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Wasatch Mountain State Park
Crows Nest Loop, Spring Pond Loop

Across the road from the Wasatch Mountain State Park Visitor's Center in Midway lie 10 miles of singletrack trail. The trails range from very easy (Huber Grove, a broad cindered path with minimal climbing) to very hard (Visitor Center Loop). The favorite ride here is Crows Nest, a moderately strenuous loop that climbs to a viewpoint in Snake Creek Canyon. As of 2015, there's no fee to park at the visitor center and use these trails -- but expect this to change! 

Looking northeast on the Epperson Trail on the lower mountain. Photos and trail review on August 18, 2015 by Bruce.

The terrain is a combination of gambel oak and tall maple groves, with a couple of aspen and fir trees near the top of the trail system. Much of the riding on the upper mountain will be in the shade. The top altitude is 6700 feet. The trails will clear of snow in early June and remain open into mid-October.

The jump-off for the trails is the Wasatch Mountain State Park visitor's center, at the fork between Pine Canyon Road (Highway 222) and Snake Creek Road (220). There are bathrooms, picnic tables, a fishing pond, and a little store, all surrounded by the golf course.

Looking north from the parking lot towards the fishing pond. The visitor center store is just to the right.

Huber Grove (cindered beginner trail)

From the south end of the parking lot, the cindered Huber Grove trail crosses the Snake Creek road. This is your connection to the singletrack trails. Note that (as of August 2015) the maps at the trailhead do not correspond to the markers on the trails themselves. Hopefully my description will help you make sense of the trail system.

Ready to get started. The wide cindered Huber Grove trail takes you across Snake Creek Road, then connects to the narrow singletracks.

The Huber Grove trail runs gently uphill parallel to Snake Creek Road. After 0.7 miles, it crosses over to the north side of the road to end on the grass near Huber Grove. All of the stuff you're interested in will be on the portion south of the road.

Huber Grove connects uphill to the singletrack system via the Epperson Trail at mile 0.2, 0.5, and 0.7 from parking. Epperson is your connection to the upper mountain.

We've reached the first trail fork on Huber Grove. To the right, the Epperson Trail climbs up the mountain.

Epperson Trail

The southeast end of Epperson climbs up from Huber Grove through a couple of turns, then has a trail fork extending to a neighborhood road. Turn right uphill to head for the main trail system. The trail is narrow but suitable for suitable for experienced beginners.

The Epperson Trail climbs gently northwest parallel to Huber Grove to reach a 5-way trail intersection which is the entry portal to the upper mountain.  Here at the 5-way the northern limb of Epperson heads downhill to rejoin Huber Grove just before Snake Creek Road. Linking the two limbs of Epperson to Huber Grove creates a 1.7-mile beginner lariat loop ride.

Eastbound on Epperson. Smooth and easy pedaling.

Spring Pond

Once you reach the 5-way, whether via the southern limb of Epperson (easier) or the northern limb (steeper), your next available ride is Spring Pond. This is a fairly easy little loop that's also suitable for experienced beginners or early intermediates. The loop is just under a mile in length, returning you back to the 5-way.

Looking uphill on Spring Pond at the 5-way. This route would give you a clockwise ride around the loop.

I recommend the counterclockwise direction. From the 5-way, take the flat trail heading northwest. If you climbed south Epperson, it's straight ahead. If you climbed from the north, take a hard right. Now just keep to the left at all trail forks until Spring Pond drops down through a series of turns to the 5-way.

Too late!!!  The mules ear flowers have shriveled to crunchy brown bacon strips by August. This meadow on the upper half of the Spring Pond loop would have been a riot of blossoms in June.

The Spring Pond Trail is also the route to the tougher rides on the upper mountain. Zip around the loop to warm up your legs and get acquainted with the mountain. You'll see the actual Spring Pond alongside the upper part of the loop, with a couple of picnic tables that make a nice lunch spot for your beginner ride.

Looking north from the trail toward Spring Pond. Now re-christened August Not-a-pond.

The Turnberry Woods Trails

From the 5-way, the Turnberry Woods trail heads southeast, absolutely flat, along a pipeline corridor. (As you look around the five-way, it's the flat trail between the southern limb of the Epperson Trail heading east downhill and the eastern end of the Spring Pond loop trail climbing south uphill.)

All of the connectors to Links Drive (there are three) are apparently called the Turnberry Woods Trail. This includes the lower trail connecting the bottom of Epperson to Links Drive. To avoid confusion, I've labeled the upper trail with "(pipeline)" on the map.

All the Turnberry Woods trails head southeast before dropping down to pavement on Links Drive.

The trail splints after 0.5 miles. The lower (flat) section heads to a viewpoint on the gravel road near the water tank. The upper (right) fork climbs a bit, crosses the water tank road, then extends south before dropping down to Links Drive -- one mile from the 5-way. It's worth a quick trip out-and-back for the view over the Midway area.

Looking southeast from near the water tank. The Crater is a travertine dome over a deep hot springs. Inside you'll find scuba diving and snorkeling. (Smoke-choked view courtesy of forest fires in Oregon.)

Crows Nest Loop Trails

The official Crows Nest Loop is at the highest point of the trail system. When riding the Spring Pond loop counterclockwise, you can get to the Crows Nest Loop via the twisty Wild Turkey trail, 0.4 miles from the 5-way. Or you can continue another 0.2 miles to a straighter trail that I'm guessing is called the Crows Nest Trail. Either way, it's 0.7 miles with 350 vertical feet of climbing to reach the upper loop. At this point, a 0.3 mile trail rolls across the mountain between the Crows Nest Trail and Wild Turkey to form the bottom of the Crows Nest Loop.

Heading through maple forest on the northern side of the Crows Nest Loop.

The southern half of the Crows Nest Loop (which I'm still calling the Crows Nest Trail) follows an old bench cut but is narrow singletrack. It climbs 250 vertical in 0.7 miles. The northern limb -- the continuation of Wild Turkey -- has the same 250 vertical over 0.5 miles. My ride below uses the two southern straighter parts (Crows Nest Trail) for the climb and the twisty Wild Turkey Trail for the descent.

Looking down from the Crows Nest toward a pond on the golf course.

The actual Crows Nest viewpoint wasn't marked (August 2015). Near the ride's highest point where the trail turns from northbound to southbound, look for a faint trail in low scrub oak on the north side. It goes about 20 feet to a sorta-circle of rock. That's the Crows Nest. I think.

View northeast toward the Pioneer Peak and Lake Mary area. On the other side of these granite ridges are the Cottonwood canyons.

The Crows Nest ride is a satisfying climb but is probably too strenuous for most intermediate riders. If you choose to climb Wild Turkey (as I did), spinning up through the many turns will tax your legs.

The riding surface is fairly smooth. The track is narrow, but not painfully so. On the southern limb, thick tall grass occasionally caught in the rear drivetrain. But 2015 saw extremely tall vegetation so this may not be an issue during other years.

Descending eastbound through maple forest, on a rare flat stretch.

The Visitor Center Loop

In 2015, this loop is overgrown and in serious need of some TLC. The tread is very narrow and often littered with loose rock. Oak brush is encroaching on the trail, making it impossible to get through some areas without scratches. Until it sees some pruning, consider it an adventure ride.

The Visitor Center Loop also starts and ends at the 5-way, sharing a short bit of trail at the bottom with the Spring Pond Loop. The loop is 1.6 miles in length, with around 500 feet of climbing.

The north side of the loop lies in maple forest with grass understory.

The northern portion is a very narrow ribbon twisting through tall grass under old maple forest. There's 300 vertical in 1/2 mile. Pretty stiff climbing if you're riding counterclockwise.

The southern piece of the loop runs to the ridgeline. It's very narrow with occasional chunky rock. Encroaching oak brush will scratch your arms and shins. This forces you to creep along, messing up what could otherwise be a satisfying ride. (Please let me know when the trail receives maintenance, so I can edit this less-than-stellar review.)

Descending on the south side of the Visitor Center Loop, I sucked my elbows against my stomach to minimize the interaction with scratchy oak branches. 

Bottom Line:  Worth the trip, with some qualifications. Beginners and families can easily ride Huber Grove, but it's short at 1.5 miles out-and-back. For experienced beginners and early intermediates, the riding on Epperson and Spring Pond is worthwhile and satisfying. Only strong upper-intermediates and advanced riders should consider the Crows Nest Loop. It's a fun ride but is just too steep for unhardened legs. At this time, I can't endorse the Visitor Center Loop -- I'm waiting for a bandage manufacturer to pay me before I'll send you on this skin-scratching journey.

Wasatch Mountain State Park fee:  $7 per vehicle, $4 for seniors. This was NOT being collected for parking at the visitor's center during my ride in 2015, but self-service fee stations were installed in 2016 for all of Wasatch Mountain State Park's Pine Canyon (WOW trail) and Dutch Hollow. So come prepared to pay a fee and consider yourself lucky if you don't.

Riding notes, Spring Pond to Crows Nest Loop
0.0   South from parking, cross road
        N40 31.975 W111 29.428
0.2   Stay on Huber Grove (R = return path)
        N40 32.062 W111 29.600
0.7   L on singletrack (?Epperson)
        N40 32.396 W111 29.917
0.9   5-way intersection N40 32.293 W111 30.002
        Straight uphill, Spring Pond 
1.1   R toward Spring Pond (L = Visitor Ctr Loop)
        N40 32.246 W111 30.041
1.2   Keep R (L = The Cut)
        N40 32.254 W111 30.099
1.25 Keep R (L = Visitor Ctr Loop)
        N40 32.270 W111 30.148
1.3   L uphill toward Crows Nest
        N40 32.346 W111 30.190
1.8   Straight (R = Loop over to Wild Turkey)
        N40 32.153 W111 30.516
2.6   Crows Nest viewpoint on L
        N40 32.535 W111 30.855
3.0   Keep L (R = loop over to uphill trail)
        N40 32.403 W111 30.589
        Wild Turkey trail
3.7   Fork L (R = upper Spring Pond Loop)
        N40 32.417 W111 30.301
4.1   Back at 5-way, veer downhill soft L
        N40 32.293 W111 30.002
        (Straight = pipeline)
4.5   L downhill (R = to Links Drive)
        N40 32.029 W111 29.615
4.6   R on Huber Grove N40 32.062 W111 29.600
4.8   Back at parking
Getting there, Visitor Center:  From Provo Canyon, drive east to the end of Deer Creek Reservoir. Right where the water ends, turn left (north) on U-113. Drive north 3.8 miles into Midway. On Main Street, turn left (west) onto Highway 222 (may appear as 224 on maps). Follow the signs for Wasatch Mountain State Park. Go two blocks west  to 200 East and turn north (right). At 200 North turn back west (left). After 1/2 mile SR 222 will turn north (right) again. After about a mile it will curve around to the west. At the intersection where Snake Creek Road is straight ahead and 222 turns right (north), keep straight, then immediately pull into the parking area of the Wasatch Mountain State Park visitor center.
From Salt Lake City, go up Parleys Canyon on I-80, then turn right (south) on US-40. Drive all the way into the middle of Heber, then at 100 South turn right on SR 113 to Midway. In Midway, continue straight as SR 113 turns south, and you'll be on SR 222. Follow the directions as above.
Riding resources:
Single-page riding guide, loop above 
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
   GPX multi-track area file
   Loop ride Spring Pond to Crows Nest
High-res topo map:  View map 
Lodging, camping, shops:    Links to area resources

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