||Ireland and Blackbird Trails
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.
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
trailhead. All routes to this area must use part of the Orem Bench
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
Ireland climbs up through grass on the
|Option: Ireland-to-Crank connector to top of
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
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
|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.
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
||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.
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
|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
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
|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
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
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
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.
Note! These trails are on Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
land, purchased with sportsmen dollars and set aside as the Orem Bench
Wildlife Management Area specifically to protect Utah's native animals.
Mountain Biking is allowed, but only insofar as it is not harmful to
wildlife. To insure continued access please be respectful to the
landowner by following proper trail etiquette and obeying all posted
1. Do not ride these trails during the winter. Deer will not
survive the winter if frequently disturbed.
2. Unauthorized trail-building is strictly prohibited!
3. To reduce erosion and prevent "trenching" of trails,
do not ride trails when muddy.
4. Avoid disturbing wildlife, and do not allow your dog to chase