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Valley Vista Trail System
Soft Rock, Rose, Gamble, and Cowley's Curse loops

The Valley Vista trail system is in the foothills of Pleasant Grove between the Murdock Canal Trail and the Bench Road. It's a network of interconnected loops for riders of all abilities, completed in September 2016. There are around 6 miles of bike trail.

Little Rocky is enjoying a cruise around the Soft Rock loop. Photos and ride description June 30, 2016 by Bruce. Latest update September 11, 2016.

The trails can be reached via the paved Murdock Canal Trail. The closest trailhead is Wade Spring, located on 1100 North at approximately 650 East. The trailhead includes bathroom, shaded picnic area, and water.

Looking north near the trailhead entry.

From Wade Springs, the trail system is reached by pedaling 0.2 miles north on the Murdock Canal Trail. Veer right and gently uphill on a gravel doubletrack. A bit over 100 yards uphill, the entry to the first singletrack loop Soft Rock is on your right.

The trails below are listed in the order you'd encounter them during a counterclockwise ride up to the Bench Road and back. The system is marked with carsonite trail posts, so you'll always know where you are.

Your target is the gap between the trees at the top of this little hill. Just veer to the right and head uphill on the doubletrack.

Soft Rock Loop
The Soft Rock loop is 0.4 miles. Ride it counterclockwise. The trail lies in an area of mixed second-growth forest and is mostly shaded. Yes, it will get toasty warm in the summer afternoons. But it's easy work, with a whopping 40 feet of elevation gain from the canal trail to the top of the loop.

A couple of unusual rocks -- appearing to be tufa, a type of concretion formed in water similar to travertine -- line the lower part of the loop.

The trail surface is firm and smooth as silk. I ride a lot of brand-new trail, so this one was a pleasant surprise. No hateful bump-rock-and-root-fest while trying to envision what the trail may one day become. This trail is already superb. Thoroughly packed, buffed, and bermed with excellent riding lines.

A couple of bermed wiggles in tall oak brush as the trail descends through a turn.

Rose Loop

The Rose loop begins in the middle of upper Soft Rock, with a trail connector for both directions. All of the loops are designed to ride in the counterclockwise direction -- starting southbound as you enter the loop.

Rose is firm and twisty with a character similar to Soft Rock, but shorter at only 0.3 miles.

Southbound in the morning shadows on Rose.

Gambel Loop

At the upper north corner of Rose, Gambel connects on the uphill side. The Gambel loop is a mile long, and requires a bit more ability to ride. I'd call it solid-to-upper intermediate.

Gambel will cross over the horse route (Giddy Up) a few times as it winds back and forth on the southern side. As with the other loops, Gambel is built to ride counterclockwise, so you'll ride up the southern side and descend on the north.

On the upper north corner of Gambel, we get this view of the valley to the northwest as we approach a speed turn.

The north (downhill) side of the Gambel Loop is significantly more technical than anything you'll encounter on Soft Rock or Rose. But there's nothing too treacherous.

A ride that hits the lower three loops (without any duplication) will be 1.7 miles with 150 vertical feet of climbing.

If you continue further uphill from Gambel, you'll more than double your distance and climbing.

Typical trail on a meander of Gambel, northbound. In case you're wondering, the trail name comes from "gambel oak," not gambling.

Cowley's Curse Loop

Cowley's Curse is the longest section of the trail system at 2.3 miles. It starts counterclockwise at the far southeast (uphill) corner of the Gambel Loop. You'll climb 200 vertical feet over the first 0.8 miles to reach the top point of the trail system. Cowley's is intermediate in technical difficulty. 

Turning onto Cowley's Curse from the upper corner of Gambel.

At the southeast corner of Cowley's Curse, the Fault Line trail heads south -- and then rejoins the Cowley loop just a few feet uphill around the turn -- as Cowley's turns to the north. The trail will join the Bench Road for a short distance before descending.

The lower Bonneville Shoreline Trail joins the Bench Road 0.2 miles north of the spot where Cowley's leaves the dirt road. You can use this route to climb up to Mahogany Mountain.

Northbound near the top of Cowley's.

The descent isn't continuous, as you'll have to climb occasionally. Enjoy the views of the valley on those spots where the tech factor eases and the slope eases. I found Cowley's significantly easier than Gambel on the downhill.

Cowley's is more exposed than the lower trails. The terrain is mostly grass with scattered sage brush. While there are occasional groves of trees, this part of the hill will be toasty in the afternoon.

Looking south as we coast into a turn while descending.

On the downhill side, you'll pass the entry to two downhill trails, Viking Run and Tufa. These rejoin Cowley's a little lower on the mountain. Save these for your second lap around.

There are also a couple of short alternate lines that are slightly more technical. All of these intersections are well marked with carsonite posts.

Short tricky spot as the trail hits some nasty rocks in a stand of large oak.

Fault Line Loop

The Fault Line loop forks away from Cowley's Curse as the loop turns north just below the Bench Road. It rejoins just 20 feet uphill. This meander is 0.7 miles long. You'll descend about 50 vertical feet as you head south, then climb back to rejoin Cowley's.

Looking south as we reach the Fault Line fork. Cowley's (on the left) turns 180 degrees here. The Fault Line outgoing trail is just a few feet downhill from the returning trail.

Near the south end of Fault Line, there's a connection to the Bench Road. Use this route if you're heading for the Grove Creek trailhead area, for example to ride the Bonneville Shoreline Trail or the Mahogany Mountain trail.

A loop that includes Soft Rock, Rose, Gambel, Cowley's, and Fault Line (starting from the Murdock trailhead and bypassing the DH options) will be 5.1 miles with 500 vertical feet of overall climbing. See the GPX track link below.

Back northbound on Fault Line.

Viking Run DH route

Two meanders downhill from the top of Cowley's Curse, the Viking Run DH option forks to the right downhill. It bypasses a bit of Cowley's, rejoining it further downhill. Although labeled as an expert route, it's more of an upper-intermediate. At least, in September 2016.

View southwest at the top of Viking Run.

Viking Run is only 1/10th mile long, dropping 50 vertical feet. After the initial plunge, there are some speed turns, then a traverse to rejoin Cowley's.

Some dippity-turns as Viking Run drops away from an old quarry.

Tufa DH route

The Tufa downhill route starts just 1/10th mile downhill from the bottom of Viking Run, as a right fork off Cowley's. This option is also signed as expert but is more of an experienced intermediate ride. There are a couple of plunges, but they're not that steep and not very long.

Tufa swoops and curves as we look back uphill to the northeast.

The Tufa trail is 0.3 miles long, dropping about 80 vertical feet before rejoining Cowley's Curse. It bypasses a 0.6-mile meander of Cowley's loop. 

The Rocky Mountain rests on a chunk of Tufa, just before Tufa rejoins Cowley's Curse.

Bottom line:
Excellent trail system. Well-designed and well-built, nicely marked. Can be a destination ride, or a route to trails higher on the mountain such as Mahogany Mountain.

Current information on this trail system can be found at  https://www.facebook.com/ValleyVistaTrails/

Closeup of tufa. This rock formed at the bottom of prehistoric Lake Bonneville. It's a mash-up of mud, lime, and bits of critters. Note the worm burrows.

Getting there:
From the Canyon Road (100 East Street) in Pleasant Grove, turn east -- towards the mountains -- on 1100 North. When you pass 600 East, watch for the entry to the Wade Spring Murdock Canal Trailhead on your left, just before the paved trail crosses the road. To start the ride, you can exit the parking area on the north by the big white pipe.

Track file, ride hitting all five loops:   Download track 
Area file, with each trail as individual GPX:  Download

Print map:  Open map in new window

Bathroom: Wade Spring trailhead
Water:  All Murdock trailheads
Camping: No
Bike services: UtahMountainBiking in Lehi.