 mile from the bottom of the Eagle Egress trail). The rides start from the upper Skyline Lodge on the slopes of Mount Holly, 19 miles up Beaver Canyon.

The lodge parking is at 10,300 feet altitude, and the riding will take you to 10,500. Because of the altitude, the riding season here is short: July through September.

All alone in a giant parking lot on a beautiful summer's day. 10:30 a.m., 62 degrees in the shade. Perfect biking weather. Here's where you need to pedal to find your ride.

The Monarch Mountain Loop takes you up to the edge of the tree line. This loop is 3.2 miles with 400 vertical feet of climbing, topping out at 10,500 feet. You can ride it either direction. Riding is easier-intermediate, but the altitude will affect your climbing.

The Eagle Egress Trail is a 1.7-mile downhill-preferred trail that extends from the lodge down to the road near the highway, with 300 vertical feet of descent. This also would be an easier-intermediate trail.

Typical trail view on a traverse. Once you're on the singletrack, the altitude shouldn't bother you much. The climbing is gentle and interrupted by flattish traverses.

  
Monarch Mountain Loop
The Monarch Mountain Loop starts northeast of the lodge -- actually between the lodge and the log fence east of the parking lot. There were no trail markings near the lodge itself. I had to explore a bit to find the trail. Signs may appear by the time you visit, but pay attention to the ride instruction so you don't waste time hunting for the trail.

Going counterclockwise, we've descended a bit on the lift road to find the first trail sign. (Couldn't follow tire tracks because the area had just finished a week of very heavy rains.)

It's probably best to make your first ride counter-clockwise, because you'll have less chance of blundering off into the woods at the bottom of the loop.

From the parking lot, ride straight east-southeast (the direction you're facing as you pass between the fence and the lodge). Descend gently down a ski slope. Watch for the "Broad Street" trail sign with a little blue "Monarch" sign and veer right. Follow this around a semi-circle path of narrow ski slope, then keep straight when it reaches a meadow. Traverse over to the lift road (the same one you were on when you forked to Broad Street) and descend to just in front of the lift.

We've exited Broad Street. We'll head for that lift road and descend under the ski lift at the bottom of the little canyon.

Now veer to the left, following the doubletrack around the trees. Don't go below the lift -- you're heading up the draw to the left of the lift (again, no signs). You've dropped almost 200 vertical feet. (And it will be a tad unpleasant to climb back up those rough chunks on the lift road when you ride it clockwise.)

Get off the doubletrack just before it gets steeper. Watch for the trail on your left. It's easy to miss.

Now begin climbing up the straight double-track. After 0.4 miles of climbing, watch for a singletrack forking sharply on your left. It was marked by a blue sign on a log, almost invisible in the shadows as I looked uphill on the doubletrack.

Nice riding. Like butter.

The trail will now meander back and forth as it climbs the mountain. It will occasionally cross ski slopes and give you a view. Much of the riding is in aspen and fir forest.

Turns are a bit tighter and flatter than I wanted them to be -- easy to turn uphill when at a slow pace, but not at speed. And on the downhill it required a big drop in speed to navigate them.

View east down Beaver Canyon.

The top of the loop is at the upper end of the Monarch ski lift. Pass to the left of the lift. Drop 100 feet down the lift road before taking a sharp 150-degree turn onto singletrack.

Top of the loop, viewed as we're riding counterclockwise. Head just to the left of the lift and look downhill 100 feet for the singletrack.

I liked the singletrack better in the clockwise direction (the opposite of this description), as the turns seemed to work better. This, however, is counterbalanced by having to climb up the chunky granite of a steepish lift road from the bottom of the loop. And that's not my favorite thing.

But absolutely, try the loop in both directions.

To ride the loop clockwise, ride north inside the fence on dirt road. Near the end of the fence, find a singletrack angling off to the northeast. Once you find it, the rest is easy -- until you hit the bottom of the Monarch lift. But if you're confused, just remember you can climb straight up the lift road all the way to the lodge.

Lupine.

 
Eagle Egress downhill-preferred trail
The Eagle Egress trail starts behind the lodge. Go inside the log fence. Ride south (to your right) past the lodge building, then turn to the right and go directly UNDER the deck of the lodge. At the far end of the deck, you'll see that you're now on singletrack heading west.

View as we leave the shadow of the lodge deck. We're looking northwest.

The trail will make a long traverse around the hill, following the general arc of the paved road (but out of sight). Once you get all the way around the hill, the trail will start to wiggle back and forth.

Hitting a well-bermed turn in the fir trees.

The trail repeated crosses two ski slopes. One has the Elk Meadows ski lift. (Once again, this trail has the potential for lift-served biking, going from lift-top to lift-bottom.) 

View down the Elk Meadows ski slope. We'll cross it a few times.

Most of the trail is very smooth dirt. There was only one rock-garden section, and it was easy enough that just about any rider could bounce through. Turns have high berms that allow for railing at speed. (They also make nice high-speed climbing turns should you be lucky enough to be all alone on the mountain on a weekday. After all, it says "downhill preferred" not "uphill prohibited.")

Lots of TLC went into these turns. Very nice.

The trail ends near the lift bottom at a spot of road-side parking.

If there are other riders on the mountain, be a mensch and don't try to ride uphill on the trail. Either shuttle the ride or climb back uphill on the pavement. It's less than a mile back to the top on the road.

Getting there:  From I-15 (whether northbound or southbound) take the first Beaver exit. Follow the road from the exit until it becomes the main drag of Beaver. Turn east (toward the mountains) at 200 North -- Highway 153. Drive up Beaver Canyon 19 miles as your altitude goes from 5600 to 10,000 feet. Keep straight as you pass the road to the first lodge and store on your right. Turn left on the next paved road to your left, signed Skyline Lodge. Drive north 1 mile on this road, which ends at the Skyline Lodge parking lot. Go to the entry through the log fence next to the lodge to start the ride.

Bike services and rental:  ?
Water and supplies:  General store off 153, 1.3 miles away
Bathrooms: 2014 = porta-potties east of parking
Camping:  Fishlake National Forest campgrounds lower in Beaver Canyon

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files and route (right-click and "Save as..."):
    GPX Monarch Loop   GPX Eagle Egress 
Maps for printing:
    High-Resolution Topo    Satellite View
Lodging, camping, shops:     Links to Logan area resources

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