Timpooneke Loop (Salamander Flat)
The Timpooneke Loop is a favorite of bikers in northern
Utah County. Fairly short and of intermediate difficulty, this trail is great for a quick
after-work ride in the cool alpine splendor of the ridges near Mount Timpanogos.
Chad Hunter looks at
Mount Timpanogos above the trail.
July 12, 1999 by Bruce Argyle
follows the Great Western Trail from the Timpooneke Campground at the base of Mount
Timpanogos up to Ridge Trail 157 at the ridge between American Fork Canyon and Provo
Canyon. It's all singletrack, and it's all great riding!
Altitude gain is 600 feet, but the trail is a gentle
up-and-down rather than a prolonged climb. The trail is 5-1/4 miles round trip. With a few
stops to admire the scenery, the ride is easily completed in 90 minutes.
The Timpooneke Loop and the Timpanogos Perimeter section of the
Great Western begin together (GPS N 40° 25.891' W 111° 38.402') in the
Timpooneke Campground at 7000 feet elevation. Go straight south from the parking
lot on the Timpooneke Trail, then turn left
across a footbridge that crosses the creek onto Salamander Flat Trail #150. (Bikes are NOT allowed on the Timpooneke
as it enters the wilderness area!)
Colorful blossoms of Indian Paintbrush adorn sunny
Picture July 12, 1999, Bruce Argyle
The trail climbs through deep pines, then rolls up and
down through aspen, spruce, choke cherry, and elderberry trees with a riot of wildflowers.
You'll cross a few tiny creeks and a couple of beautiful meadows.
Chad takes a break as the trail winds upward through
Colorado Spruce. July 12, 1999
|You'll follow trail #150 until it joins Pine Hollow heading
uphill. When you reach Ridge Trail 157, turn right. (Left takes you towards the Tibble Fork and Mill Canyon trails that
descend towards Tibble Fork Reservoir.) You'll leave Ridge Trail 157 on the
Ridge Connector #216 trail, descending some switchbacks to the meadow. Here you pick up the original trail
for the return trip. Or, you can follow Ridge 157 to the Summit Trailhead. (See trail
Sticky Geranium blooms in the aspen groves.
Photo July 12, 1999 Bruce Argyle
||In many years, bikers are on the trail beginning in early
May. Occasional snowdrifts and mud spots can persist among the deep pines until late June.
This trail is good for late-season riding. After the Alpine Loop road is closed
(usually November 1), just park at the Pine Hollow trailhead and ride your bike 1.9 miles
up the Loop road, turning right into the Timpooneke Campground to catch the trail. The
trail provides a good riding surface even with several inches of snow.
Chad pops up for the camera. Real
men ride in the snow.
Without a coat. On one wheel.
November 20, 1999.
|For a great 12-mile ride, take the GWT to
Ridge 157 as above, but
turn LEFT. After 1.6 miles, turn right onto the South Fork
trail at the 4-way intersection with the Tibble Fork Trail. Loop down-and-back to the
Alpine Loop summit, then head north on Ridge 157 back to the Pine Hollow trail fork and
roll down to Timpooneke.
||Trail Notes: Straight from parking lot (ignore Great
Western Trail branching off on the right). 0.1m, turn left over bridge. 0.85m left at
fork. 0.9m cross paved road. 1.5m 4-way trail intersection, left on GWT. 2.0m Pine Hollow
trail merges from left, continue straight. 2.65m join Ridge Trail 157, turn right.
trail option 1: 3.05m leave Ridge 157, turning right on Salamander Flat trail.
3.55m 4-way trail intersection, turn right following sign to GWT. After dropping through
creek keep right at fork. 3.75m primitive camping area, turn right and find trail at end
of circle. 3.8m 4-way intersection (same as at 1.5m), turn left onto GWT. Retrace path
back 1.5 miles to parking.
View down the Summit Trail (option 2 above). Box Elder peak is
in the background. September 20, 1999.
|Return trail option 2: Continue on Ridge Trail 157 to the
Alpine Loop Summit. Cross the road to the parking area. Find the Summit Trail at the west
end (on your right as the pavement enters the parking lot) and head downhill. 0.75 miles
later, the trail reaches the loop road. Turn right 30 feet. Find the continuation on the
uphill side of the creek. 1/4 mile later, you'll reach the 4-way trail intersection. Go
straight through. Hang right after dropping through the creek. At the next 4-way
intersection, go straight on the Great Western towards Timpooneke.
Get better performance.
Getting there: From I-15, take the
Alpine-Highland exit and drive 7 miles to the mouth of American Fork Canyon. Pay your
fee (as of 2009) there. Five miles later at the fork in the road, go along the south fork of the river.
About 4 miles up, there's a T in the road. Turn right into the Timpooneke Campground road.
The parking area is on your left about 1/4 mile later.
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