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Mud Flats Loop  Willow Creek, Little Cottonwood Creek

This ride is a nice 9.4-mile loop with 4.5 miles of singletrack. The climbing rate is fairly gentle and there's nothing particularly technical. This is a good ride for early-intermediate riders, but will also satisfy more advanced mountain bikers.

View south from Mud Flats. Photos and review ride made on  September 30, 2008 by Bruce.

Don't let the "Mud Flats" name fool you. This is a nice ride with a shady singletrack climb up the canyon along Willow Creek. There's a fast ride along a dirt-road connector, then a singletrack descent down Little Cottonwood Creek to the trailhead. The loop starts at an altitude of 5500 feet, climbing to 6850. Total climbing will be around 1400 feet.

View up the canyon as we head towards the Ricks Canyon - Willow Creek trail fork.

The trail starts in the right fork of Logan Canyon. Go 0.7 miles up the paved road, then veer left just past the campground and enter a gravel road.

View of the north wall of Willow Creek Canyon, early in the ride.

At the far end of a turn-around, about 1/2 mile from the fork, is the singletrack. There's a bathroom in the middle of the turn-around.

View south as we pass the south fork of Willow Creek, 1.3 miles from the trailhead. 

The trail maintains a steady rate of climb. At first it's a middle chainring sort of thing, but as you near the top, you may want to slip into granny. The trail is mostly shaded with aspen and occasional fir or pine. There are several bridges over the creek, or you can follow the "horse route" and plunge right through.

View up the trail.

Your first fork is at Ricks Hollow at mile 0.6. Head left along Willow Creek.

Next, keep left as you pass Ephraims Cutoff at mile 2.5. This trail is a 3.5-mile long connector to the road at Long Hollow. 

View back down the canyon.

From what I hear, this trail is a reasonable route back from Old Ephraims Grave, but it's too steep to climb. (If you want to pay Ephraim your respects, continue up Willow Creek then turn RIGHT toward Long Hollow when you get to the top.)

This is the Ephraims Cutoff trail. Looks decent, but I hear it turns ugly in the uphill direction. You can loop back from Ephraims Grave on this trail, but I don't have the full GPS track for you.

At 3.5 miles the Willow Creek singletrack reaches the dirt Temple Fork - Long Hollow road. Go left, then left when you reach a smaller dirt road near the top of the hill.

On the doubletrack, this is a view down Logan Canyon.

 

You're not through climbing yet. Once you're on the smaller dirt road, you'll climb, then descend a total of 3.5 miles. Keep left at two intersections. Then the road turns 90 degrees left at a fence. 

Typical view on the doubletrack.

Descend to a water trough, where the road ends. Follow one of the cow-path tracks downhill until you hit true singletrack as you enter the trees along the creek.

You've now got one mile of nice singletrack downhill. You'll hit bottom behind the corral you passed just before the parking area. Go left behind the corral and head for your car.

View down the Little Cottonwood singletrack about a mile from the bottom.

Riding notes, counterclockwise loop:
0.0    Start up singletrack at far end of road loop
0.2    Keep R as you pass Maughan Hollow trail  N41 46.465 W111 36.507
0.6    Fork L (R = Ricks Canyon)  N41 46.328 W111 36.117
2.1    Fork R   N41 46.995 W111 34.971
2.5    Keep L (R = Ephraims Cutoff)   N41 47.020 W111 34.653
3.5    L on gravel road   N41 47.688 W111 34.034
3.8    L on smaller dirt road   N41 47.872 W111 33.677
4.5    Faint trail crosses road  
4.7    Keep L   N41 47.990 W111 34.500
5.3    Keep L   N41 47.759 W111 34.774
7.1    Road turns L downhill   N41 48.148 W111 36.385
8.2    Pass water trough   N41 47.356 W111 36.877
9.3    Corral, go L to road
9.4    At parking

View down the Little Cottonwood trail

Getting there:  From Logan's main street, turn east towards the mountains on US-89 (4th North). Pass Utah State University and enter Logan Canyon. 8.5 miles from the canyon mouth, turn right to Right Fork Logan Canyon. 0.7 miles later, fork L and the road becomes gravel. 0.6 miles further, just past a large corral, that road loops around a bathroom. The trailhead is at the end of the loop. N41 46.508 W111 36.637.
Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files and route (right-click and "Save as..."):
   Garmin      GPX
High-res topo (600 KB):  View  
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to Logan resources

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