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Stakeout Trail System, upper trails
"Dell" trails and connectors, climbing route to Buffalo Peak

The Stakeout Trail System is located in the cooler glens just east of Squaw Peak. Each of the trails can be done as a nice out-and-back, or combined into a climbing route to the Squaw Peak DH trails. The lower trails of Stakeout, called Lacey's Loops or the Squaw Peak Circles, are discussed on another trail page. This page covers the "Dell" trails plus the Overlook Connector trail.

The trails are unmarked. From the Squaw Peak Road, they're often impossible to see, even if you know exactly where they are. A good map and GPS navigation is recommended -- if you don't have a friend who knows the area and will give you the guided tour.

View of Timpanogos from the upper Erindell Trail. Photos and ride review by Bruce on June 24, 2018.

The Stakeout Trail System begins at 5300 feet elevation in the Squaw Peak parking area, one mile up the Squaw Peak Road from US-189. It extends through a series of trails to 7700 feet elevation near Buffalo Peak. Although not particularly technically difficult, the trails are narrow and sometimes bumpy, so I recommend the ride for experienced intermediates with strong legs and good aerobic conditioning. The riding season will be June through September.

Typical terrain:  Maple and occasionally oak groves with small meadows.

The trails can be accessed from the main Squaw Peak Trailhead by riding uphill on the BST Access Trail to the Bonneville Shoreline. After turning right on the BST, it's 200 feet to a subtle trail on the left, the Lacey's Connector. This will take you 0.4 miles uphill to Lacey's Loops. After navigating (or blundering) through the loops to the uphill end, the Erindell trail continues uphill as the first in this series of trails.

You can also get onto these trails at several points where they approach or cross the Squaw Peak road. See the Lacey's Loops page for several lower-canyon access points from the road.

Sample of a road entry. The two rocks guard the upper Erindell trail from trucks and ATVs.

This page will describe a climbing route from Lacey's Loops to Buffalo Peak, with a couple of options. And although I've described the route as a climb up to the DH trail, it's a beautiful and fun ride as a descent.

Simply FINDING the continuing trail will be your greatest challenge, so again, GPS and map.

Meadow of Mules Ear at their peak on the Overlook Connector trail.

 
The trails, bottom to top
Erindell Trail

First, you need to arrive at the top of the loops. See the Lacey's page if you need more information.

The Erindell Trail begins on the southwest uphill corner of Lacey's Loops. It winds back and forth as it climbs 300 vertical feet in 0.8 miles before hitting the Squaw Peak paved road. I refer to this section below the road crossing as "lower Erindell" and the portion above as "upper Erindell."

Meandering back and forth through forest of maple and oak.

The narrow track meanders through small meadows and groves of oak and maple. As it nears the road crossing, Erindell enters a fir forest for a short time. This segment is different in character from the rest of the system, which features small leafy trees alternating with meadows with plenty of sunshine.

Dark and moody in the tall fir forest as we approach the road crossing.

Upper Erindell

As you reach the paved road on Erindell, go to the left about 100 feet on pavement, then leave the road to the right on what looks like doubletrack. It quickly turns into the singletrack upper Erindell trail at the boulders.

0.1 mile uphill, there's a meander loop option that will add about 1/2 mile to your ride. Most riders won't see this bit of trail and will simply pedal past.

Upper Erindell is a riot of wildflowers in small meadows as you meander through fir, maple and occasional aspen.

Upper Erindell will wind back and forth as you climb 300 vertical feet over 1 mile. Then it makes a final short-but-steep run up to the paved road. Erindell reaches the road right at the corner of the road fork where the connecting road to the Overlook branches away from the main Squaw Peak Road.

Looking east at Cascade Mountain from Erindell.

Ellendell

To continue further uphill on the Ellendell trail, pedal about 50 feet west on the road toward the Overlook, then turn left uphill on a faint singletrack. As with almost every road-to-trail transition in this trail system, you probably won't see the trail unless you're standing on the road looking straight into it. 

Getting started uphill on Ellendell.

Ellendell continues the winding character of the lower trails, alternating between small meadows and groves of oak and maple. The first half of this trail tends to be steeper and more taxing. Overall, you'll add 500 vertical feet of altitude over the 1.4 miles of Ellendell.

Looking back down toward the Overlook road spur, with northern Utah County, Utah Lake, and the Kennecott mine in the background.

Ellendell will reach the Rock Canyon Back Trail (known as the Rock Canyon DH) at 7050 feet elevation. Fork to the left (uphill) to continue climbing. If you're done, you can turn left and start downhill.

Riding through some stout maples, headed for the next little meadow.

Rock Canyon Back (upper Rock Canyon DH backwards)

You'll spend only 1/10th mile on a relatively flat portion of the Rock Canyon DH trail, pedaling south. When you reach the now-gravel Squaw Peak road, turn to the right and follow the road around the turn. Immediately as you complete the turn, the Overlook Connector trail is on your right.

To use the Little Rock Canyon trail as an uphill, watch for it on the right 0.1 mile further up the road. Both of these options involve some steepish climbing. If you want to skip that, you can grind on uphill on the road and catch further trail on your right 0.3 miles uphill.

Looking south uphill on Rock Canyon DH.

Overlook Connector

The Overlook Connector will climb over 200 vertical feet in 0.3 miles, so it's a bit of a grunt. But it's pretty, with Mules Ear flowers and groves of maple.

The alternatives are climbing lower Little Rock Canyon (very steep), or taking the road (dusty and automobile-y). If you decide to head for Ashleedell, you'll find the entry to the trail on your right 0.3 miles further up the road.

Just getting started on the Connector. Not too steep here.

The trail gets a bit steeper as you climb. At the top, the lush forest gives way to a bald hilltop. There are fabulous views from the top of the hill. It may make you glad you fought your way to the top.

Now the trail will turn to the south and descend steeply to join the Overlook Trail. Keep straight at a "real fork" and a "sucker fork" as you coast downhill.

The beautiful stuff just won't quit!

Overlook Trail

You'll spend 0.3 miles on the Overlook Trail southbound. When you reach an open area with evidence of campers and picnics, it's time to find your continuing route.

A hard 180-degree left will take you down the lower portion of the Little Rock Canyon trail. 90 degrees left takes you out to the gravel road. Straight ahead is the Little Rock Canyon trail, which is your route to Ashleedell.

Looking south. You can barely see the southern end of the Overlook trail as it reaches the junction with Little Rock Canyon in the saddle.

Little Rock Canyon

From the clearing near the road, keep straight and find a wide well-used trail heading south uphill.

After 0.1 miles climbing, it's time to leave Little Rock Canyon. (It will get impossibly steep soon.) The trail fork is right at the big gap jump (see photo). Keep wide to the left as you ride past it, and you'll find yourself on narrow singletrack heading uphill.

Looking at the gap jump on Little Rock Canyon from the entry to Ashleedell.

Ashleedell

The Ashleedell trail is 1.3 miles long and will climb 700 vertical feet. There will be some navigation challenges as the trail hits some forks. In general, that means keeping to the left when you have an option. If all else fails, follow an eastbound trail out to the gravel road. (On the day of my latest ride, moron four-wheelers had driven around in a large flat meadow, basically erasing the narrow trail. I had to ride up the road and re-enter the trail from above to find where I should have gone.)

Riding southeast, with Cascade Mountain as a backdrop.

The goal is to continue working south until you arrive at the trailhead for the Buffalo Peak trail. Use any combination of trails and road that gets you there.

Buffalo Peak starts right at the spot where the Squaw Peak road reaches its highest point.

Lovely grassy meadows tend to erase trails quickly if there's not constant traffic in late spring.

Buffalo Peak Trail

The Buffalo Peak trail is the wider trail heading south along the log fence before curving right uphill. It climbs gently for 0.4 miles to a fork with the Little Rock Canyon trail. At the fork, you can continue straight 1/4 mile to a viewpoint on the peak (hike-a-bike ahead!), or fork right on Little Rock Canyon to begin a downhill.

Climbing through a field of Mules Ear on Buffalo Peak.

Bottom Line!

Great trails if you like solitude and a raw remote feel to your riding. These trails are uncivilized but not cruel. Narrow and twisty, requiring good handling skills. Lots of beauty and great riding, but not everyone will enjoy them.

Mules Ear in front of Mount Timpanogos.

Bottom to top navigation:
0.0   Squaw Peak parking, ST uphill far east uphill end
        N40 19.393 W111 37.957
0.2   Cross trail, keep uphill
        N40 19.276 W111 37.886
0.5   R on BST N40 19.116 W111 37.815
0.55 L on connector trail
        N40 19.124 W111 37.868
0.9   L to enter Lacey's Loops N40 18.902 W111 37.682
1.1   Fork L (R = short circuit)
        N40 18.852 W111 37.696
1.3   Fork R (L = over to Luna's)
        N40 18.751 W111 37.756
1.7   Keep R uphill (Erindell)
        N40 18.687 W111 37.609
1.9   Fork L (R = over to road)
        N40 18.604 W111 37.617
2.5   L on paved road N40 18.478 W111 37.641
2.55 R on DT to ST N40 18.476 W111 37.617
2.6   Keep straight N40 18.441 W111 37.644
3.5   Hard R on road at fork, 50 feet
        L uphill on ST (Ellendell) N40 18.190 W111 37.568
4.9   L on Squaw Peak DH N40 17.845 W111 37.089
5.0   R on road N40 17.754 W111 37.052
        100 feet, R on ST after turn (Overlook Connector)
        N40 17.733 W111 37.083
5.3   Top of hill N40 17.582 W111 37.152
5.4   Keep straight (Overlook trail) N40 17.551 W111 37.115
5.7   Straight across clearing to ST (Little Rock Canyon)
        N40 17.437 W111 36.836
5.8   L on narrow ST at gap jump (Ashleedell)
        N40 17.381 W111 36.773
6.1   R (L = to road) N40 17.250 W111 36.559
6.2   East (L) N40 17.168 W111 36.471
6.5   R (L = to road) N40 17.099 W111 36.257
7.0   R on Buffalo Peak at fence N40 16.976 W111 36.315
7.3   R on Little Rock Canyon N40 16.889 W111 36.543
Getting there...
Lower Squaw Peak Road TH: 
On US-189 eastbound about a mile up the canyon, turn right on the Squaw Peak Road. Drive one mile uphill and turn left into the large parking area. Return to the road for a pavement climb, or find singletrack at the uphill east end. N40 19.393 W111 37.956
Squaw Peak Overlook:  On the Squaw Peak Road at mile 4.2 from US-189, go to the right to the Squaw Peak Overlook. The trail is just west (downhill) from the road. There's paved parking at the overlook and roadside parking downhill. N40 18.075 W111 37.514
Squaw Peak DH (Back) Trail:  Mile 5.6 from 189, on the right as the gravel road turns sharply left. N40 17.756 W111 37.052
Upper Overlook/Little Rock Canyon:  On the right as the road turns left at mile 6.1 N40 17.458 W111 36.806. The Overlook trail is the northbound smaller trail closest to the edge; Little Rock Canyon heads north into the woods.
Buffalo Peak Trail:  On the right at mile 7.7 from 189, as the road reaches its top elevation and crosses a saddle. N40 16.952 W111 36.312
BST Nunn's Park TH:  Eastbound in Provo Canyon on US-189, go two miles up Provo Canyon to the Nunns Park exit and turn right into the parking lot. Pedal uphill on paved trail, then turn right on the BST singletrack N40 20.280 W111 36.475.
Indian Hills:  Just before Canyon Road merges onto University Avenue, and just past the last homes, turn uphill toward the water tank. Go 1/10 mile, then find a northbound trail on your left.
Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files and route (right-click and "Save as..."):
      Track for ride above
      Multi-track GPX area file
High-res area maps for printing:   View topo   Upper mountain aerial
Lodging, camping, shops:    Links to Provo area resources

Bathrooms:  None.
Water:  None.
Camping:  Hope CG, Rock Canyon CG
Bike services:  UtahMountainBiking store in Lehi.

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