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19th Avenue Trail

The 19th Avenue trail is a one-way downhill trail above the Avenues area of northeastern Salt Lake City. It must be reached via the Avenues Section of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST), so a trip on 19th Avenue will be a solid ride in both miles and climbing. The trail is intended to take west-bound downhill bikes off the BST to reduce conflicts with hikers on this portion of Salt Lake's foothill trail system.

View south as we descend 19th Avenue. Photos and description by Bruce on September 10, 2021.

The trail is 3.3 miles long. It starts near the highest point on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail 0.2 miles west of the Bobsled trail fork, or 3.5 miles from the BST trailhead on Bonneville Blvd. The 19th Avenue trail is intermediate in skill requirement. The expected riding season is May through November, with the option for winter riding when conditions permit.

Climbing the one-way East City Creek section of the BST. In this photo, I'm 1/2 mile into the ride, with 3 miles to go before I reach the eastern side of 19th Avenue.

Peak elevation is 5750 feet where 19th Avenue forks away from the BST near the top of Bobsled. There's 1050 feet of elevation loss over the length of the trail as you go east to west. There are frequent twists and dips, but most riders will have enough momentum to carry them up the many short uphill spots. The last mile has the steepest downhill pitches, dropping 550 vertical feet as the trail leaves the Bonneville shelf and drops toward the bottom of City Creek Canyon.

Entry to 19th Avenue. We're on the BST, looking west. The BST is the trail on the left; 19th Avenue is on the right. (I came via the BST and I'm using the wide spot here to make a 180-degree turn and snap a photo.) Note that there are no trail name-posts. The green sign says "Wheels Not Heels."

My sample ride is an out-and-back ride from City Creek. It will have 1300 vertical feet of overall climbing and a total distance of 7.2 miles. It includes a one-way uphill outgoing path for the first mile, then two-way BST for 2.5 miles, then one-way downhill trail back into City Creek Canyon. There's 0.4 miles in the biking/hiking lane of Bonneville Blvd to join the two trailheads to complete the loop. The by-the-mile description of this ride is below.

A bit into the ride on 19th Avenue. The undulating track here is typical, as the trail twists and dips constantly.

There's a short connector trail from the BST to the middle of 19th Avenue at mile 2.5 from City Creek Canyon. If you use this cutoff to make a shorter loop, you'll cut one mile and 250 vertical feet off the BST, and 1.1 miles off the descent on 19th Avenue. This would make a ride of 5.1 miles with just over 1000 feet of climbing.

A bit of shade as we roll into a side canyon.

The terrain is mostly exposed grass hillside. There are intermittent stands of scrub oak with an occasional maple. There will be views over the entire Salt Lake Valley. Trail signs are few, with many critical intersections remaining unmarked in 2021. In fact, there's one spot near the 18th Avenue trailhead where I can guarantee a casual newcomer will become lost. A navigation app is highly recommended!

Looking west at the buildings of downtown Sale Lake City.

The trail surface is gray-brown dirt with occasional small round boulders. It's a narrow bench-cut, with frequent twists and dips that will require focus to ride. This is what gives the trail its intermediate rating. Once the trail begins to drop into City Creek Canyon, there will be a few tight switchback turns.

Rolling around another drainage.

My sample ride starts at the pavilion parking area on one-way Bonneville Blvd in City Creek. You'll need to access it from the intersection of 11th Avenue with B Street. While my by-the-mile description assumes you'll start at the pavilion, there's room for around six vehicles at the bottom of the 19th Avenue trail (just before the junction with the City Creek road). If you park at the downhill end, it's an easy barely-uphill cruise up to the BST entry.

Looking south as the trail hits a couple of hairpin banked turns.

The initial climb is fairly steady exertion on the one-way City Creek BST. You'll gain 500 vertical feet. Pass the I Street bike park on your right (at this spot, the downhill trail is just a few feet downhill on your left).

Another side drainage in a grove of box elder. We're almost to the spot where we'll rejoin the two-way BST for 1/10th of a mile.

At mile 1.3, veer left uphill at the trail fork. (The right fork traverses past the top of the I Street bike park to the 18th Avenue trailhead.) As you reach the broad doubletrack, turn a bit left, then pick the right-hand side as the wide trail splits. Your goal is to work eastbound into the broad valley. When you see singletrack on your right across the valley, take it. This little segment of two-way trail combines the BST with 19th Avenue.

We've just climbed out of the little valley. If we keep straight, we'll hit this entry into the one-way downhill section.

At the end of the valley, the 19th Avenue trail comes in from the left. Keep straight and begin a cruel stretch of climbing.

At mile 2.5 from the trailhead, turn right at a singletrack trail fork. The left-hand option goes 100 yards up to join the 19th Avenue trail for a shorter ride option.

Descending through oak, grass, and sunflowers.

At mile 3.5, make a 180-degree turn onto 19th Avenue, which lies just uphill from the BST. Then at mile 4.6, go through a wide and unmarked 5-way trail intersection to find singletrack veering to the right on the far side.

We're now descending the steep sides of City Creek Canyon.

You'll temporarily rejoin the BST at mile 5.6. As the trail comes up the levee on the west side of the valley, keep straight as it crosses two wide foot trails. Now you're on the final stretch, with the 19th Avenue trail also serving as the descending limb of the BST into City Creek Canyon.

At the trailhead, you can turn left on pavement to complete the ride, or go further on the Ensign Peak / City Creek section of the BST.

Coming into a banked hairpin turn near the bottom.

Ride notes, from pavilion parking
0.0   Singletrack across from parking
1.0   Pass entry to I-Street bike park
1.3   Fork L (R = to 18th Ave TH or bike park)
1.4   Left, then keep R on wide track
1.45 R through valley
1.6   Keep R (L = return route 19th Ave)
2.1   Straight and level
        (L = old trail, R = descend to Terrace Hills Dr)
2.5   Fork R (L = cutoff to 19th Ave)
3.0   Keep L (hard R = connector from Terrace Hills)
3.5   Hard L (Twin Peaks trail connects from uphill
        Hiking trails on saddle at L
        Straight = continue BST
4.6   Straight then R (wide old trail crosses)
        L on ST = connector to BST
5.6   Join BST then keep straight
5.7   Cross BST connector, keep straight
5.75 Keep straight and cross wide trail
6.8   At Bonneville Blvd, go L uphill
7.2   Back at parking

Getting there:
In northeast Salt Lake City, climb B street northbound. At 11th Avenue, keep straight to enter one-way Bonneville Blvd. The right lane is for vehicles, while the left lane is for hikers and bikes. Drive 1/10th mile, then turn left into the pavilion parking area. The climbing limb of the BST is across the road from the entry into parking. (Note that the other trails you'll see below you in the valley are hiking-only.)
There is additional parking at the bottom of City Creek where the 19th Avenue trail hits the road. (Note that you can't ride uphill on this section of trail! You'll need to pedal uphill to the climbing limb of the BST across from the pavilion.) This lower trailhead also accesses the northbound City Creek (Ensign Peak) section of the BST.
As you drive away after your ride, you'll need to continue around the one-way loop until it ends on 500 North. There's no water or bathrooms at the trailheads at the time of this review.
Riding resources for this trail:
GPS track files and route (right-click and "Save as..."):
   GPX multi track area file 
Map above in new window for printing:  View
Lodging, camping, shops:
       Links to northern SLC resources
       Links to Ogden area resources

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