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Middle 157 Expert Loop
This is a tougher version of the middle portion of Ridge 157, intended for expert riders. There's an easier ride using this same portion of Ridge 157 called the Mill Canyon Springs Loop. The ride starts on the Cascade Springs Road, climbs South Fork to Ridge 157, then descends via a new singletrack back to the South Fork Trail. The lariat loop as described here is 5.5 miles, with 1000 vertical feet of climbing. Peak altitude is 8400 feet. Middle Ridge 157 is much harder ridden south-to-north, and the singletrack descent from Ridge 157 back to South Fork is steep and narrow. (Riding up the Mill Canyon to South Fork connector is not recommended.)
Park at the bottom of the Deer Creek South Fork trail, on the right side of Cascade Springs road, about 1.5 miles from the Alpine Loop summit. Go across the road and find the northern limb of the Deer Creek South Fork Trail. It will drop past a primitive campsite, cross a creek on a small wooden bridge, then begin climbing through a meadow. 0.7 miles uphill, you'll climb a short but very steep spot then descend a bit and suddenly turn left. Just a few feet after the turn, look to your right. That trail is the return route from the top of Mill Canyon. Go straight past it for now.
When the trail reaches the top of the ridge, you'll find yourself at a 4-day trail intersection. Turn right onto northbound Ridge 157. The trail begins climbing. You've got another 400 vertical to go. When the trail breaks out onto doubletrack, turn hard right and go into the turn-around area. On the far (left) side of the turnaround, looking out over short scrub, you'll find the downhill singletrack.
The singletrack will meander down the ridge for about 1/2 mile, then suddenly turn 150-degrees to the right. Now you'll begin descending through aspen and fir forest. Sometimes the underbrush is tight, but you should be able to follow the trail easily here.
After dropping through two small creeks, you'll climb slightly to find yourself looking at a large meadow. The ground squirrels recycle the soil rapidly here, and the grass quickly hides the trail. Look across the slope and see if you can spot a couple of rockpiles. Plot your course as a straight line along the cairns. If you don't see the rocks, look towards Timpanogos, then look down to the "hump" of the fir-covered hill just below the peaks. Directly below the middle of the hump -- that's where you're headed. Take your bearing and start riding. Find the continuing trail as it enters the aspens. After just a few feet, it's suddenly easy to follow again.
Counterclockwise loop, riding notes:
  

0.0   Cross the paved road, find the trail
        N 40 26.828 W 111 36.491
0.7   Keep L at fork after sharp turn
        N 40 27.233 W 111 36.390
1.6   Right at 4-way at ridgetop
        N 40 27.547 W 111 36.894
3.2   ST hits DT, hard R
       
N 40 28.057 W 111 35.675
        From turnaround, L on ST downhill
4.2   Meadow, trail may be faint
        Aim for "hump" of forested hill
4.8   Back at South Fork, turn L
        N 40 27.233 W 111 36.390
5.5   Back at Cascade Springs Road

Getting there: (Cascade Springs Road trailhead) 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 right at the North Fork junction. Drive up to the summit of the Alpine Loop, then turn left on the Cascade Springs Road. About 1.5 miles later, turn right on a gravel road and park. GPS N 40 26.801' W 111 36.489'. Cross the paved road and find the singletrack that crosses the stream and climbs the meadow.

Copyright 2002 Mad Scientist Software Inc. Trail conditions change. Use this trail guide at your own risk.