||Jake the Snake Trail
Jake the Snake is a singletrack trail above The Ranches at Eagle
Mountain. It climbs to the cell towers on the hill above the Pony Express
Parkway. The trail is narrow and a bit rough. The ride is appropriate for
upper-intermediate or better riders. The climbing can be handled by a
strong early-intermediate, but the descent on the south limb could be a problem for a rider
with poor skills.
Climbing northwest uphill on the north
limb, with the Oquirrh Mountains in the background. Photos and ride
description by Bruce on August 8, 2015.
|The trail starts at around 4900 feet elevation and climbs
about 350 vertical feet. It passes through sage brush and outcrops of
limestone. There will be views in all directions -- looking out to the
mountains of the Wasatch and the Oquirrh range. By either of my two recommended routes, you'll
ride 1.2 miles of singletrack each way to the top of the tower.
Looking east past an outcrop of
lichen-covered limestone. Across Utah Valley, the top of Cascade Mountain
is hidden in clouds.
||There are four ways that riders currently start their climb.
You'll see these marked by the yellow dots on my map. I can only recommend
two of these.
(1) Horse path from north of the church on Pony Express Parkway.
This is the "official" route to the hill. Severely overgrown to
the point of derailleur clogging.
(2) Field route from the north (see map). Avoids the overgrown
initial portion of the horse path. But it's private property.
Uphill via Ruby Valley Drive. Part of the climb is on paved road,
intercepting the north limb of trail as it breaks free of homes and fields.
Direct from Pony Express Parkway. Climbing on the south limb, the
slope is stiff in spots. Meets the north limb 0.6 miles and 200 vertical
from Pony Express.
Just below the cell towers.
|My ride below puts part of the climb on Ruby Valley Drive,
so it's a little less brutal. It puts the rough rock of the southern limb
on the downhill as you complete a loop. The loop will be 0.6 pavement
miles longer than a straight up-and-back.
Note: The downhill end (and possibly the connection from Ruby
Valley Drive) may be affected by future development. Local guys, please
let me know if things change.
A look down at The Ranches of Eagle
||First, find a spot to park. There's a church parking lot
near the horse path. You can start there and pedal the paved bike path on
the north side of Pony Express Parkway to Ruby Valley Drive. Climb 0.5
miles on Ruby. As the road ends, keep straight and drop down to dirt road,
then immediately veer left on the singletrack. You're on the north limb.
After 0.6 miles, fork right uphill for the climb to the towers. Another
0.6 miles gets you to the top (when the singletrack ends on doubletrack,
turn left toward the antenna). From the top, descend back to the trail
fork. Keep right to enter the south limb. Descend back to Pony Express,
turning left (east) to close your loop.
The trail passes through two fins of tilted limestone.
We're looking uphill on the south limb.
|The rocks here are tilted, forming interesting outcrops that
the trail passes through. Typical for the mountains of the Great Basin
west of the Wasatch, these formations are significantly older than the
rocks of the American Fork and Cottonwood canyons.
There are alternating bands of limestone, mudstone, and
lightly metamorphosed sandstone. This
suggests an ocean shoreline moving back and forth across the middle
of Utah. My best guess for when these sediments were deposited is the
Mississippian Period, around 340 million years ago.
A border between limestone (top) and
mudstone (bottom), with a band of hard white mineral between. I found
fossil traces of soft-bodied critters in the mudstone, but didn't see any
fossils in the limestone layers.
||From the bottom of this trail, you can cross the road and
connect to the Hidden Canyon singletrack. This climbs to the top of Eagle
Mountain's bike park trail system.
Short but fun, once you figure out the navigation. Not a "destination
ride" but satisfying. Something to do to round out a day of riding
while in the area. See the Mountain Ranch
Bike Park and Eagle Mountain Race Loop
|Riding notes, counterclockwise loop from
0.0 Leave Parkway to climb Ruby Valley Dr
N40 21.429 W111 59.225
Keep straight at intersections
0.5 Road ends, forward and down to DT
Immediate L on ST (north limb)
N40 21.739 W111 59.592
1.1 R uphill towards tower
N40 21.638 W111 59.681
|1.6 L on DT N40 21.659 W111 59.907
1.7 At tower, head back
N40 21.584 W111 59.863
2.3 Fork R for south limb
N40 21.639 W111 59.692
2.9 At Parkway, turn L
N40 21.400 W111 59.327
3.0 Back at Ruby Valley Dr
Take the I-15 Lehi Main Street exit and turn west. Continue west on SR-73,
crossing Redwood Road (11600 West). Continue westbound uphill. Just after
climbing the hill, turn left at the stop light onto The Ranches Parkway.
At Pony Express Parkway, turn right. When you see that the road will veer
to the left in front of a church, turn right and find a spot to park north
of the church. To get to Ruby Valley Drive (or the south limb singletrack
on Pony Express Parkway), pedal further west along Pony Express on the
paved bike path on the north side of the road.
To keep this trail resource
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