American Fork Canyon
The North Fork of American Fork Canyon is a rocky
dirt-and-gravel road, extending from Tibble Fork Reservoir to Pole Line
Pass. The road continues on to Heber. Most bikers use this road as part of
another ride -- for example, Ridge 157. But
it's a great ride all by itself.
The ride is fairly easy technically, but there's a steady climb that
requires a bit of muscle and stamina. It's a good ride for mixed groups,
including newcomers and kids. Because the road is a bit rocky and has a
slope that requires brake control on the way down, it's not a good ride
for very small children.
The North Fork of the American Fork
River rushes past rock outcrops. Photos July, 2002.
From Tibble Fork to Pole Line Pass is 8.3 miles, with 2500 vertical feet
of climbing. Peak altitude is 8900 feet at the pass.
New west near Dutchman Flat (September
|I recommend this ride on a weekday, when the road is
deserted. The scenery is beautiful, the air smells clean, and it's quiet. On Saturday, you'll share the road with dusty noisy
Looking up the roadway at the forest
of fir and aspen.
||As you reach Dutchman's Flat at mile 4.4, the trail
undulates up and down a bit. When the trail nears a shallow section of the
creek on your right -- that looks like you could ride across -- that's the
road to Forest Lake. This is a nice side-ride, but it's rough, steep, and
rutted. Not kid material.
Paintbrush blooms along the trail.
You'll also see penstemmon, delphinium, mules ear, and goldeneye,
according to the season.
||At Dutchman Flat, the road actually becomes smoother. Just
past the flat at mile 5.3, the road forks. Keep right to continue up to
Pole Line Pass.
If you're exploring, you can fork left and ride a couple of miles up to
Mineral Basin. This (as you can probably guess) is an old mining area.
Looking down towards the North Fork
canyon, the saddle above Granite Flat is seen. The trail from Granite Flat
climbs over this saddle, then down to Doc Argyle's town of Alpine.
||Reaching the top, you have options:
(1) Call it a good ride and backtrack, for a 16.6 mile day.
(2) Head north on singletrack to Dry Fork, a brutal ride, coming out in
(3) Go right on Ridge 157, looping down through Forest Lake to Dutchman
(4) Go on Ridge 157, but keep going all the way to Mill Canyon Trail or
Tibble Fork Trail, and bomb down to the reservoir.
(5) Ride the Mill Canyon Peak Loop.
(6) Head on towards Heber on the road, then drop down to Cascade Springs
and ride the road back over the Alpine Summit.
|Getting there: From I-15, take the
Alpine-Highland exit just south of Point-of-the-Mountain. Go east towards
the mountains on UT-92 and continue up American Fork Canyon. There's a $6
fee (as of 2009). About 6 miles up the canyon, turn left at the North Fork junction and
drive 2 miles to Tibble Fork Reservoir. Park, then ride straight past the
outhouse onto the gravel road that heads up along the river.