The Skyline Drive is a rocky dirt road that travels from Farmington Canyon up to Bountiful Peak, then down to the Bountiful foothills. Starting at an altitude of 4550 feet, it climbs to 9150 feet -- a worthy vertical change of 4600 feet! The ride is 24 miles, and is approximately 12 miles continuous uphill then 12 miles continuous downhill in either direction.
Photo above: We're looking over Farmington Lake (actually, a couple of ponds with a beaver's house), nearing Bountiful Peak. In about a mile, we'll be on top of the glacial ridge behind the lake. Photos September 12, 2002 by Bruce.
|The ride features beautiful forest and fantastic
views. This road is great in wet weather, when mud closes out the
singletracks. It has a gritty, rocky base that keeps mud from sticking to
tires. (It can be bitter cold at this altitude during summer storms, so
And because of the significant climb, this is a ride I'd suggest you save for cool weather (or early morning). On the day of my ride, temps were in the low 50's, but I was pouring sweat on the climb. Going down, I was glad I'd brought my winter tights and jacket in the Camelbak.
Early in the climb up Farmington Canyon, we're looking back. The green patch at the canyon mouth is Farmington. The Great Salt Lake is in the distance. The rocks in the foreground are metamorphic rocks from the Precambrian Period -- at least a billion years old.
|Many bikers ride up to Bountiful Peak as an out-and-back, to avoid using a shuttle. Farmington Canyon would be my favorite way to the top.|
If you're nuts, you can close the loop by riding back on the 8-mile Bountiful Bench trail. This makes a 32 mile loop, and adds about 600 vertical feet of up-and-down to your ride. This path links gravel roads with a couple of short singletrack segments (in the canyons), but it's a work in progress. I ran into construction with only 1 mile to go, and was forced to drop down into Farmington and head back to the trailhead on pavement.
The maples are beginning to show fall colors as we near the top of Farmington Canyon.
|You'll start your ride in the typical gambel oak and maple
of the Wasatch Front foothills. In Farmington Canyon, you'll ride past
outcrops of metamorphic rock from 1 to 1.5 BILLION years ago in the
Precambrian Period. This is some of the oldest rock in Utah. Quickly,
you'll be in forest of fir and aspen on the Farmington end, riding over
many small creeks.
Reaching Farmington Flat campground, we see Bountiful Peak looming ahead. Guess what: we're going to be on top of that mountain in about 4 miles!
|Riding up from Bountiful, the forest tends to be more oak, maple and brush even at higher altitudes. But on the Bountiful side, you have an almost constant view over the Great Salt Lake.|
The rate of climb is a manageable and fairly consistent 400 vertical feet per mile. You can do the climb in your middle chain ring, but I'd suggest you pace yourself -- don't underestimate the potential for thigh cramps after 12 miles of uninterrupted climbing.
On top of Bountiful Peak, we're looking northwest towards Ogden. The Great Salt Lake fades in the distance.
|Getting there, Farmington: Exit I-15 in
Farmington. Get to the corner of 600 North and 100 East. (The most direct
route there was blocked by construction at the time of my visit 9/02.)
Turn north (left if you're going up the hill) on 100 East. Keep right at
the fork. Park on the left just past the fork (trail information sign) GPS
N 40° 59.808' W 111° 53.060', or go up to the parking area on the Bench
Road (on your right another 0.4 miles from the fork) at GPS N 40° 60.000'
W 111° 52.750'.
Bountiful Trailhead: From I-15, take the Bountiful 400 North Exit and head east towards the mountains. Turn on left on 1300 East, which will curve around east to become paved Skyline Drive. This road will turn R to become Eagle Ridge Drive. About 0.1 mile after the road turns to dirt (directly under the big "B" on the mountain, it will turn sharply left and begin climbing the hill. GPS N 40° 53.739' W 111° 50.752'.
|Ride Notes, Farmington to Bountiful:
0.0 Zero odometer at Bench Road (gravel road on R about 0.5 miles up canyon)
N 40° 60.000' W 111° 52.750'
0.8 Road turns to dirt, parking for optional trailhead on R
4.5 Campground (bathrooms)
7.3 Fork R (L = return from Farmington Flats Loop)
N 40° 59.235' W 111° 47.986'
7.9 Fork R (L = Farmington Flats)
N 40° 58.863' W 111° 48.264'
11.8 Bountiful Peak, admire view then begin descent
N 40° 57.821' W 111° 49.243' Alt = 9150
15.3 Fork R (L = Sessions Mountains)
N 40° 55.771' W 111° 47.588'
18.8 Keep R (L = Old Ward Canyon Rd)
N 40° 54.678' W 111° 49.425'
23.9 Bottom of the Skyline Drive
Return options for Loop:
Pavement: head downhill to main street and just keep heading north.
After around 8 miles, at 600 North in Farmington, turn R uphill, then R on 100 East.
Bountiful Bench: this trail is still being worked on (9/02). Head downhill
and east, find doubletrack heading north (I found it at intersection of Davis
Blvd and Northern Hills Dr at 900 North). When faced with trail forks, keep
as close to straight north as possible, and when there are more than one reasonable
"straight" option, stay uphill. Follow singletracks into the first two canyons. I made
it 7 miles, had to go down to pavement in construction zone with 1 mile to go.
One-page riding guide
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
Garmin GPX (includes Old Ward Canyon Road, Centerville BST)
Large-format topo map (2 MB): View map
Lodging, camping, shops:
Links to Ogden area resources
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