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White Pine Lake

The White Pine Lake trail is a popular hiking route in Logan Canyon. It's also used by mountain bikers, either as an out-and-back ride or as part of the Bunchgrass shuttled ride. It's a fairly technical ride due to embedded boulders, but can be managed by strong intermediates who are willing to walk their bike through the cruel spots.

Bruce cruises along White Pine Lake. Original ride and write-up 2007, this review August 9, 2018.

The out-and-back consists of a 3.5 mile ride to the intersection with the Bunchgrass trail, a 0.8 mile loop that takes you down along the edge of the lake, then back again. It's 8 miles, with 1400 feet of climbing overall. The entire ride takes place at over 8000 feet elevation.

So the riders who will enjoy this route are aerobically conditioned to altitude, strong enough to tackle steep pitches, and experienced at working over and around the boulders in the trail.

Navigating the many embedded boulders. Dodge 'em or ride over top.

The ride begins at Tony Grove Lake at an elevation of 8050 feet. Note that the parking lot at Tony Grove is a Forest Service fee area ($7 per car in 2018, no discounts).

Climbing away from Tony Grove Lake as we begin the ride.

Go to the northwest (uphill) corner of the parking lot and find the correct trail. The climbing is not constant, nor are the techy boulders a non-stop feature. There are stretches of flat pedaling on smooth trail. Most of the riding is sun-exposed -- at this elevation it's not a problem of heat; it's the UV exposure. Slather on the sunblock.

Crossing a meadow of wildflowers.

The vegetation is a nice mix. There are meadows of sage and wildflowers, mixed well with small stands of aspen or fir. The ride is constantly changing.

The one constant feature, though is beautiful scenery. This ride is eye candy.

Aspens are found here and there, but this old pack trail avoids the dense woods. So you won't find a lot of shaded riding.

In general, keep to the right at any trail forks during the climb. You'll run across a couple of trail forks where the left trail takes you toward Mount Naomi. (All forks were marked with wooden trail signs during my ride.)

At mile 2.7, you reach the ride's highest point at 8800 feet as you cross a ridgeline and begin the descent toward the lake. You're about to hit the toughest 1/2 mile of the ride. Intermediates will walk much of this on the downhill, and almost all of it when coming back uphill.

Crossing the ridge to begin the descent to White Pine Lake.

The trail hugs the side of the mountain as it descends through fir forest. The terrain is rich with embedded boulders. Steeper spots, in particular, tend to be a stair-step plunge down rock gardens. But it's all ride-able, 100%.

Narrow trail with boulders that have to be taken head-on. Plus roots.

As the trail flattens out, you've got some plush riding as you approach the lake. At the four-way trail intersection, pick your riding direction. Straight takes you counterclockwise around the lake loop, while a left turn is clockwise. (The trail to the right is the Bunchgrass trail.)

Pedaling toward the final little ridge (made of glacial till) before the lake.

Plan for a picnic at the lake. There are shaded spots on the northwest corner of the loop that are perfect for this.

There are also numbered tent campsites on the northern side of the lake loop, if you're interested in a bike-packing campout. (No road serves the lake. Anyone who camps here has to hike or bike in.)

The trail runs parallel to the lake for a bit. This area is full of wildflowers in July.

The cliffs across the lake are visually interesting. The lower white layer is Swan Peak quartzite, laid down about 450 million years ago when the area was a sandy beach. Then the ocean moved inward, and the Fish Haven dolomite -- a magnesium-rich limestone-like rock, was deposited in shallow brackish seas. That's the blue-gray layer above.

View of the rock layers across the lake.

Enjoy a bit of easy cruising as you leave the loop and head back.  Once you hit the slope, you've got around 400 vertical feet to climb in under 1/2 mile. Add the boulder-fields and, well, everybody walks some of the climb.

Climbing uphill from the lake.

I suggest taking frequent photo and scenery-gawking breaks. At this altitude, even walking your bike uphill will be taxing.

Ride what you can.

Once you cross the ridge, it's pretty much downhill all the way. There will be smooth sections but a lot of the downhill is boulder-bumping, tombstone-dodging techy. So you rarely will be able to simply let the bike fly.

Three miles of fun downhill.

As you descend, keep in mind that this is a very popular hiking route. Even on weekdays, you will encounter many foot soldiers. There aren't many blind corners and sight-lines are usually fairly long. But the loose trail surface means you'll take a bit longer to brake than you'd think.

Dodging the some boulders and rolling over the top of others.

Bottom Line

Great ride for strong skilled altitude-tolerant riders. Short, but still a fair amount of work. Beautiful scenery.

See also:  Bunchgrass trail

Descending the final meadow down to Tony Grove.

Riding notes, from Tony Grove Lake:
0.0    Northwest corner of parking, pick correct trail
         N41 53.705 W111 38.552    Elevation 8000 feet
         (Check sign! White Pine Lake)
0.3    Fork R   N41 53.900 W111 38.558
0.9    Fork R   N41 54.351 W111 38.647

2.6    Top of ridge 8800 feet, descend
3.5    4-way: L=lake loop, R=descend
         N41 55.381 W111 39.008
4.2    Back at 4-way, go straight through
5.0    Cross ridge and begin downhill
7.9    Back at Tony Grove

 Out and back ride...

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

Getting there:  In Logan, turn east at 400 North on US-89 towards Logan Canyon (about 2 miles). Drive 21 miles from the canyon mouth. At the sign for Tony Grove Lake, turn left, then immediately turn left again. (Right goes to a campground.) Now drive 7 miles uphill to the end of the pavement at Tony Grove Lake. There are bathrooms and camping at the lake. Pay your fee at the self-service post near the entry sign. The trailhead is at the northwest corner of the parking loop N41 53.705 W111 38.552.
Riding resources for this trail:
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
      GPX track
High-res topo map (1.2 MB):   View
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to Logan resources

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