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Jacobs Ladder

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 trail.
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 trail section.

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 Peak.

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 to explore. 

Derek takes a little downhill near Ghost Falls.

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 mineralized limestone.

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 border here.

Riding notes, from Equestrian Center, with loop:
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 east (left) 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.
Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track file (right-click and "Save as..."):
    GPX Peak View and Jacobs
High-res topo (about 370K):  View
Corner Canyon area trail overview page
Lodging, camping, shops:       Links to southern SLC resources

Facilities: There's a toilet at the Jacob's trailhead (where Jacobs Ladder meets the Corner Canyon road), at the Corner Canyon BST trailhead and at the Equestrian Center parking. Water is available only at the Equestrian Center.

Copyright 2008 Mad Scientist Software Inc
Updated 2017