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
Little Rocky is enjoying a cruise around the Soft
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
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Soft Rock Loop
The Soft Rock loop is 0.4 miles. Ride it
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Typical trail on a meander of Gambel, northbound. In
case you're wondering, the trail name comes from "gambel oak,"
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
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 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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
The Rocky Mountain rests on a chunk of Tufa, just
before Tufa rejoins Cowley's Curse.
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
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.
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
Track file, ride hitting all five loops: Download
Area file, with each trail as individual GPX: Download