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Swift Ridge Trail (historic Shooter and Hyde trails)
West-side Timpanogos foothills

The Timpanogos foothill trails (aka Orem Bench) are complicated. This page offers a western climbing route from the Bonneville Shoreline Orem trailhead and tries to make sense of the riding options at various elevation levels on the hillside. The Swift Ridge Trail is also a popular descending option.

Looking west as the Swift Ridge trail passes between tall stands of gambel oak. Photos, GPS tracks, and ride recommendations based on recon rides by Bruce on July 10th through 14th, 2016.

The riding season is May through mid-November. (The area is CLOSED to cyclists during the winter.) The slopes are south-facing, so they clear of snow fairly quickly. But they can be hot on mid-summer afternoons.

Most of the trails are intermediate in technical requirement, but there can be some sustained steepish climbing that taxes your leg stamina. The trail system was simplified, and the trails renamed, during 2019 through 2021.

Orem BST Trailhead, with only my car remaining because all other trail users have fled the mid-day heat. My Rocky Element has seen some major fun today -- 28 miles and 4500 vertical exploring the trails.

Note!  These trails are on Utah Division of Wildlife Resources land, purchased with sportsmen dollars and set aside as the Orem Bench Wildlife Management Area specifically to protect Utah's native animals. Mountain Biking is allowed, but only insofar as it is not harmful to wildlife. To insure continued access please be respectful to the landowner by following proper trail etiquette and obeying all posted rules. Specifically:
1.  Do NOT ride these trails during the winter. The area is CLOSED December 1st through April 15th.
     Deer will not survive the winter if frequently disturbed.
2.  Unauthorized trail-building is strictly prohibited!
3.  To reduce erosion and prevent "trenching" of trails, do not ride trails when muddy.
4.  Avoid disturbing wildlife, and do not allow your dog to chase animals.
From the BST paved parking area, go back to the singletrack in the southeast corner (where your car turned into the parking area with the bathroom). This is the North Provo Canyon BST. Join the Orem Bench gravel road to the east. As the road completes its circuit around uphill water tanks at mile 0.3 from parking, turn hard left on doubletrack and climb above the tanks. Now connect to the Swift Ridge (Shooter) singletrack on the right.

View south on Swift Ridge. The climbing pitch is pleasant and there are constant views of the valley.

Swift Ridge will wind back and forth across the mountain as it climbs uphill. This is mostly grass slope, and highly sun-exposed. It will gain 650 vertical feet over 2.3 miles from the trailhead. The Swift Ridge trail will cross over the older "Firing Range" downhill route many times. When in doubt, take the more-level option of what appears to be the most-used trail.

Swift Ridge joins Lazuli at mile 2.6 from the trailhead. You're now at what I'm calling Level One. From downhill to uphill, 4 "levels" of connecting trails run east-west. Taking these trails eastbound, you can hook up to north-south routes at various heights on the mountain. (Confused yet? It gets worse.)

Almost to the top of Swift Ridge. We're heading north here, with a piece of Utah Lake showing in the Lehi area.

Bench Level ONE:  Elk Crossing
(to lower Gopher Snake, Rattlesnake, and Mouse)
The Elk Crossing trail is just downhill from the Swift Ridge-Lazuli fork. Turn right on Lazuli, go 150 feet downhill, then veer left off Lazuli onto Elk Crossing.

Looking south on Lazuli in the area of the Blackbird Connector.

To reach lower Gopher Snake, continue east as Gopher Snake joins on your left. Then at mile 1 from Lazuli, fork right downhill.

If your objective was Rattlesnake, stay on Elk Crossing for another 0.1 miles. Here you can climb or descend, or head further east to Mouse or the GWT trail 33.

Near the bottom of the hill as we descend Roller Coaster, which we reached via lower Gopher Snake.

Bench Level TWO:  Lazuli to upper Gopher Snake
(to lower Gopher Snake, Rattlesnake, and Mouse)
The next level of trail connections is reached by leaving Swift Ridge and climbing  a short distance uphill on Lazuli. When Swift Ridge hits Lazuli, fork to the left uphill. Then keep right on Lazuli as the Swift Ridge trail forks to the left.

When Lazuli reaches a trail fork on a ridgeline, go eastbound onto Gopher Snake (historic Crank). Gopher Snake will descend southeast then turn back northeast.

Lazuli Trail, heading north uphill. That's Little Baldy on the left, with Timpanogos on the right.

After 0.9 miles on Gopher Snake, keep left at the fork. You've now joined the Elk Crossing trail. 

Northeast on Gopher Snake (Crank), looking at Timp. Nice trail.

The next trail fork is lower Gopher Snake, to your right. Cottontail (historic name Roller Coaster) is just down that trail.

If your goal is Rattlesnake, stay on Elk Crossing. 200 feet later Elk Crossing crosses Rattlesnake. Uphill takes you to The Altar. Downhill goes to the Bench Road. And straight across Rattlesnake is the continuation of Elk Crossing. This connects to Mouse, which will also take you to The Altar.

Heading south downhill .

Bench Level THREE:  Swift Ridge to Wild Turkey
(to Lament trail or Little Baldy)
To reach the third level of west-to-east trails, you could simply continue on uphill at the top of Lazuli. But this page is about Swift Ridge and its connections. So stay to the left on Swift Ridge as you climb past the short shared bit of trail.

On the Swift Ridge trail, climbing north towards Timp.

Swift Ridge stays close to the western edge of the riding area, winding back and forth. Sometimes riders will create tire tracks on the old routes. So if in doubt, take the more-level trail fork and always cross over any steeper route rather than turning onto it.

View from the ridge up Provo Canyon towards Heber.

At the trail fork 0.7 miles uphill, you can keep to the right to stay on Swift Ridge. Keep working northeast, trying to stay off any cheater trails. 1.1 miles after leaving Lazuli, Swift Ridge reaches Lament. Fork to the right here.

Higher up on Swift Ridge. Many of the trails pass through one of these "sinks" of Mules Ear. They all tend to look the same -- which can confuse you about which route you're riding.

After just 100 feet east on the connector, there's another trail fork. You now decide whether you'll go east and uphill on Wild Turkey (left) or take Wild Turkey downhill to Lazuli (right)

The left fork winds uphill on Wild Turkey to the Black Bear trail. This connects to Little Baldy.

On the Black Bear trail, there's a lot of shaded riding in oak and maple forest.

At the fork above (just after turning right onto Lament), keeping right and eastbound will take you south downhill on Wild Turkey.

Wild Turkey will reach the highest spot on Lazuli after 0.4 miles. Turn left here. Lazuli will descent to intercept the Little Baldy 033 trail just 100 feet or so above The Altar. Turn right. At the rockpile, pick your next move. Straight down is Rattlesnake. The uppermost trail on the left is Frank (Great Western Trail, 033).

And the southbound trail between Frank and Rattlesnake (Betty) is Mouse.

Descending east on Lazuli.

Bench Level FOUR:  Black Bear and Trail 51
(west to Lament, Black Bear and Dry Canyon; east to Little Baldy 033)
The upper Swift Ridge trail ends as it hits Lament. First, lets look at the options to the east.

Looking northwest from the ridgeline at the Traverse Ridge area and the Bingham Canyon mine tailings.

As the Swift Ridge trail reaches the end of a long meadow, heading straight towards Mount Timpanogos, there's a fork to the right. This is a connector to Lazuli. But keep straight.

Another sink meadow on the Swift Ridge trail. You'll be joining Wild Turkey just after the end of the meadow.

After another 1/10th mile, you'll reach Lament, Trail 51. There's a carsonite trail marker nearby to confirm your arrival.

Turning right will take you eastbound on Lament. At the fork 100 feet later, Lament ends on Wild Turkey. If you stay left, you'll take Wild Turkey to the Little Baldy 033 trail in 0.8 miles. A right turn takes you on Wild Turkey down to Lazuli.

Wild Turkey eastbound, looking southeast toward Cascade Mountain.

If you turn left when you hit the Lament trail at the top of Swift Ridge, you have both eastbound and westbound options. For example you can ride over to the Dry Canyon trail and descend to the Lindon Bonneville Shoreline Trailhead, then take the BST southbound back to parking.

Or better, connect from Lament to the west end Black Bear (historic Maid Marian) and ride Black Bear eastbound to Little Baldy. 

Eastbound on Black Bear (Maid Marian).

Descending Options from The Altar
(Rattlesnake and Gopher Snake, Mouse , Frank 33, Cottontail)
As you descend Little Baldy 033, you'll reach a large meadow. Lazuli leaves on your right about 100 feet uphill from a large stone-pile marker, which is The Altar.

At the marker, you can pick your route. 

Looking uphill at The Altar from Rattlesnake (Betty). Little Baldy 33 is the continuing trail northbound.

Rattlesnake is straight ahead, going south downhill. In 0.6 miles, you'll reach Elk Crossing. Go right, then turn left on Gopher Snake. This route heads downhill (with a fork to Roller Coaster on the way) to rejoin Rattlesnake near its connection to the Bench Road.

The leftmost option at The Altar is the Great Western (GWT) trail 033, called simply Frank by locals. It will descend 0.8 miles southeast to the Bench Road, 2.9 miles from the Orem BST trailhead. At mile 0.4, Elk Crossing forks to the right as you descend Frank.

Looking south down Betty.

To the east of Rattlesnake at The Altar (left when viewed from uphill) is Mouse. Mouse will end on Elk Crossing. Now turn right. At the next fork, either turn downhill on Rattlesnake or cross over and turn left onto lower Gopher Snake. 

Mouse Climb. Plenty of tires on this trail! Riders must like it.

Just 150 feet down Gopher Snake is the Cottontail (Roller Coaster) trail fork. Cottontail is a nice rolling trail that gradually descends for 0.6 miles, then heads more steeply down to the Bench Road.

Cruising through deep grass on Roller Coaster, heading south.

Sample ride...
Here's a ride that climbs up to "Level 4" on the bench area, but is fairly easy to navigate -- for this complex area. Note that the trail names here are the old ones. I use mostly major trails, but throw in some fun narrow tree-dodging singletrack (Maid Marian and 51 Alternate) in a location where it's unlikely to foul you up.
The ride is 9.1 miles with 1600 vertical feet of climbing. It makes a circle around the trail complex. You'll pass by connectors to the central trails. So once you've done this ride, you'll know the lie of the land -- ready to head into the tangle of trails in the middle.
The ride can be followed via the GPS track downloadable at the page bottom. I suggest you use it if you have the right electronics. Otherwise, print the topo map and ride guide, then follow the directions carefully.

NOTE! This is an area maintained for the benefit of wildlife. Bicycling is ONLY allowed when it does not impact animals.
These trails are closed from December 1st through April 15th for the benefit of the winter deer herd.

Getting there, Orem Bench BST Trailhead:  Exit I-15 on Orem's 800 North and drive straight towards the mountains. At 800 East, turn left and drive north about 1 mile. Immediately past the fence at the uphill end of the cemetery, turn right (east) on Cascade Drive. Drive 1/2 mile then fork uphill before you approach the water treatment plant. Take two switchbacks up, passing the lower overflow parking, to the paved parking area with the bathroom. Your trail is right across from where the road entered the parking lot.
Canyon View Park:
  Exit I-15 on Orem's 800 North and drive straight towards the mountains. Keep left to enter Provo Canyon. After 1 mile, you'll pass the entrance to Canyon View Park on your left. About 100 yards later, there's a diversion dam, then a bridge over the river. Drive over the bridge and park in the lot. Ride to the northwest corner of the parking area. Begin your ride by pedaling up the gravel road. Keep straight at the road fork at  mile 0.3 if you're heading for the Bottom Access trail (recommended), or fork R uphill for the Ravine or East Access trails. Ride through the race loop and take the Upper Access trail to the BST to connect to uphill trails.

Bathroom:  Orem BST TH, Dry Canyon TH, Canyon View Park, Canyon Glen Park, Nunn's Park
Water:  Canyon View Park, Canyon Glen Park, Nunn's Park
Camping:  Nunn's Park

Dry Canyon Trailhead:  Turn east off State Street (Highway 89) at 200 South in Lindon, which also happens to be 2000 North for Orem. Keep straight as you approach the mountains. When the road begins to turn right (south), turn left onto Dry Canyon Drive heading northeast. Now keep straight uphill until the road turns into the trailhead. To reach the Swift Ridge uphill route, go south on the BST to the Orem trailhead.
Canyon Glen:
Use this trailhead if you plan to ride counter-clockwise or out-and-back. Note that if you ride this direction there are some granny-gear climbs that are a bit loose. Exit I-15 on Orem's 800 North and drive straight towards the mountains. Keep left to enter Provo Canyon. About 3 miles later, you'll see the parking area for Canyon Glen on your left. Go across the bridge to the Parkway. Turn right, and find the GWT on your left about 200 feet later, forking uphill just before the paved parkway curves around a rock outcrop.
Nunn's Park:
  This makes the ride about a mile longer, but at the expense of a rather ugly short section of trail from Nunn's park up to the aqueduct. Going up-canyon, turn right 4 miles up the canyon, then left under 89. Go into Nunn's Park. On your bike, come back through the park entrance, then turn left on a broken-up roadway just before the road goes under 89. Turn left at the fence and follow the fence uphill. This section is a hike-a-bike uphill. As the singletrack reaches the top, go left (west).
Zorro (1560 East Trailhead):
  Take 800 North in Orem toward the mountains. Just as the road starts to descend into the canyon, turn left on 1560 East. Go to the end of the pavement and park on the right. The ugly jeep road switchbacks east of the trailhead take you uphill -- 0.4 miles with 200 vertical -- to the Zorro singletrack. Zorro will add another 300 vertical and 0.6 miles. (Don't fork onto the steeper Bramber DH. You'll know it as you pass it.) When Zorro hits doubletrack, head a bit further uphill to the Bench Road for uphill connections.
Canyon Mouth Provo River Parkway:
There's a parking area on Orem's 800 North Street just before you enter Provo canyon. It's just east of the gas station. GPS N 40 18.840'  W 111 39.472'. To get to the parkway, go east over the river and through the fence. Go uphill to the Canyon View Park, Canyon Glen, or Nunn's park for uphill singletrack connections to the Bench Road.
Riding resources:
GPS track files: (Right click and Save as...)
    Multi-track area file (over 50 tracks)
Topographic maps for printing:   Orem Bench Zoom   Wider canyon mouth area
Lodging, camping, shops:     Links to Provo area resources

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