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Ireland and Blackbird Trails
Timpanogos Foothills

The Ireland trail runs approximately north-south on the western edge of the Timpanogos Foothill bench area. It can serve as a climbing or descending route. On this page, we'll climb Ireland to Crank, which will be our connection over to the Blackbird trails for a descending loop. The ride is moderately strenuous with 1000 feet of climbing over the 4.4 miles. The trails are intermediate in tech requirement.

View south on Ireland. Photos and ride description July 12, 2016 by Bruce.

The Timpanogos Foothill trails lie on a bench area south of Little Baldy on the western slope of Mount Timpangos. The trail system here is complex, consisting of many "social trails" that cross over and connect to each other erratically.

This sample ride will start at the Orem Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST) trailhead. All routes to this area must use part of the Orem Bench (BST) road, which has other connecting trails from downhill. So you can also get to this loop from Zorro (1560 East in Orem), the Race Loop (Canyon View Park), and the Dragon's Back (Canyon Glen or Nunn's Park).

The Orem BST trailhead. The Provo Canyon North BST is behind me at the entry to parking.

From the BST Orem trailhead, head east into the canyon. After passing the entry to Shooter at mile 0.4 of the Bench Road, your next uphill connection (as of 2016) will be Ireland at mile 0.8. Turn left and settle into a climbing rhythm. Keep left and northbound at the first couple of trail forks.

On the lower mountain, Ireland is a narrow band in a sea of crested wheatgrass.

Ireland climbs up through grass on the lower mountain.

Option:  Ireland-to-Crank connector to top of Blackbird Two

At mile 0.6 comes your first chance to connect over to your downhill routes. A hard right here will take you east on a shortcut to the Blackbird trails.

This trail climbs up to Crank. But your an option comes at a trail fork 0.2 miles from Ireland. A right turn here takes you to Blackbird, where you could either climb up or make a hard right turn and head downhill.

Looking southeast down the connector as it leaves Ireland. That's Cascade Mountain on the left.

Forking left (at the Ireland-to-Crank trail fork 0.2 miles from Ireland) takes you on uphill. You'll reach Crank 0.5 miles from Ireland. Keep right and follow the trail around in a semicircle as Crank goes from northbound to southbound. Soon after turning south, about 0.2 miles since joining Crank, fork right to leave Crank on Blackbird Two. Now go straight south and downhill.

View west at Utah Lake and Lake Mountain as we approach the Shooter fork.

Option:  Top of Ireland, taking Crank to Blackbird(s)

If you stay on Ireland past the connector trail, you'll quickly pass Shooter on the left at 0.7, then cross Firing Range at 0.8

Another 100 feet uphill, keep right as West Ridge forks off on the left. Keep climbing straight north uphill until the trail turns to the right onto a ridgeline trail fork at mile 1.1 from the Bench Road.

Still climbing higher on Ireland. That's Little Baldy on the left, Mount Timpanogos on the right.

Go across the ridge, and you're on Crank descending south. Crank will turn back northeast, then southeast. As the trail turns back northeast again, 0.6 miles from the ridge, keep left as the Ireland-to-Crank connector trail joins on your right.

As we turn across the ridge to the Crank trail, we look back southwest. That's West Mountain, with Utah Lake split around the hill.

Just after Crank turns back southeast, at mile 0.7 from Ireland, decide on Blackbird vs Blackbird Two. Blackbird Two is the right fork here. (The trails will cross over, so even though Blackbird is west of Blackbird Two on the lower mountain, it starts out further east.)

The Crank Trail crosses a meadow.

Blackbird Trail...

For the Blackbird trail, follow Crank south to a trail fork at the top of a gully. Crank turns east here. Go straight across (south) and you've entered Blackbird. Now just go straight.

Winding around a hill on Crank. Once you know the lie of these trails, the riding quickly gets you where you want to go. But at first it's confusing.

Both Blackbird and Blackbird initially start in an area of tall grass and large gambel oak. There will be some very slight climbing as the trails rise over the shoulder of the bench area southbound.

And if you've missed your trail, just ride around a bit. Pretty soon you'll blunder onto a southbound route.

Heading southwest on Blackbird into a stand of scrub oak.

The downhill slope is fairly gentle. The Blackbird trails actually make good climbing routes (once you get past the short steep bottom of Roller Coaster). I've done a counterclockwise ride using Blackbird Two for the climb and it's a nice pleasant ride.

On Blackbird, you'll very quickly cross over Blackbird Two, about 100 feet from the gully trail fork. Then at mile 0.1 keep straight as you pass a trail going left, then one going right a few feet further on.

On Blackbird, we're looking back northeast at the edge of Timp. That's because I'm riding around in circles trying to figure out where the trails go.

The next fork is at mile 0.2. Blackbird is downhill left. The right fork would take you over to Ireland (it's the connector from option 1 above).

At mile 0.6 the Blackbird crosses a connecting trail (from Ireland to Roller Coaster). If you keep straight, you'll drop onto Ireland about 100 yards later. If you fork to the left, the connector will take you to Roller Coaster, and you'll drop onto the Bench Road 0.3 miles from this fork.

Finally. Heading downhill towards Utah Valley.

Blackbird Two Trail...

Blackbird Two was the right fork on Crank, just after it turned southward around the little hill. 1/10th mile from its top, Blackbird Two lies just a few feet west of the gully trail fork where Blackbird starts, so it's possible that riders will create a big 5-way bit of confusion here. Keep straight. Now cross over Blackbird about 100 feet later.

On the ridge at mile 0.3, keep straight and south as a trail crosses.

Looking uphill towards Timpanogos while climbing up Blackbird Two.

At mile 0.8, Blackbird Two joins Roller Coaster. Pass the connector from Ireland on your right as you go downhill, and you're on the Bench Road at 1.0 mile from Crank. And if you're wondering why all the trails seen to turn east as they hit the Bench Road, it's because riders are doing laps by climbing Betty.

And here's an option:  You could make a hard left turn at the bottom of Blackbird Two, and ride Roller Coaster over to Betty. Lots of ride variations here.

Bottom of Roller Coaster, where Blackbird Two joins.

Riding Notes, Ireland - Crank - Blackbird Two loop:
0.0   East on ST at entry to parking
        N40 19.504 W111 40.198
0.1   Join Bench Road (BST)
        N40 19.460 W111 40.156
0.8   L uphill on Ireland
        N40 19.427 W111 39.504
        Keep L at 0.9 and 1.0
1.4   Keep L uphill N40 19.900 W111 39.684
        (option: fork R for shortcut)
1.5   Keep R (L = Shooter)
        N40 19.924 W111 39.698
1.6   Straight (L = Firing Range)
        N40 19.996 W111 39.713
1.65 Keep R (L = West Ridge)
        N40 20.014 W111 39.722
1.8   Cross ridge trail, south on Crank
        N40 20.219 W111 39.730
2.4   Keep L (R = connector to Ireland)
        N40 20.126 W111 39.509
2.6   Fork R (Blackbird Two)
        N40 20.180 W111 39.411
2.7   Keep straight
        Cross Blackbird N40 20.057 W111 39.419
2.8   Straight across N40 19.973 W111 39.400
3.4   Straight onto Roller Coaster
        N40 19.585 W111 39.429
3.5   Straight (connector joins R from Ireland)
3.6   R on Bench Road (or do a lap)
        N40 19.413 W111 39.418
4.4   Back at parking
Getting there, Canyon View Park:  Exit I-15 on Orem's 800 North and drive straight towards the mountains. Keep left to enter Provo Canyon. After 1 mile, you'll pass the entrance to Canyon View Park on your left. About 100 yards later, there's a diversion dam, then a bridge over the river. Drive over the bridge and park in the lot. Ride to the northwest corner of the parking area. Begin your ride by pedaling up the gravel road. Keep straight at the road fork at  mile 0.3 if you're heading for the Bottom Access trail (recommended), or fork R uphill for the Ravine or East Access trails. Ride through the race loop and take the Upper Access trail to the BST to connect to uphill trails.

Orem Bench BST Trailhead:  Exit I-15 on Orem's 800 North and drive straight towards the mountains. At 800 East, turn left and drive north about 1 mile. Immediately past the fence at the uphill end of the cemetery, turn right (east) on Cascade Drive. Drive 1/2 mile then fork uphill before you approach the water treatment plant. Take two switchbacks up, passing the lower overflow parking, to the paved parking area with the bathroom. Your trail is right across from where the road entered the parking lot.

Bathroom:  Orem BST TH, Dry Canyon TH, Canyon View Park, Canyon Glen Park, Nunn's Park
Water:  Canyon View Park, Canyon Glen Park, Nunn's Park
Camping:  Nunn's Park

Dry Canyon Trailhead:  Turn east off State Street (Highway 89) at 200 South in Lindon, which also happens to be 2000 North for Orem. Keep straight as you approach the mountains. When the road begins to turn right (south), turn left onto Dry Canyon Drive heading northeast. Now keep straight uphill until the road turns into the trailhead. To reach the Shooter uphill route, go south on the BST to the Orem trailhead.
Canyon Glen:
Use this trailhead if you plan to ride counter-clockwise or out-and-back. Note that if you ride this direction there are some granny-gear climbs that are a bit loose. Exit I-15 on Orem's 800 North and drive straight towards the mountains. Keep left to enter Provo Canyon. About 3 miles later, you'll see the parking area for Canyon Glen on your left. Go across the bridge to the Parkway. Turn right, and find the GWT on your left about 200 feet later, forking uphill just before the paved parkway curves around a rock outcrop.
Nunn's Park:
  This makes the ride about a mile longer, but at the expense of a rather ugly short section of trail from Nunn's park up to the aqueduct. Going up-canyon, turn right 4 miles up the canyon, then left under 89. Go into Nunn's Park. On your bike, come back through the park entrance, then turn left on a broken-up roadway just before the road goes under 89. Turn left at the fence and follow the fence uphill. This section is a hike-a-bike uphill. As the singletrack reaches the top, go left (west).
Zorro (1560 East Trailhead):
  Take 800 North in Orem toward the mountains. Just as the road starts to descend into the canyon, turn left on 1560 East. Go to the end of the pavement and park on the right. The ugly jeep road switchbacks east of the trailhead take you uphill -- 0.4 miles with 200 vertical -- to the Zorro singletrack. Zorro will add another 300 vertical and 0.6 miles. (Don't fork onto the steeper Bramber DH. You'll know it as you pass it.) When Zorro hits doubletrack, head a bit further uphill to the Bench Road for uphill connections.
Canyon Mouth Provo River Parkway:
There's a parking area on Orem's 800 North Street just before you enter Provo canyon. It's just east of the gas station. GPS N 40 18.840'  W 111 39.472'. To get to the parkway, go east over the river and through the fence. Go uphill to the Canyon View Park, Canyon Glen, or Nunn's park for uphill singletrack connections to the Bench Road.
Riding resources:
Single-page riding guide to above ride
GPS track files: (Right click and Save as...)
    Ride as above, Ireland up, Blackbird Two down
    Multi-track area file (over 70 tracks)
Topographic maps for printing:   Orem Bench Zoom   Wider canyon mouth area
Lodging, camping, shops:     Links to Provo area resources

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