Tibble Fork via Pine Hollow Loop
This 11-mile long, 2200-vertical foot loop is for advanced
bikers. But the payoff is awesome views and a downhill cruise that rivals anything you've
ever done. This loop links a portion of the American Fork Canyon paved road, the Pine
Hollow Trail, Salamander Flat #150 Trail, Ridge Trail 157, and the Tibble Fork Trail.
For a color-coded map of trails linking to Ridge Trail 157, see the Ridge
The Mad Scientist (and dog) at Pine Hollow, with the peaks of Timpanogos in the
background. Photo August 21, 1999 by Matt Flygare
Most bikers start the ride at Tibble Fork Reservoir, 2
miles up the North Fork of American Fork Canyon. After a high-speed road cruise back down
to the junction, you'll climb up the paved road of the South Fork 2 miles to reach the
Pine Hollow Trailhead. (The trail starts right across the street from the parking area.)
Pine Hollow is modestly steep and narrow, and will challenge your lungs as well as your
If you don't like stiff climbing on a narrow trail, ride
up the road to the "T" and head into the Timpooneke campground.
At the parking lot, head out on the Timpooneke Trail and turn left over
the creek onto the Salamander Flat Trail #150. (More on this option below.) This adds an extra couple of
miles, but it's much easier.
Matt Flygare grinds up the
Pine Hollow Trail. Photo August 21, 1999
Riding up from Pine Hollow, you'll climb 1.9 miles through the pines and oak of the canyon,
then turn left as Pine Hollow continues uphill joining the Great Western Trail at GPS N 40° 26.775' W 111° 37.501'. About 1/2 mile
later, you'll pass a large beautiful meadow, after which Pine Hollow will link up with Ridge
Trail 157. Turn left (north). After following the Ridge Trail for 2 miles (be sure to
catch the right turn at the Mud Springs fork), the Tibble Fork Trail turns downhill on your left at
GPS N 40° 27.918' W 111° 36.532'.
From the Ridge, Matt and our Team Mascott Jackie
look over the valley towards a cloud-covered Mount Timpanogos. Photo August 21, 1999 by
|Payoff time. The Tibble Fork Trail is a 3-mile advanced-technical descent
that will leave you grinning. You'll drop around 2000 feet over logs, roots, rocks and
Tibble Fork dries out a little later than other AF Canyon trails. But
it can get pretty slimy sometimes in summer, too, especially
if the horses have stirred it up by stomping through the mud. After a big
rain, consider whether you want to ride this trail -- not just because
it's tricky when wet, but to avoid rutting up the trail.
The camera catches Matt on the first bounce, during one of several vicious wipeouts
on the Tibble Fork Trail, muddied by a big rainstorm. Photo August 21, 1999 by Bruce Argyle
||Portions of the trail are usually snowbound until late June or early July.
Snow usually closes the trail again in late October.
The mountains to your south and west (Timpanogos, Box Elder) are formed
of limestone from around 320 million years ago. The peaks to the north
(Ant Hill, Lone Peak) are formed of granite from an igneous intrusion of
around 26 million years ago.
Goldeneye or arnica, a member of the daisy family, laden with pollen after the night's
rain. This flower blooms in late summer to early fall. Photo August 21, 1999 by Bruce
|An alternate route avoids the tougher climb on the Pine Hollow Trail.
Instead of leaving the pavement at Pine Hollow, continue up the road another 2 miles or
so, then make a right at the Timpooneke Campground. Go 1/2 mile to the parking area for
the Timpooneke Trail.
Timpooneke (Great Western)
Trail, but turn left across the creek. When you reach the 4-way near
Salamander Flat, turn left over the creek. Keep straight past the Pine
Hollow Trail as it joins on the left, then turn left onto Ridge Trail 157
a bit later.
There are several beautiful meadows that interrupt the descent
on the Tibble Fork Trail. Here the Doc takes in the
scenery. Photo August 21, 1999 by Matt Flygare.
||Getting there: From I-15, take the Alpine-Highland exit
just south of Point-of-the-Mountain. Go east towards the mountains on UT-92 and continue
up American Fork Canyon. There's a $6 fee (as of 2009). About 6 miles up the canyon, turn left at the
North Fork junction and drive 2 miles to Tibble Fork Reservoir. (While riding the loop,
you'll ride up the South Fork from this same junction.) Or park at the junction and end
your ride with a 2-mile road cruise from the reservoir.