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Pot Hollow
(Little Deer Creek Loop)

The Pot Hollow trail is a short singletrack descent from Pole Line Pass into the Little Deer Creek valley. (Note: the official name is "Provo Deer Creek" but nobody around here calls it that.) Overall, it's intermediate technical, with a couple of short trickier downhill sections that are easy to walk for less-aggressive riders. It can be done as a shuttled downhill or as a loop ride.

We're climbing on the ridge (Road 220), looking west toward Mill Canyon Peak. In a couple of hours, we'll be coming down the slopes of that mountain. Photos September 12, 2006.

The loop ride is exactly 12 miles, with 2000 vertical feet of climbing. This breaks down to 7.3 miles of gravel/dirt road, 2 miles narrower dirt road, and 2.6 miles of singletrack. That's a fair amount of dirt-road riding for the amount of singletrack, which explains why this excellent trail isn't packed with bikes.

Looking east from the ridge, we see the Heber Valley.

Some riders may want to park at Cascade Springs and ride 2.5 miles up to the road fork, which would make the total ride 17 miles with 2700 feet climbing.
As a loop ride, I can recommend Pot Hollow for two things: (1) a long training climb followed by a fun descent, and (2) a group ride for Boy Scouts from the campground. The climb up to the pass gets long and tedious (and can be quite hot), but the descent is cool and beautiful.

As we climb toward Pole Line Pass, we occasionally look back over the shoulder at Mount Timpanogos.

To do the ride as a shuttle, drive the gravel road 220 to Pole Line Pass, then descend Pot Hollow and the Deer Creek road back to the fork in the road for a 4.7-mile ride that's virtually all downhill. Just after starting the singletrack, there's one short steep climb, about 100 feet. If the motorcycles have churned it, expect to hike. There's also a short but easy climb shortly after starting Trail 37. Once you're past the first 3/4 mile, it's all downhill.

We're at Sandy Baker Pass, where the Pot Hollow trail forks off Ridge Trail 157.

A note on riding with Boy Scouts:
I recommend this ride for Boy Scouts camping at Little Deer Creek, but with some cautions.
The 7-mile climb may be beyond the muscular endurance of many 12-year olds. Allow at least 3 hours for the climb up, and follow your guys with a sag-wagon to pick up those who give out.
There are two steep spots (see below) that require off-the-seat riding technique. Make sure your scouts know how to ride off-saddle. Encourage them to walk the areas that are steep and loose.
Give yourself about 6 hours: 3 hours for the climb, 1 hour for the descent, and 2 "trouble hours" for flats and breakdowns.
For much of the climb up the gravel road, the views are behind you. It's hot and dusty. And it seems to go on forever. But once you're there, it's all fun.

The singletrack starts at Pole Line Pass and drops to Sandy Baker Pass, were you fork left. After another 1/2 mile, you fork left again and drop steeply down to Big Spring. Then the singletrack gets mellow as you drop toward Little Deer Creek (Provo Deer Creek).

We're at Big Spring.

There are two technical spots worthy of mention:
(1) Just after starting the singletrack, you'll encounter a section of very soft sandy trail. Because it's fairly steep downhill, it's very easy to endo by digging in the front tire. (2) When Pot Hollow (Trail 37) goes left downhill off the East Side Ridge Trail, there's about 1/4 mile of steep (20% slope). If the surface is loose, it requires good handling skills, off-the-seat technique, and braking control.
Photo above:  On the Little Deer Creek Road, you'll cross the creek twice. You're almost done, so go ahead and get wet! Splash through -- you know you want to!
The ride down the Little Deer Creek Road is fun and fast. Depending on the season, there may be some deep ruts here and there. As you come to the fork, either veer right into the campground (if you started there, or just want to play tourist), or continue straight on down the canyon.

View down the Little Deer Creek Road.

Note to hardcore riders:  Ridge 157 to East Ridge Loop Option
Want a really tough ride? Want to show everybody how mean a biker you really are? Or, maybe just really suffer? Instead of dropping 1/2 mile from Sandy Baker Pass to the trail fork, go all the way around Mill Canyon Peak first. At the first fork in the singletrack, go right and take Ridge 157 to Rock Spring. Then climb over the ridge and come back on the East Side Ridge Trail. This adds about 7 miles and 900 feet of climbing to the ride, on some very vicious and difficult technical singletrack.
This ride is really sick, and only a total idiot would do it. So naturally, I've made a trail page for that route. Who knows, you just might be up to the challenge. 
[Click here to link to Pot Hollow via East Side Ridge trail page]
Loop ride, starting from fork of Road 220 and
Little Deer Creek Campground road:

0.0   Starting from fork, go east (R if coming uphill) on Rd 220 
        N40 29.409 W111 31.968
        Cross creek and go uphill
0.7   Crest hill, fork L at 4-way
        N40 28.858 W111 31.871
3.2   Keep straight R (L = bail to Little Deer Creek Road)
        N40 30.825 W111 31.922
4.1   Pass DT connector to upper L.D.Creek
        N40 31.447 W111 32.376
5.7   Turn L and continue on gravel road
        N40 32.388 W111 33.189
7.3   Pole Line Pass
        N40 31.900 W111 34.244
        L on ST just before road turns L
7.9   Left at fork onto trail 37
        N40 31.404 W111 34.249
8.5   Left downhill on Pot Hollow Trail
        N40 31.113 W111 33.981
10.0 R on DT (Little Deer Creek Road)
        N40 30.978 W111 32.585
10.9 Fork L (R = into Little Deer Creek campground)
11.5 Pass exit from L.D.C. campground
12.0 Back at fork

Getting there:  Drive to the top of the Alpine Loop, either from the North Fork of Provo Canyon (past Sundance and Aspen Grove) or from American Fork Canyon. Just 1/4 mile east of the summit, turn east on Road 24 (Cascade Scenic Drive). Drive 7 miles. Just before Cascade Springs, the paved road takes a hard right turn. Turn left onto a gravel road here, labeled "Wasatch Mountain State Park" and "Little Deer Creek Campground." Drive uphill 2.5 miles to the fork in the road. You can park at the side of the road and start the ride here, or proceed straight to Little Deer Creek Campground (fee required) and start the ride there. 

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files and route (right-click and "Save as..."):
   Garmin     Nat Geo     Google Earth    GPX
High-res topo map (800 KB):   view
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to north Utah County resources
     Links to Provo area resources

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