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Cutler's Twist Trail
with Cinch Trail and return via Mule Shoe

The Cutler's Twist trail is new in 2021. Located near the northern end of Ogden Valley's North Fork Park, it offers an option off the Mule Loop, or a ride all by itself. The trail lies at around 5700 feet elevation and has an expected riding season of June through October.

A rare breakout view from Cutler's Twist. Photos and trail review by Bruce on August 13, 2021.

The Cutler's Twist trail is suitable for beginning riders. It's designated as a two-way trail, but almost everybody is going to be flying downhill. So I wouldn't try to climb this trail on a weekend, as it's quickly become extremely popular. High-speed riders will be running you off the trail constantly.

The trail is 1.5 miles long with 300 feet of elevation loss. My ride description here includes a return by climbing Mule Shoe.

Heading into a nice banked turn as we descend through maple forest on Cutler's Twist.

The trail starts on the far north end of Mule Ear, just uphill from the Mule Loop parking area (see trailhead directions below). Find the connector trail at the northwest edge of the parking circle. Immediately fork left uphill on Mule Ear.

Looking west from the Mule Loop trailhead, 1.8 miles up the North Fork Park road. The entry to the singletrack is at the far left.

Cross the road, then cross the Mule Connector trail. (Note: the trail markers in North Fork Park could be better, as of August 2021. The arrows don't always point in the right direction as they sit on the trail-post, and I had to frequently fire up the Trailforks app to decide which trail was which.) At this four-way, pick the trail that goes uphill, the middle of the three choices. You're staying on the Mule Ear trail.

Heading uphill on Mule Ear after crossing the road and the Mule Connector trail.

At mile 0.2 from the trailhead, fork to the right on Cutler's Twist as Mule Ear makes a turn to the left. (There was no trail marker here in August 2021, but this section of Mule Ear has been newly re-cut. So I expect a trail-post will be coming soon.)

Northbound in an aspen forest after forking away from Mule Ear.

Cutler's Twist heads north through aspen and maple forest. At mile 0.5 from the trailhead, the singletrack enters the group area. Cross a doubletrack, pass a small building, then cross a second doubletrack. You'll see a pavilion to your left here.

Looking back at an alternate line as we head toward the pavilion area on upper Cutler's Twist.

As you hit the (unmarked as of August 2021) trail fork just after the road crossing, keep to the right to stay on Cutler's Twist. The left fork is Traildemic. (Note that you can do a loop of Cutler's Twist and Traildemic by connecting them with a bit of dirt road. See the map.)

Rolling into a highly-banked turn. Fun stuff!

Cutler's Twist has tons of banked turns on a smooth ribbon of trail. You'll be losing 300 feet of elevation over the 1.5 miles of the trail. There are a few alternate lines with stunt opportunities, but the main trail is easy.

An alternate line with a wooden ramp leading to a drop. The main trail goes around it.

Just a few feet after crossing the main North Fork Park gravel road, Cutler's Twist ends on Mule Shoe. Now you need to decide on the rest of your ride:
- For a quick return uphill and another lap, keep right onto Mule Shoe.
- To enter the Mule Loop for a clockwise ride, go left.
- For a shorter version of the Mule Loop, go left, then fork right on Cinch to shortcut the bottom of Mule Shoe.

The trail intersection here has some "shortcuts" that make it confusing, and the trail markers don't help much. If you're unsure where to go, take a short spin down each trail until you've figured it out.

At the bottom, looking up towards Ben Lomond and Inspiration Point. 

Cinch Trail

The Cinch Trail begins on Mule Shoe, just 100 feet downhill from the end of Cutler's Twist. Fork to the right. It zips back and forth downhill for 0.3 miles before rejoining the Mule Shoe trail. The combined Mule Shoe/Cinch trail then continues south for a loop ride.

A banked turn as we head south on the new Cinch Trail.

Mule Shoe climb

To return quickly to the trailhead, fork right on Mule Shoe. (Again, this area is in flux. You'll probably count 3 right turns in 100 feet before you're sure you're heading uphill on Mule Shoe.) This portion of the loop has been newly re-cut, so it's a nice plush ride uphill. You'll climb 250 vertical feet over 0.8 miles to reach the Mule Loop trailhead.

Plush new trail-cut as we climb up Mule Shoe.

Riding notes, short loop:
0.0 Mule Loop TH, find ST on NW
      Immediate L uphill on Mule Ear
      Cross road
0.1 Cross Mule Connector
0.2 R on Cutler's Twist
0.5 Cross 2 doubletracks
      R on Cutler's Twist
      (L = Traildemic)
1.5 Cross campground road
      Option: north to Traildemic or Bicentennial
2.0 Cross main road
      R at fork, then keep R on Mule Shoe
2.8 Back at parking

Getting there:  Go up Ogden Canyon. (From the north on I-15, take the 12th South Ogden exit and head east on Highway 39. From the south, exit I-15 on US 89. Pass I-84 and climb up the hill, then turn right on Harrison Blvd. Continue on Harrison until you hit U-39 and turn R toward Ogden Canyon.) Turn left across the dam at Pineview Reservoir. At the stop sign in Eden, turn left. Turn left at the stop sign in Liberty. After about 1/4 mile, take the next right. Just after you cross the river, veer left toward North Fork Park.

Mule Ear trailhead (recommended): Turn left again at the North Fork Park sign. At the campground entry gate, you can turn left into the 365 Trail trailhead for a longer ride. To park at the Mule Loop trailhead, go 1.8 miles on the main North Fork Park road from where you turned off the main road. Look for a the trailhead sign on your right. Pull into the little loop and park. Connect to the trail on the northwest side of the parking area.

Traditional road-fork entry: Pass the first entrance into the North Fork Park (on your left). Go another mile up the road and turn left at the second entry N41 22.986 W111 54.298. Fork left at the T intersection. When you reach a hairpin turn with a gate at the apex (north side) of the turn, N41 22.979 W111 55.187, you're there. There's a singletrack on the right as you face the gate. That's a shortcut for a counterclockwise loop. Ignore it. Take the singletrack that sneaks around the left side of the gate, then climb the soft cindered DT up to the pavilion area.

Riding resources for this trail:
GPS track files (right-click, "Save as..."):
    Multi-track GPX area file 
Area map in separate window for printing:    View map
Lodging, camping, shops:     Links to Ogden area resources

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