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Looking north from the trail, towards Shingle Creek.

Shingle Creek Trail

The Shingle Creek Trail is a narrow singletrack in the western Uinta Mountains, about 10 miles east of Kamas. Altitude is 7,500 feet, with about 500 feet elevation gain over the 2.5 mile trail. The trail is ridden as an out-and-back for a total ride of 5 miles. We'd have to rate this trail as advanced technical, and moderately strenuous aerobic.

The trail breaks out of deep pines to this meadow, with Shingle Creek babbling slowly downhill. The rounded, flat-bottomed valleys are created by the action of glaciers. September 7, 1999 by Bruce Argyle

The Shingle Creek trail is the original Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. Sections of smooth dreamy hard-packed cruising alternate with nightmare sections of rocky rough climbs. And recent "improvements" have made the trail harder for mountain bikes. But the scenery is the best you can find anywhere in the Uinta Mountains. So it's worth doing.

Uphills can be rough and rocky. And when a "erosion control" barrier pops up, it really tests your rock-hopping skills. September 7, 1999

An average section of trail. Note rocks.

Write to the forest service, Uintah district! Gee, thanks guys! Obviously, whoever is in charge of this trail doesn't ride a mountain bike. The trail is terraced in places to minimize horse damage, but many barriers are too high to clear on the uphill. Other barriers, while jumpable, are placed too close together -- as you're clearing your rear tire, the front tire is hitting the next barrier.

Our casualties due to "trail improvements:" Bent derailleur mount, broken spoke, bent rim, and half a chain-ring tooth. But you'll find the barriers to be rather fun to pop over on the way down.

Series of 12-inch high steps (placed for trail improvement), spaced too closely to work up with a bike. Yet the slope would be easily rideable if the rock ledges weren't there. September 7, 1999 by Bruce Argyle

The trail alternates between shady deep woods and open meadows with eye-popping views. In the shade of the pines and quaking aspens, elderberry, thimbleberry, snowberry, raspberry, and hawberry are found in abundance.

And of course, there were plenty of squirrels to get Jackie excited.

A cluster of ripe elderberries. Elderberry makes great jelly or pancake syrup. Not as good as chokecherry, mind you, but still quite tasty. September 7, 1999.

Elderberries make great pancake syrup, juice, or wine!

The trail touches on the creek frequently. Each time, you'll want to hang out a few minutes and take it all in. Or hang out and straighten your derailleur.
Pond, still muddy from beavers.

At 2.5 miles, the trail crosses the creek. This begins the upper trail, which is essentially non-rideable. So it's time to start an awesome downhill. You'll eat those (four letter) words you mumbled fighting your way up the rocky parts, because the cruise back is fun fun fun. Assuming you're good enough to handle it.

A small beaver pond, old enough that sedges are starting to fill in the edges, viewed from the trail.

Getting there: In Kamas, turn east towards the mountains on the well-marked Mirror Lake Highway. Drive 6 miles to the fee station and pay your $3. About three miles later, you'll see the Shingle Creek Trailhead road taking off on your left. Drive 1/4 mile up the road and park at the trailhead. The metal gate north of the parking area is the start of the trail.

Berries of mahogany ripen in the late summer shade. September 7, 1999 by Bruce Argyle

This type of mahogany grows as a 6-8 foot shrub.

Shingle Creek Trail Map

Riding resources:
Single-page riding guide
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to Western Uinta area resources

Easy yet powerful. PAIGE for patient instructions!

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