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Valley Vista Trail System
Soft Rock, Rose, Gamble, Fault Line and Cowley's Curse loops
Foothill, Molly's and Cowley's Cure trails

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 with 6 miles of trail. There are around 6 miles of bike trail. An expansion in 2019 added 3 more miles of trail.

Little Rocky is enjoying a cruise around the Soft Rock loop. Original photos and ride description June 30, 2016 by Bruce. Latest update July 8, 2019.

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.

You can also ride from the Canyon Road trailhead. The Foothill singletrack trail leaves the Murdock Canal Trail about half-way between the two Murdock Canal trailheads. It winds quickly uphill, then contours the hill southbound until it reaches the trail kiosk at the bottom of the Soft Rock (first) loop.

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.

 Valley Vista 2017 video...

 If the above video does not appear on your browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

 
Individual Valley Vista trails, bottom to top on a counterclockwise ride
 
Foothill Trail
The Foothill trail is one of the few Valley Vista trails that doesn't form a singletrack loop. But it does form a loop ride when combined with the paved Murdock Canal trail.

Foothill runs along the hillside from the main trail kiosk to the Murdock Canal trail. It's 0.8 miles long with only about 70 feet of elevation change. The trail is very easy technically except for a series of S turns at the north end. Beginners will find these turns hard to ride, but it's a very short section and is easily walked.

Looking northwest over Utah Valley. The trail is a meandering bench-cuton the hillside above the Murdock Canal trail. 

Foothill starts at the main trail kiosk, heading straight north parallel to the Murdock Canal trail. As you approach the kiosk when arriving at the kiosk from the Wade Springs trailhead, keep to the left and northbound and you're on Foothill. Cruise down and through the gate, where you'll notice a connector to the paved canal trail.

At mile 0.8, the trail descends quickly through banked turns. At the Murdock Canal trail, turn left to return to the Valley Vista trailhead. Or do the Foothill trail as an out-and-back.

Bruce heads back into the trailhead area from Foothill. 

The north end of Foothill can be reached directly via the Murdock Canal Trail. When riding from the north, it's on the left (uphill) side 0.9 miles from the Murdock Canal Canyon Road trailhead (just southeast of where the paved trail passes under the canyon road). To reach the north end of Foothill from Wade Springs via the Murdock Canal trail, go one mile north on the paved trail.

The twisty turns at the north end. Not tricky, but hard for a brand-new beginner to hold the proper riding line.

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. Just keep straight as Cowley's Cure joins on your right, watching out for merging riders.

A ride that hits the lower three loops (turning back downhill at the top of Gambel, without any duplication of loops) 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.

Molly's Trail
Molly's trail runs high on the hillside parallel to the old Bench Road north of the main Valley Vista trails. It's one mile long, with only trivial elevation change. Molly's is an easy trail, suitable for beginners.

Molly's trail can be hard to find if you don't know exactly where it is. And if you don't find Molly's, you also won't find the top of Cowley's Cure. To reach Molly's you MUST go onto the Bench Road.

View south as Molly's leaves the Bench Road from Cedar Hills. 

From Cedar Hills:  Get on the Bench Road and pedal south. Just after you pass the last home, veer to the right onto the singletrack.

Upper Bench Road:  Follow the road downhill 0.4 miles from the top of Cowley's Curse, around the gully and up the hill. Find Molly's on your left.

From Cowley's Curse:  Stay on Cowley's Curse as it touches the Bench Road and descend 1.1 miles from the Bench Road through a few long meanders (past Viking Run and Tufa). As you enter a 180-degree turn, note the connecting spur to the Bench Road on your right. Go to the road, keeping straight, and pedal around the gully and up the little hill. At the top, Molly's forks away to your left.

Typical terrain on Molly's. Not as pretty. 

When northbound on Molly's (coming from Cowley's Curse in the main Valley Vista loop system), the trail fork for Cowley's Cure is 1/4 mile north of the spot where Molly's forked away from the Bench Road. Turn to the left downhill to begin Cowley's Cure.

If you keep to the right, Molly's will take you north and join the Bench Road for a cruise to Cedar Hills.

Looking south over the intersection between Molly's and Cowley's Cure. 

Cowley's Cure
Cowley's Cure is an expert-level one-way downhill trail, 1.1 miles long with 150 feet of elevation change. The top is on Molly's Trail north of the main loop system. (See the instructions above! You won't find Cowley's Cure unless you know exactly how to get to Molly's.)  

Noah hits a bump as we roll into Cowley's Cure. There are a few of these "speed bumps" at the first of the trail -- some of them basically rockpiles -- which serve notice that you're not on a beginner trail any more. 

Cowley's Cure descends gently northbound for a bit, rolling over a couple of rockpiles and bumps. At mile 0.2 from Molly's, Cowley's Cure hits a a series of hugely banked S turns. There are even some air opportunities. Some fun here! Cowley's loses most of its elevation just in this one short section.

Bruce rolls out of the final corner on the muti-S-turns. 

Cowley's Cure now begins a long gently-descending traverse southbound on the hillside. You'll probably need to pedal occasionally to keep your speed up.

Cowley's Cure ends on the second-to-last turn of the north (downhill) side of Gambel. Keep right as you join Gambel, and descend down to the Gambel-Rose intersection to decide on your next move.

View to the west over Utah Lake and Lake Mountain from upper Cowley's Cure. 

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.

 Valley Vista 2019 Bruce Blues Band video...

 If the above video does not appear on your browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

Map shows phase 1 trails

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.

GPS Track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
    Loop ride hitting all five main loops:   Download track 
    Area file, with each trail as individual track:  Download

Print maps:  Open this map in new window
     Open map below

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

Finding the 2019 expansion trails!

The Foothill trail is easily found. It starts at the main trail kiosk. As you approach the kiosk from the Murdock Canal trail, keep to the left and northbound and you're on Foothill.

The north end of Foothill can be reached directly via the Murdock Canal Trail. When riding from the north, it's on the left (uphill) side 0.9 miles from the Murdock Canal Canal Road (highway 146) trailhead. To reach the north end of Foothill from Wade Springs via Murdock, go one mile north on the paved trail.

Molly's trail is reached via the gravel bench road. You can take the bench road south from Cedar Hills and veer right onto Molly's as you pass the last home. Or, from the Grove Creek trailhead, you can take the bench road north. Pass the Cowley's Curse entry at mile 0.5. Now keep left downhill as the road splits and descends. A spur joins on your left, going to Cowley's Curse, but stay on the road. Go around the ravine and climb uphill. At the top, Molly's forks away to the right.Cowley's Cure is 1/4 mile north on Molly's. (See above for information on connecting to Molly's within the trail system.)