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Stakeout Trail System
Squaw Peak Circles

The Stakeout Trails are narrow singletrack trails on forested slope at the mouth of Provo Canyon. Because the trails form a loop network along the course of the Squaw Peak Road, it's also called the Squaw Peak Circles. The temporary end of the system is just downhill from the road spur to the Overlook. The trails are upper-intermediate in technical difficulty, with a riding season of June through September.

View up Provo Canyon as the sun first hits Timpanogos. Photos and ride review July 8, 2016 by Bruce.

The trails lie in a zone from 5300 to 6300 feet in elevation on a north-facing slope. The area is heavily forested with occasional meadows and view breakouts. The summer pedaling is surprisingly cool for this altitude.

The trails follow natural breaks in the trees with no bench-cuts. Occasional spots have hand-tool smoothing, but much of the trail was constructed by bike tires wearing away the brush and grass. The result is very narrow singletrack that weaves through the trees.

This is the trail from the parking along the Squaw Peak road, looking east from my car. Brand new. The trail, not the car.

As of July 2016, the system is complete enough to recommend for riding, but is still being extended uphill. At the top end, the trail ends in an out-and-back. When complete it will link to the Squaw Peak Road near the Overlook. That will make it a good climbing route for the Squaw Peak downhill route.

We've turned westbound on the Bonneville Shoreline. Just 200 feet to the connecting trail.

Getting to the trails...

Access to the trail system can be directly from the Squaw Peak Road, but there's only space for a couple of cars at the "wide spots" where the trail connects to the road. My recommendation is to park lower on the mountain and ride up to the trail system. You can connect via the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, either from the parking lot near Nunn's Park or from the parking area a mile up Squaw Peak Road.

The lower area of the mountain is a mix of oak, maple, and occasional box elder. There are small meadows.

The featured ride below starts from the parking area along Squaw Peak Road. Find the trail at the far uphill corner, then follow the riding directions below.

If you're riding from Nunn's Park on the BST, this western connecting trail to the circles is at mile 2.6 from the paved Provo Canyon Parkway.

Looking up Provo Canyon. The limestone cliffs formed in an ocean trough around 350 million years ago.

There's an eastern connector to the big circle. When riding from Nunn's Park on the BST, you'll notice a small trail heading uphill at mile 2.1. This is the Pole Canyon Trail. It can also get you to the circles. (This route has some steeper climbing.) Climb uphill 0.3 miles then fork right on the Pole Canyon Connector trail. In 0.2 miles it will deliver you to the eastern end of the main circle.

The trail is narrow and twisty. Handlebar clearance is occasionally tight.

There are three spots where you can connect to the trails from the Squaw Peak Road. The first is at the top of Luna's Trail. 2.7 miles up the road is a gravel shoulder on the left. A trail drops off here and quickly splits. Luna's is straight ahead. If you make a right turn on the narrower trail, it will take you over to the western side of the main circle.

Although there's an occasional "smoothing dig" the trail was created by "wearing down" from bike tires.

The next corner of the paved road has an entry (mile 2.9). As the road turns to the right, there's a wide spot for parking on the left. A trail passes between two boulders. After just 100 feet, it hits the main trail just uphill from the big circle. (Going uphill from this spot takes you up to the road crossing; going downhill takes you to the main circle.)

This is a connector from the paved road, headed for the trail above the big circle.

The final road connection is where the climbing route crosses the Squaw Peak Road. At mile 3.6, you'll see what appears to be a dirt road on the right. There's room for one car here. At the end of this short spur are a couple of large boulders, and a singletrack trail going uphill between them.

From the mouth of the doubletrack, if you go down the pavement about 100 feet you'll find singletrack on the opposite side of the road.

Above the top of the big circle the trail often passes through stands of fir

The trails are unmarked, both at the entries and at trail forks. It's easy to encounter a trail fork and not realize you've already been there as you blow through in the opposite direction. You may exit the system without intending to.

Many of the side trails are hard to spot as they fork away. This often depends on the direction you're riding. If you're confused, stop thinking and just cruise around until you've been everywhere.

Looking northeast. The lower part of the main circle falls on a natural shoulder of the hillside.

Navigating the circles...

My ride starts at the large parking area one mile up the Squaw Peak road. Keep straight at mile 0.2 as a trail crosses. Turn right on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST) at mile 0.5. Now watch carefully for a trail on your left 200 feet later.

Going uphill from the BST, there were some formerly-damp spots where sedges had overgrown the trail. But just keep riding straight and generally uphill, and the trail quickly returns. You'll arrive at the bottom of the main circle about 1/2 mile from the BST.

There aren't any tricky spots, but the winding narrow tread and encroaching trees make this a ride for very experienced intermediates or advanced riders.

The first trail fork is -- the way I saw things -- the bottom of the big circle. I'm going to recommend you go right at the first trail fork for a counterclockwise trip around the circle. The west side of the circle will be your climbing route.

You'll quickly encounter a second trail fork. Go right again. (Turning left here just takes you a short distance to the opposite side of the circle. Kind of a short-circuit creating a baby loop at the bottom of the big circle.)

On the east side of the big circle.

The trail will continue uphill. At the next trail fork, at mile 1.3 from parking, a smaller trail goes right. Go left. (The right fork takes you over to the top of Luna's Trail.)

Your next fork is the top of the big circle at mile 1.7. This fork was quite indistinct on the day of my ride, so watch for it! To complete the circle, go left. If you're heading on up -- saving the eastern side of the circle for your downhill -- go to the right uphill.

We've popped out onto the paved road. Time for a photo of timpanogos.

Assuming you kept right to climb uphill, you'll reach another fork at mile 1.9 where you should keep left. (This trail fork is a popular "party spot" with fire circles and trampled vegetation. The course of the trails may be indistinct here. The right fork goes about 200 feet to the paved road.) 

Heading on uphill, you'll reach the paved road at mile 2.5. Go left about 100 feet on pavement, then leave the road to the right on what looks like doubletrack. It quickly turns to singletrack at the boulders.

And here's the entry to the upper trail. There's room for a car to park here.

1/10th mile from the road, keep straight as a fainter trail crosses. You'll make a 1/3-mile loop to the west, then return to this spot. Then you cross over your original route on this fainter trail. It will climb uphill then end 1.1 miles from the road (July 2016). 

Note: my ride track below doesn't go up the dead-end trail. It turns downhill when the loop is complete.

The upper trail area is loaded with Mules Ear in meadows between maples and stands of gambel oak.

On the way downhill, turn to the right 0.8 miles after crossing the road. This will put you on the eastern half of the loop. Go another 0.8 miles and fork left. The trail to the right is the Pole Canyon Connector.

At the next trail fork, both routes will take you over to the western side of the loop. Left is that first "short circuit" trail, and right is the direct route to the bottom of the circle. Now retrace your route back downhill.

Looking toward Cascade Mountain as we approach the temporary end of the trail.

Riding notes from lower parking:
0.0   Trail 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 big circle 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 (top of circle!)
        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
3.0   Back at crossing from 2.6, fork L
        N40 18.441 W111 37.644
3.1   L on road 100 ft, then R on ST (retracing)
        N40 18.478 W111 37.641
3.9   Fork R for east side of circle
        N40 18.687 W111 37.609
4.6   Fork L (R = Pole Canyon connector)
        N40 18.891 W111 37.460
5.0   Keep R (L = short circuit)
        N40 18.897 W111 37.590
5.1   End circle, go R N40 18.902 W111 37.682
5.5   Back at BST, go R N40 19.124 W111 37.868
        200 feet, then L off BST N40 19.116 W111 37.815
5.8   Keep straight N40 19.276 W111 37.886
6.0   Back at parking
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
Luna's entry:  2.7 miles up the Squaw Peak Road, spot a gravel shoulder on the left. Luna's drops down there. The connector trail forks immediately to the right.
Middle entry:  At 2.9 uphill, the road turns right with gravel shoulder on the left. The trail enters between the boulders.
Upper trail entry:  At mile 3.6 there's a doubletrack on the right. It's blocked by large boulders, with the trail entry between them. The downhill trail is across the road 100 feet back down the pavement.
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.

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 topo map for printing:   View topo
Lodging, camping, shops:    Links to Provo area resources

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

Copyright 2016