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Looking northeast from the trail. Photos November 21, 2001.

Farmington Bay Wetlands Trail

The Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area offers some easy cruising on dikes within the wetlands. The "Short Loop" at the south end is perfect for a family with pre-teen children -- the trail is absolutely flat and straight, the surface is smooth for easy riding, there's plenty of little ponds filled with birds, and the distance (6.3 miles total) is bearable for younger legs. The short loop is closed to cars.

Note: The area is open August 1 through February 28 for bike and foot traffic, from 8 am to 5 pm. Only the northern entrance (to Goose Egg Island), down to the parking area at the 4-way dike intersection (see map) is open year round. The southern loop is closed from 3/1 to 7/31 to allow bird nesting. Dogs are allowed only September 25 to Feb 28.

The trail follows the top of dikes within the wetlands area. The dikes are broad and straight, with cindered doubletrack roadway. There's no altitude gain at all. The riding surface is smooth enough for tiny wheels.

Typical section of pathway -- straight and smooth.

Along the path, ponds alternate with pampas grass, cattail, bulrush, and sedges. In the ponds, you'll spot ducks, grebes, coots, seagulls, ibis, pelicans, and herons. Hawks and crows are also frequent, plus an assortment of smaller birds. Bring your binoculars for some excellent bird-spotting. (During duck season -- October to December -- the birds will be shy.)

During August and early September, the air will be thick with insects. Bring insect repellant. Not all of the bugs will bite you, but it's easy to suck in a mouthful of them. So if you plan to do some heavy breathing, you might bring a bandana to cover your mouth.

The trail has been cindered, so the surface is good for riding in rain or snow. This is an all-season trail.

Riders who are looking for distance can ride west into the Great Salt Lake and/or complete the larger loop. This is a good winter ride for snow bikers.

Pampas grass sets seed in the November air.

At the far north end, near the gate, there's heavy growth of puncture weed (goatheads) on the side and middle of the trail. Staying in the middle of the wheel-track avoids most of them, but be sure to bring a patch kit. If you're doing the big loop, I recommend you install a tire liner or puncture-proof tube for this ride. (I didn't see any puncture weeds on the short loop or the Great Salt Lake dike.)

Looking northwest towards Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake, a sandbar separates us from the main body of the lake.

Short Loop Riding notes:
0.0  At the parking area, trail starts on your left at the gate
0.4  Fork (N 40 54.67' W 111 55.43'), turn left to go west
3.0  Gate, 4-way dike intersection (N 40 55.88' W 111 56.83')
       Go right
4.9  Fork (N 40 55.28' W 111 54.80') right (south)
5.9  Back at first fork, go straight
6.3  At parking area 

Jackie pauses on the edge of the water. Your family dog is welcome here after September 25, as long as he's trained well enough to leave the waterfowl alone.

West Dike:
Turn left (west) at mile 3.0 (see above). The dike will veer slightly south after the first mile. At mile 7.2, it turns back to shore bearing southeast. (This is where I turned around because my dog was tired.  I'm informed the dike ends in thick marsh, with some fields to hike-a-bike before reaching some ranch roads in North Salt Lake.)

Big Loop Riding notes:
0.0  At the parking area, trail starts on your left at the gate
0.4  Fork, turn left to go west
3.0  Gate and 4-way dike intersection, go straight
5.0  Trail turns east
6.0  Intersection with gravel road, continue straight
7.0  Gravel road goes left, continue straight
8.8  Dike trail on right, keep left
9.8  Back at first fork, go straight
10.2 At parking area

A heron prowls for fish.

Getting there: From I-15, take the 400 North (West Bountiful) exit and turn west (away from the mountains). A short bit after turning off the freeway, turn right (north) at the first stop sign onto 800 West. Drive north to the next stop sign, turning left (west) on 1600 North. When the road veers right, go across the bridge then immediately turn left on the dirt road. Drive 1 mile to the parking area. GPS N 40 54.470' W 111 55.835'. (If you turn before the bridge, you'll wind up at the boat launch. That's OK -- park and walk your bike over the canal to the adjacent road and ride 0.5 mile west to the parking area.)

To enter the north end of the wetlands, get onto the frontage road that runs along the east side of the freeway between Farmington and Centerville. Turn west onto Glover's Lane and go over the freeway. Turn south on gravel road to reach the north end of the loop. Turn right (the gate on the left is usually locked). You'll be able to drive as far as the 4-way intersection of the Great Salt Lake dike with the Short Loop.

Note: The area is open August 1 through February 28 for bike and foot traffic, from 8 am to 5 pm. Only the northern entrance (to Goose Egg Island), down to the parking area at the 4-way dike intersection (see map) is open year round. The southern loop is closed from 3/1 to 7/31 to allow bird nesting. Dogs are allowed only September 25 to Feb 28. Check the government's Farmington Bay web page for any changes.

Riding Resources:
One-page condensed trail guide
Lodging, camping, shops:
       Links to Ogden area resources
Thanks to Jeremy Farnsworth for suggesting this ride!

Copyright 2002 Mad Scientist Software Inc