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Mud Spring "Downhiller"
via the GWT

The Mud Spring Trail is a fairly steep, moderately technical trail that branches off Ridge Trail 157 in American Fork Canyon. It crosses the Tibble Fork Trail on its way to the Mill Canyon Trail, which then drops down to Tibble Fork Reservoir. Most riders do Mud Spring as a downhill, as described on this page. It can also be done as an uphill route (see Mud Spring-Mill Canyon Loop page). The vertical change is 2200 feet. As a shuttled ride to the Alpine Loop Summit, it's 7 miles with total climbing of 300.

On the Mud Spring Trail, we're at the ride's high point, looking south toward Timpanogos. Photos and mapping ride on August 4, 2006 by Bruce.

The ride begins at the Timpooneke parking area. The first portion of the Great Western trail (Salamander Flat Trail #150) is a fairly easy ride. The trail surface is usually smooth hardpack dirt, with an occasional root. As you skirt the Salamander Flat camping area, you'll turn left across the creek.

After climbing over a small hill, you'll keep right on the Pine Hollow trail as it joins a small meadow. Now comes a stiff climb through the deep pines of Pine Hollow.

Beavers made this meadow by flooding the forest. We're looking northeast as we ride down the trail.

 

After skirting a large meadow, you'll come to Ridge 157. Make a hard left to aim back north. After crossing another mountain, you'll drop to Mud Springs. There's a small sign next to a couple of aspens. Keep straight at the fork. (Right takes you uphill on Ridge 157.)

You'll climb one switchback, then make a steady climb northwest. There's a big meadow here, with a faint trail branching left that goes to a viewpoint on the ridge. Keep right and start dropping downhill.

Once you're plunging down Mud Spring, open views are the exception. Most of the riding is a moderately technical drop through pine and aspen forest.

Depending on horse traffic and erosion, the Mud Spring trail can be a smooth but steep romp, or it can be a rocky, rooty challenge. After a couple of miles, the trail crosses the Tibble Fork trail. If you've had enough fun, you can fork left downhill to the reservoir. Across and uphill continues your ride. The next trail you reach is Mill Canyon. Fork downhill and ride a mile to the reservoir.

After crossing the Tibble Fork trail, the Mud Spring trail rises to this beautiful meadow. Kristen and Alex do the "Sound of Music" dance. The hills are alive...

Riding notes, Timpooneke to Mill Canyon at Tibble Fork:
0.0    Begin riding past bathroom toward mountain
0.1    Turn L over bridge
0.8    L at fork in camping area
0.9    Cross paved road
1.3    Keep straight (R = Salamander Flat)
         N 40 26.422 W 111 37.702
1.5    4-way trail intersection, L over bridge
        N 40 26.474 W 111 37.627
2.0    Pine Hollow in from left, continue straight
         N 40 26.757 W 111 37.644
2.6    Hard L fork onto Ridge 157
         N 40 26.680 W 111 37.022
3.4    Mud Spring, fork L (straight)
         N 40 27.127' W 111 37.375', alt=7980
4.1    Keep R (L goes to view)
         N 40 27.624' W 111 37.519', alt=7990
5.2   Straight, cross Tibble Fork trail and climb
        N 40 28.158' W 111 37.592', alt=7350
 5.9  Fork L downhill on Mill Canyon trail
        N 40 28.655' W 111 37.695', alt=7020
6.9   Cross river, or go left around to dam
        N 40 29.066' W 111 38.390'
7.0   Onto North Fork Road
Other options:  You can start at the summit parking area for a somewhat shorter ride. This skips a bit of the climbing. You can also make the ride a loop by riding down the North Fork road (U-144), the up the South Fork road (U-92).

Getting there:  From I-15, take the Alpine-Highland exit and drive 7 miles to the mouth of American Fork Canyon. Pay your $6 fee (as of 2009) there. Five miles later at the fork in the road, go along the south fork of the river. About 4 miles up, there's a T in the road. Turn right into the Timpooneke Campground road. The parking area is on your left about 1/4 mile later.

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files and route (right-click and "Save as..."):
   Garmin     National Geographic     Google Earth     GPX
High-res topo (300 KB):  View  
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to north Utah County resources

Copyright 2006 Mad Scientist Software Inc