Southern Skyline Trail (Lewis Peak)
The Southern Skyline Trail is a rewarding but long hill
climb. It starts at Pineview Reservoir in Ogden Canyon and climbs over
3100 feet to the ridgeline looking west over Ogden. The trail -- if
you include the spur to Lewis Peak -- can be ridden as an out-and-back to
Lewis Peak (18.6 miles), as a 14-mile point-to-point leaving a shuttle at
the North Ogden Pass trailhead, or as a 24-mile loop following paved roads
10 miles downhill to the Pineview Trailhead.
Looking south from the ridge during
the final climb to Lewis Peak, the clouds are lowering onto Mount Ogden.
Photos September 7, 2001 by Bruce Argyle.
The trail is mostly smooth hardpack dirt, but there are a
few rocky sections where climbing gets a bit bumpy. Because of occasional
rough sections, and the substantial altitude gain, this trail is rated
advanced-intermediate technical and strenuous aerobic.
Most of the climbing is on exposed southern slope with short oak brush
and little shade. If you're riding in mid-summer, I suggest an
early-morning start, or the 3100-vertical climb will get mighty toasty.
a typical trail segment, narrow singletrack passes through scratchy low
oak scrub, with maples offering occasional shade in the hollows.
|At the 2nd switchback turn (to the left, at 1.8 miles), the
trail seems to fork. The "straight ahead" option goes 0.1 mile
to a viewpoint looking over Pineview. This is a good "we made it,
turn-around" spot for beginners. If you're heading uphill, there are
better views from the ridgeline above.
The first 3 miles is steady climbing, at a grade of about 600 feet per
mile (12%). The next 1.5 miles is up-and-down, but with some roots, rocks,
and loose stuff to contend with. At 4.5 miles, you start a steady stiff
climb up to the ridgeline. On the ridgeline at mile 7, you'll keep left at
two trail intersections, rolling up and down for 2 miles to reach Lewis
Peak at mile 9.4.
Looking east over
Pineview Reservoir. On this day, temperatures dropped into the 40s, with
blowing snow on the ridgeline. Great! The cold lets you push to your
maximum climbing capacity without overheating!
|Your destination is Lewis Peak, altitude 8100 feet. From
here, you can look over the northern Wasatch Front and Great Salt Lake.
From Lewis Peak, you can head back to the trailhead at Pineview, or you
can head to North Ogden Pass for a loop or point-to-point. Turn left at
the trail intersection.
begin to turn crimson in anticipation of the fall chill.
||On the ridgeline, you'll pass through large (by Utah
standards) maples and fir, but most of the ride is in gambel oak. In early
summer, you'll enjoy blossoms of mountain bluebell, Wasatch penstemmon,
and mules ear.
Trailside rocks are metamorphic shist, gneiss, and quartzite from the
Precambrian Period - around a billion years ago.
of the peak on the downslope towards North Ogden Pass, the trees are
bigger, and the air a bit cooler.
|If you descend to the North Ogden Divide, you'll arrive at
the road about 1000 vertical feet above the Pineview trailhead. This is a
fairly steep and (occasionally) technical descent, but loads of fun.
Bruce drops over a root on the way
down to the Divide. (Digitized from video shot by Brian H., October 11,
Getting there: From I-15, take exit 347, Ogden 12th
South. Head east towards the mountains, and the street will enter Ogden
Canyon. Drive about 5 miles up the canyon. At Pineview Reservoir, turn
left across the dam. About 1/2 mile later, there's a "Pineview
Trailhead" parking area on your right. The trail starts on the
southern end of the parking area, crosses the highway, then about 100 feet
later, jogs slightly downhill as it crosses a paved private road. (The
trail at the north end of the parking is the Pineview
Trail, which goes 3.2 miles north to a second trailhead on the
highway. It's a nice alternative return route if you're doing the loop
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