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Richards Hollow

Richards Hollow is a downhill trail in the Blacksmith Fork area near Logan, usually done after climbing dirt roads in a long loop ride. The Richards Hollow downhill segment itself has 5.6-mile/2000-vertical and 7.5-mile/2300-vertical options. As a loop ride, it's 15 miles with 9.3 on rocky gravel road, or 19 with 11.8 on-road.

There are countless creek-crossings. The creeks get smaller in late summer. Photo sent in by Neil Etherington.

It's possible to shuttle to the top. There are a couple of very short uphill sections in Richards Hollow, but it's otherwise all downhill, so it's a good candidate for DH-specific bikes.

It's not practical to ride Richards Hollow as an up-and-back. The bottom 2 miles drop at a 20% grade, and are so churned up by cows and horses that traction is very difficult. Your choice is long gravel road ride vs shuttle vehicle.

Richards Hollow is mostly upper-intermediate riding, with some short but tricky technical sections. Trailhead altitude is 5500 feet. The shorter loop drops into Richards at 7500 feet elevation then drops 2000 feet; for the longer ride, you'll climb to 7800. 

Starting up the gravel Left Hand Fork road, we're looking up at limestone peaks. Temperature was 95 degrees at this point in the ride, mid-August 2007.

The trail should clear by early June, but may still be a bit boggy in places with deep creek-crossings. Early July is probably ideal in terms of pretty flowers, enough water to play in, and not too much cow-damage. (The road closes November 15, and opens when conditions allow, usually June 1.)

This mountain range is summer forage for lots of cows. You'll probably have to stop a few times for small groups of cows lying on the trail. Be careful. Hitting a cow hurts. And plan to collect a bit of fresh cowpie on your bike frame and legs, no matter how skillfully you dodge.

Climbing upward, we're 5 miles into the loop on a temporarily non-rocky section of dirt road. Not much excitement here...

On the shorter loop version, when you reach the top you'll drop very steeply on an ATV tread for 0.6 miles. Then the ride gets flatter, and you may actually have to pedal a bit. The trail skirts creekbank and plunges through several times.

Looking down the start of the "official" Richards Hollow ride, which follows the Great Western Trail. The longer loop adds a 1.5 miles of nice singletrack.

The longer ride drops steeply to White Bedground Spring on doubletrack, then continues on singletrack along the creek. The singletrack here is narrow and much less-traveled, but it was buff and fun.
A mile or so past the trail fork, the canyon walls start to close in. Things get more technical. There are a couple of short steep rough uphills. Some tricky turns among rocks and roots require advanced technical skills and an aggressive attitude. (If you have to slow to a crawl for them, you'd better get off and walk.)

In this photo sent in by Neil Etherington, the rider is skirting a creek bend and rolling through a rough (and trickier than it looks) technical section.

In the last 2 miles, you're past the trickiest stuff, but the trail begins to drop more steeply. It's about 500 vertical per mile. Depending on recent weather, the trail may be soft and loose due to hoof-traffic.

Handlebar view about 2 miles from the top, as the riding narrows into singletrack.

This is a fun trail. Seven miles of downhill is impressive. The scenery in the Hollow is beautiful. Yes, there are some minor quibbles. Depending on what the cows are up to, you may find yourself stopping a LOT more than you want to. Intermediate riders will probably dismount about 10 times for technical sections.

I found the uphill on the loop ride to be a very long and unexciting 10-mile commute. (But understand: I absolutely hate riding on crushed-rock roadway, and it was 95 degrees at the trailhead as I set out.) After the long grind uphill, Richards Hollow flew past way too quickly.

View back toward the gorge. The trail rises on the sidehill to skirt some cliff-lined sections.

On the other hand, the road is rough enough that riding the trail as a DH with a shuttle vehicle could be tediously long. But maybe you're fortunate enough to have a volunteer to do all the driving...
Riding notes, counter-clockwise loop:
0.0   Parking area, bathroom. Alt=5500
        N41 39.728 W111 39.828
        Start uphill on rocky road along river
0.4   Pass Spring Campground on R
2.2   Fork L on Cowley Herd Road #23
        N41 40.034 W111 37.633
3.4   Pass Cart Hollow Trail (on L)
        N41 41.005 W111 37.554
3.5   Pass Seep Hollow Trail (on L)
        N41 41.039 W111 37.477
7.2   Keep straight as road joins on R
7.3   Fork L on Logan Peak road.  Alt=6800
        N41 43.603 W111 37.033
9.2  Ignore doubletrack on L at top of ridge
       N41 43.544 W111 38.249
9.3  L off road on ATV-tread downhill (GWT)
       N41 43.573 W111 38.275  Alt=7500
       Alternate longer ride: keep straight on road
        11.2  Left N41 43.642 W111 40.031
        11.3  L at White Bedground Camp
                 N41 43.564 W111 40.247
        11.4  L toward White Bedground Spring
                 N41 43.529 W111 40.260
         11.8 Pass Spring, head down hollow
         13.3 Rejoin (fork R downhill)

9.9   Join longer route, L downhill
        N41 43.340 W111 38.607
12.7 Seep Hollow joins on L, keep straight
        N41 41.312 W111 39.328
14.8 Gate
14.9 Back at trailhead
Getting there:  On US 89 south of Logan, turn east (right if you're coming from the south) on U-101. About 2.2 miles later, watch for a sign indicating that 101 turns right. This is 400 West in Hyrum. Turn R (south) and go 0.4 miles, then follow 101 as it turns left (east) onto Main Street in Hyrum. About 2 miles later, keep straight on 101 across U-165 (traffic light, McDonalds). Zero your odometer here. Follow 101 up Blacksmith Fork 6.8 miles, then turn left on the Left Hand Fork Canyon road. It will turn from pavement to gravel 1/2 mile later. After 3.6 miles on the Left Hand Fork road, pass Friendship Campground on the right, then immediately look for the trailhead parking on the left (small road loop with a bathroom at the end). The trail on the north side of the loop is the return from Richards Hollow. You start by continuing up the Left Hand Fork road.

(Note: The right turn of 101as you enter Hyrum is easy to miss. If you do, find another road turning right later on and go to Main in Hyrum. Turn left (east) on Main.) 

 

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files and route (right-click and "Save as..."):
   Garmin     National Geographic    GPX
High-res topo (700 KB):   View  
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to Logan area resources

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