Jacobs Ladder is a unique downhill trail above Corner Canyon, dropping
800 vertical in 1.3 miles. While
it's possible to ride the trail out-and-back, or more accurately
up-and-down, riders should use the new Peak View
trail (from the Peak View trailhead at the top of
Traverse Ridge) as the uphill to create a loop ride. The loop is 4.3 miles with
800 feet of climbing. Then add whatever distance and elevation you rode to get
to Jacobs Ladder. Below, I describe a 10.6-mile ride that ends with 4 miles of
2000-vertical downhill. More on that later.
View northwest downhill. The trail
slices down the top of a ridge, dropping 800 vertical.
|At the top, the trail rolls and plunges down the top of a sharp ridge,
passing over rock outcrops while also offering whoop-de-doos on trail
sidewalls. Lower down, switchbacks lengthen the ride and decrease the
slope as you fly through scrub oak forest. Jacobs Ladder connects to the Upper
Ghost Falls trail at the Corner Canyon Road for a continuous downhill
romp. Or you can loop around for another go.
|First, you need to decide how you'll get to Jacobs Ladder.
Most Salt Lake riders start in the valley and ride up on singletrack. The
two most popular routes are Clarks from the
Coyote Hollow trailhead (7 miles) or Ghost Falls from
the Equestrian Center (10 miles). You can connect to these trails via the Bonneville
Shoreline from either north or west.
Derek (in the UtahMountainBiking.com
race team colors) and Mike head uphill on Upper Ghost Falls. Photos by
Bruce, September 25, 2008.
|Or if you're not in the mood for extra climbing, you can drive your
car up the gravel Corner Canyon Road to the parking
area where Ghost Falls and Jacobs Ladder meet. From here, pedal up the
Corner Canyon road to the Peak View trailhead. Now connect to the Peak
View trail and pedal uphill to the spot where the Jacob's access
doubletrack forks away from the Three Falls
||Utah County riders grind up Hog Hollow
then turn east at the ridge to get onto the loop. (NOTE!
Upper Hog Hollow is closed for subdivision construction. A new singletrack
is being built, but is unfinished. July 2017.)
As the Salt Lake Valley falls away in
the background, Mike cranks around a switchback on the newer Jacobs Ladder
|You can climb up Jacobs Ladder itself for an out-and-back,
up-and-down. The bottom section has been re-cut in 2008, with switchbacks
calming the old plunge. Climbing rate on the lower section is around 8%, for
300 feet elevation gain over a relatively mild 0.7 mile. Once you reach the fin itself, though,
it's a brutal granny-gear grunt with some rough sections and loose trail
surface -- and you'll need to keep an eye open for
out-of-control downhillers. Average grade here is 15%. There were a few spots I
couldn't clean, but these push-a-bikes are short.
Looking back east uphill as we near
the end of the fin. You'll ride over rock outcrops, skitter in pea-gravel,
and hit sidewall whoop-de-doos. At the top of the photo, that's Box Elder
||The ride from the Equestrian Center gives you 4 miles of
downhill as you fly down Jacobs Ladder then continue on to Upper Ghost
Falls, Ghost Falls North, and Lower Corner Canyon. The ride will be 10.6
miles. If you've never ridden to Ghost Falls before (or if it's been a
couple of years), the uphill navigation can be complicated, but feel free
Derek takes a little downhill near
| As long as you're heading uphill, you'll get there eventually.
Consider navigating by GPS, or taking somebody who's been there before.
The climb isn't as easy as you might think -- you're looking at 2000
vertical -- but it's a very nice bicycle outing for stronger riders.
The fin you ride down seems to be an "intrusion
dike" where magma found a fault line in the limestone and welled upward
into it. Rock alternates between granite and unusual-looking melted
View south where the uphill DT loops
into the DH ST. Timpanogos looms above the Wasatch Front, with the entry
to American Fork Canyon just left of center.
|Although Jacobs Ladder is known for the downhill, there are
impressive views from the ridgeline. Stop and look around a little.
View uphill with Lone Peak in the
center and Ram's Horn at far right. We're not to far from the wilderness
|Riding notes, from Equestrian Center, with
0.0 Cross road onto ST
N40 30.322 W111 50.731
0.2 L uphill (routes rejoin later)
N40 30.234 W111 50.636
0.4 Fork R (L = up to roads)
N40 30.098 W111 50.394
0.8 Join DT, keep R uphill
0.9 Spot ST straight ahead
N40 29.818 W111 50.136
Keep R straight (L=BST)
N40 29.800 W111 50.115
1.0 L on DT
N40 29.764 W111 50.118
1.1 L on ST
N40 29.767 W111 50.023
1.2 Fork R (L goes to BST)
N40 29.838 W111 49.908
1.3 L uphill (R goes to pipeline trail)
N40 29.794 W111 49.785
1.7 Keep L (R = to pipeline tr)
N40 29.766 W111 49.621
2.0 Ghost Falls N40 29.754 W111 49.300
2.1 Fork L uphill (R = to pipeline)
N40 29.740 W111 49.304
2.7 R on CC Road (ride past Jacobs)
N40 29.666 W111 49.037
3.7 L (east) on Peak View
N40 29.140 W111 49.312
5.3 L on DT, stiff climb
N40 29.523 W111 48.188
5.6 Fork L onto ST descent
N40 29.666 W111 47.987
6.9 At CC Road, another loop vs down
10.6 Back at parking
|Getting there, Equestrian TH: Leave I-15 at the
Bluffdale exit and go east on Highland Drive. Stay on Highland until you
reach the parking area for the Lynn Ballard ball park on your left. To
find the trail, go to the west end of the parking area near the trail
kiosk. Drop down the hill and turn left into the tunnel under the road.
After climbing out of the tunnel, turn left and climb back up. Or cross
the street to the ST at the sidewalk. The uphill trail is directly across
from the entrance into the parking area.
|Coyote Hollow TH: Take the
Bluffdale exit from I-15 and turn east towards the mountains. Climb the
hill as above, but turn right at the light on Traverse Mountain Road.
After one mile, turn into Mike Weir Drive on your left. Pass the Mike Weir
trailhead 1/2 mile later and continue another half mile until the road
veers left downhill. Take the next right turn, turn right again, then
left. You should now be on Gray Fox Drive. Take the next right into Coyote
Hollow Court. The parking is on the right at the end of the pavement.
Corner Canyon Road (cheater) TH: The Corner Canyon Road is found
by taking Draper Blvd (123rd South) to 13th East, turning right down the hill, then
at the traffic roundabout onto Pioneer Road. Go towards the mountains to 20th East, then turn
right. When the road turns to dirt, keep heading uphill. About two miles up
the road, spot a log-fenced parking spot on the right, with a gate on the
main road about 100 yards uphill.
Hog Hollow, Church TH: Drive into Alpine from the south. At the
stop sign at 200 North, turn left (west) and drive 1/2 mile. Turn right up the hill. When
you see the big church, look for "Hog Hollow Road" on your left just before the
church. That's where you'll be going. Park near the church, then head
downhill and right onto Hog Hollow Road and ride 1/2 mile to the end of the
pavement. Climb the dirt, and veer slightly right onto a DT heading
northwest. Once on the Hog Hollow Road, ignore
smaller diverging roads, unless you want to play on them.
Hog Hollow from Burgess Park (Alpine): Head to main street in Alpine. At the
traffic circle, turn left on Canyon Crest Road. When you see the park on
your right, turn and find a parking spot. On your bike, head back to
Canyon Crest, turn left on Long Drive, then right onto the paved bike lane
in front of the homes on Ranch Drive. At the top of Ranch Drive where it
ends on Westfield Road, the trail is just across the street.