||Bonneville Shoreline Trail
Southern Salt Lake City (Sandy to Draper) section
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST) is a series of trails along the slope of
the Wasatch Mountains where the old shoreline of Lake Bonneville met the hills. Sections
of trail are found from Ogden to Payson. There are a few gaps remaining
between trail segments. The Sandy to Draper section begins after a huge
gap along Salt Lake City's foothills. This trail sees plenty of foot and
bike traffic, because it's "the only game in town" for residents
north of Draper.
We're approaching the huge Bear Canyon suspension
bridge on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail from the south. Original ride
review April 1, 2000. Latest photos, tracks and description by Bruce on
September 28, 2016.
The northern trailhead is found at Hidden Valley Park in Sandy, just off
Wasatch Boulevard around two miles south of Little Cottonwood Canyon.
There are two entries to the trail here, both of which fork off the paved
trail loop in the park.
To the north there's a doubletrack that climbs stiffly to a
more-technical upper trail. A bit further south on the paved loop, a
singletrack connector begins a mellower climb. These two options meet as they cross
a gravel road -- where the combined trail drops down some wood stair-steps
to the Little Willow Creek BST trail bridge
The lower BST connecting trail as it leaves the paved
loop in Hidden Valley Park (looking south).
I'm arbitrarily assigning an end to this BST trail segment at the Corner
Canyon Road in Draper. (I continue the BST trail description further south
and west on the Corner Canyon BST page.) At 1.1 miles up the gravel Corner Canyon
Road, there's a big trailhead with bathroom, picnic tables, and shade. You
can either drive or pedal to this trailhead. (Note that the gravel road
may be closed after winter storms.) Across the road from this trailhead,
the northbound BST begins its trip toward Sandy.
There's also access via the Orson Smith trailhead. See that trail page
After pedaling the Corner Canyon Road to the
trailhead, a rider grabs a bit of hydration before setting out northbound
on the BST.
|And the trail...
The photos and ride description on this page will go from south (Draper CC
Road) to north (Hidden Valley trailhead). I did it both directions twice
in one day and decided I like north-to-south a little better. But if
you're making a loop ride (see below) you can ride either direction and
it's still good.
This trail section is 3.1 miles long (when done via the upper option at
Valley on the north end). If you ride an out-and-back trip that
loops around both connectors to Hidden Valley, the ride will be 6.0 miles
with about 300 vertical feet of clmbing.
About a half mile from the Corner Canyon Road
trailhead, heading northeast. Speedy cruising and beautiful scenery.
||The riding season for this trail is usually mid-April
through November. The southern half is open grassland that's sun-exposed
and clears of snow quickly. The northern end has steeper sideslopes and
forest shade, so it clings to winter snow (and mud) longer.
In technical requirement, this
trail is Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde.
The southern (Draper) half of the trail is very mellow. The northern
(Sandy City) piece is, well, not.
Heading across Bear Canyon. Be careful of the hikers
here. The bridge has made this stretch of trail a major destination, as
families and school classes hike up Ralph's or Orson Smith for a stroll across the canyon.
|From the Corner Canyon Road trailhead, beginners can easily
do an out-and-back ride to the Bear Canyon Bridge. (The trail stays smooth for
short distance north of the bridge.)
This is a great area for wildflowers
in the spring. You're
riding on alluvial deposits -- a mixture of rock, sand, and dirt washed down
from the mountains into Lake Bonneville -- but with chunks of occasional
sticking through. Lake Bonneville existed from 1 million
years ago until around the end of the Ice Age, 10 thousand years ago. The BST
follows the "notch" on the mountainside created by this huge
Still smooth trail north of the bridge, but now we're
seeing gambel oak beginning to crowd the trail. There are still 180-degree
views over the valley and straight ahead are the fabulous 11,000-foot
peaks of the Wasatch.
||The northern 1.5 miles lie on hillside where the Lake Bonneville
deposits have eroded away. Here the mountain has a steep sideslope as the trail winds
around and over sharp quartzite rock outcrops. You'll ride in the shade
of oak and maple forest, with a few cedars thrown in.
This northern half of the trail would rank at least skilled upper-intermediate
if not expert. There are sharp rock roll-overs and some steep pitches.
Aaaaaand here we go. At mile 1.7-ish, we've hit the
quartzite. And note the pitch of the side-slope. There will be rock
rollovers and tight spots.
| You'll pass rock faces and boulders of Precambrian Quartzite
(over 500 million years old). And there's a bit of granite from the mid-Tertiary igneous
intrusion of around 26 million years ago. The strata here have been warped by
upwelling igneous material. The granite formed by
this intrusion is seen in Little Cottonwood Canyon and Lone Peak.
Looking from the north, this squeeze leads to a rock
tunnel. I'm certainly not tiny enough to ride through.
||Half a mile south of Hidden Valley, you'll drop steeply down to
the Little Willow Creek bridge. On the other side is a series of
railroad-tie stairs up to a gravel road. Straight across is the upper
trail. This more-techy option is 0.5 miles to the park.
The lower trail is a little harder to spot. It's just a few feet
downhill across the chunky gravel road. It's smooth and easy to ride, and
will get you down to the paved trail in the park after 0.3 miles.
Little Willow Creek. Steps lead up to the chunky
road, where the trails split.
|The harder upper option continues high on the hillside with
another 0.4 miles of somewhat narrow and rough trail riding. Then the
trail reaches a doubletrack. Turn downhill at a metal gate and drop 0.1
mile down to the paved park trail.
On the upper trail heading north, slowing down for a
trail-runner. There were plenty of those -- about 10 between Bear Canyon
and Hidden Valley, on a weekday! Note that the trail tread is narrower
as fewer riders select this upper trail option.
||The lower trail is broad and fairly smooth, with a gradual
pitch. As you might guess, it will be the option most riders select,
especially for the north-to-south direction.
My suggestion for the out-and-back is to go northbound on the upper
trail, drop to the park, then climb southbound back to the trail junction
(the fork at the gravel road by Little Willow Creek).
Looking south on the lower BST connector just uphill
from Hidden Valley.
|Mixing it up...
There are some ride variations that you may find fun. These use the
Hidden Valley singletrack and Aqueduct trails, or the Orson Smith and
Ralph's trails. These trails create options for quick loop rides.
The simplest loop option is to use the BST one direction, and the
combined Aqueduct and Hidden Valley trails for the other. Many trail
runners must have been doing this exact path, as I passed them on both
halves of the loop.
In this old April 2000 photo, Bruce pilots Banana
Thunder past a quartzite outcrop, while young Jackie runs behind. Dogs are
allowed on the lower Connector and the BST south of Little Willow Creek --
but not on the upper trail.
||At Hidden Valley Park, the upper BST, the BST Connector, and the Hidden Valley
singletrack all begin on the paved loop trail in the park. On the east side of
the paved trail loop southbound, the first option is the upper BST. Then as you pedal
further, there's the lower BST connector, then the Hidden Valley trail
near the south end of the paved loop.
On its south end the BST continues past the Corner Canyon Road trailhead
and descends down to the Aqueduct Trail. This closes the south end of the
BST-Aqueduct loop. See the ride log below. (And if you're coming uphill
from Corner Canyon, this would be your entry spot into the loop ride.)
View south on the Hidden Valley singletrack. It's 0.6
miles of very nice riding, then you continue on the doubletrack Aqueduct
|The Orson Smith trail joins the BST south of the Bear Canyon
Bridge to the Aqueduct Trail, and downhill to
the Orson Smith Park trailhead on Highland Drive. Here's a suggestion for
a short loop ride: From Orson Smith Park, climb the lower Orson Smith to Aqueduct, then turn north. Aqueduct
will become the Hidden Valley connector singletrack. At the park, take the
BST southbound to the top of upper Orson Smith. Drop down to finish the
Another photo from 2000, as Bruce prepares to drop
down into a ravine and splash through the flowing creek in the rainy
twilight. This little challenge has been replaced by a cushy bridge.
|Riding notes, loop from Corner Canyon Road
and returning via Aqueduct and CC BST:
0.0 Uphill side of road, north on ST
N40 30.363 W111 50.078
1.0 Keep R (L = Orson Smith connector)
N40 31.156 W111 49.824
1.1 Keep R (L = Orson Smith)
N40 31.254 W111 49.765
1.4 Cross Bear Canyon bridge
1.5 Keep R (L = Ralph's)
N40 31.475 W111 49.569
2.6 Little Willow Creek road
Cross to upper trail N40 32.117 W111 48.836
(option lower trail a few feet
3.0 Gate, L downhill on DT
N40 32.371 W111 48.579
3.1 L on paved trail N40 32.329 W111 48.716
(Pass BST connector trail in
|3.3 L on Hidden Valley ST
N40 32.232 W111 48.837
3.9 Join Aqueduct
N40 31.894 W111 49.306
4.4 Straight (L = Ralph's)
N40 31.596 W111 49.668
4.8 Straight (Orson Smith crosses)
N40 31.314 W111 49.903
5.1 Cross Corner Canyon Road
5.5 Pass Sadler trails N40 30.803 W111 50.234
5.8 Pass Quail ST (on L)
N40 30.428 W111 50.261
6.3 L uphill on BST N40 30.063 W111 50.173
6.6 Keep L (R = Rattler)
N40 30.176 W111 50.076
6.8 Back at trailhead
||Getting there, northern (Sandy) trailhead:
Wasatch Blvd to Hidden Valley Park, about two miles south of Little Cottonwood Canyon on the east
side of the road. (From I-15, take the 90th South exit, which will turn into 94th south as
it approaches the mountains. At the mouth of Little Cottonwood, turn right on
park is located on a curve in the road just past a large church on your left. From the
parking area, bike towards the mountain on the paved path. After 100 yards, you should see
a "Bonneville Shoreline Trail" sign pointing uphill. This connects
via a steep doubletrack to the upper trail. For the lower connector, go
further on the paved trail and turn left on singletrack after about 100
feet. (For a loop ride, the Hidden Valley singletrack is another 800 feet
south on the paved trail.)
Bonneville Shoreline TH on Corner Canyon Road: From Draper, take 123rd South to 13th
East and turn south (right). At the roundabout just down the hill, turn east
(the equivalent of a left turn at the roundabout) on Pioneer
Road. Go around one mile to 20th East, then turn right going south on
Highland Drive. Turn left to the parking lot of Orson Smith Park, but
immediately turn right as you enter the parking area. Drive on the gravel
Corner Canyon Road 1.1 miles uphill. Turn right into the BST trailhead.
Then northbound BST is on the uphill side of the road, across from the
trailhead parking entry.
Orson Smith Park: Go to Orson Smith Park as above, but
continue into the parking lot. Begin the ride by pedaling up the Corner
Canyon Road or the Orson Smith trail.
Bathrooms and water at these trailheads.
|From Corner Canyon (Equestrian Center) Trailhead:
On Highland Blvd. Climb the Corner Canyon
joining doubletrack on the way, to a wide intersection of multiple trails.
The BST is across the wooden bridge 90 degrees to your left. You'll
climb past connections to other trails, then just past Rattler,
you'll reach the Corner Canyon Road trailhead.
Coyote Hollow trailhead: From Traverse Ridge Road,
turn to Mike Weir Drive. Drive about a mile until the road veers left downhill. Take the next right
turn, turn right again, then left. You should now be on Gray Fox Drive.
Take the next right into Coyote Hollow Court. The parking is on the right
at the end of the pavement. After entering singletrack, keep left until
you find yourself descending on doubletrack. As you reach an intersection,
the BST is straight ahead. Keep heading northeast and downhill until you
reach the bridge, then climb the BST. See the Corner
Canyon BST page.
From Alpine: From Alpine, you can
bike over the ridge from the Hog Hollow trail. Run about 2 miles
down the Corner Canyon road to the trailhead. Feel free to substitute bits
of Ghost Falls and Rattler
for the road, and you'll join the BST just
below the Corner Canyon Road trailhead.