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Lost Lad
(Jones Canyon)

Lost Lad is a downhill trail in Jones Canyon between northern Salt Lake City and Bountiful. This ride is best reserved for expert or true upper-intermediate riders. There's steep climbing to get there and moderately techy riding down the canyon. The expected riding season is late May through November.

A rare bit of straight trail in the upper canyon on Lost Lad. Photos and trail review by Bruce on September 24, 2021.

The Lost Lad trail itself is 1.4 miles long with 650 feet of elevation loss, starting from a ridgeline at 6100 feet elevation. It drops west in the bottom of Jones Canyon to end on the Bountiful Bonneville Shoreline trail (BST). The upper portion is winding forest riding with multiple gap jumps. The final third of the ride is a wild twisting plunge in the bottom of a ravine.

Looking south at the Salt Lake Valley just before plunging into Jones Canyon.

Lost Lad can be reached in three ways. From the foothills of northern Salt Lake City, all the possible starting points funnel into the Tower Road in Hell Canyon, which climbs to the top of Jones Canyon from the southwest. From Bountiful, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail takes you up to join the Tower Road. If you don't like gravel roads, you can climb up through the Wild Rose trail system and take either of the viewpoint trails to the ridgeline where you can drop down to Lost Lad from the north. (See below for more details on the climbing routes.)

Looking south at the combined Tower Road and BST, at the fork where the cruel climbing begins (see route below).

The Lost Lad downhill
When approaching from the southwest, the gravel road will turn into a doubletrack at the ridgeline. Keep to the right at a trail fork and descend a rough boulder-strewn slope. At the bottom, keep right again to go around a small hillock, then drop to the right into the canyon.

From Wild Rose, turn right from the viewpoint trail onto doubletrack southbound. At the bottom of a dip (the top of Jones Canyon), turn 150 degrees to the right downhill on the Lost Lad singletrack.

Looking west from the top of Jones Canyon.

The trail will begin twisting through a forest of maple and oak. The track is narrow, with a couple spots where a tree trunk can catch your handlebar if your aim is off. (On my check-out ride I made a wild tumble to avoid injury when I hooked my left handgrip on a small tree and continued airborne down the trail without my bike.)

Heading down the canyon. Slopes in the upper canyon are generally gentle with banked turns.

The upper canyon has multiple gap jumps. All have ride-arounds, although there are a couple that look like simple optional lines until the hole opens up in front of you. The gaps usually have an excavated area to deepen the hole between launch and landing. (This is not an attempt to make you "pay" for a botched jump. The hole forces novices to avoid rolling through the gap, so it preserves both the launching lip and the upper part of the landing ramp.)

Set of two gap jumps in sequence, with a ride-around on either side.

Most of the gap jumps are fairly low at around 18 inches of ramp height, with perhaps an extra foot of depth added between launch and landing. Sight-lines coming into the stunts are adequate even for a first-timer. Between jumps the trail is fairly straightforward cruising on narrow dirt ribbon with a root or two.

Continuing downhill through variable forest.

There's one meadow where you can take a quick look at the views to the west. Then head down to the tallest gap of the trail toward the end of the meadow.

Breaking out into the only meadow of the descent.

A wooden ramp leads up to a bigger gap jump in the meadow.
A long straight approach lets you get speed.
One of the last gap jumps has some timber covering the hole,
and some riders have been rolling through.
The slopes of the canyon become more steep as you approach the bottom. The trail settles into the bottom of a ravine, hitting the sides as it twists down a high-speed plunge. Here the pitch of the trail increases the further down the ravine you go. There will be some rock outcrops to dodge.

Starting the twisty flight down the ravine.

At the bottom of Lost Lad, the trail pops up onto a water-control dike across Jones Canyon. The BST is on top of this artificial ridge. Turn to the left to head back to SLC or to climb up for another round. A right turn on the BST takes you up the side of Jones Canyon and then down to Tunnel Springs Park. If you came from Wild Rose, that trailhead is just down the street.

Further down, there are steeper walls and rock outcrops. This area will have flowing water in the early spring.

Getting to the top -- via Bountiful BST
The southbound Bonneville Shoreline Trail starts at the end of Eagle Point Blvd. At the entry to paved parking for Tunnel Springs Park, pedal south on the wide cindered path above the gravel road. Or you can park in the gravel parking spot just down that road and catch the short connector to the trailhead gate.

Entry gate from the BST trailhead.

As you enter the Bonneville Shoreline Park, keep straight onto a wide road-like trail. (There's a singletrack heading west immediately after the entry. It will curve around southbound. If you pedal that direction, there's a connector on the left uphill after 0.6 miles that rejoins the broad BST just before it starts the climb up and around the hill. Don't follow the singletrack around the mountain. It gets less bike-friendly as it heads over to the edge of Hell Canyon, and to my knowledge, it doesn't connect through to where you want to go.)

Heading south on the BST. Enjoy the easy cruising while you can.

At mile 0.6, the trail begins climbing. Counting the dip through Jones Canyon, there will be a bit over 400 vertical feet of climbing in the 0.9 miles before you join the Tower Road.

At mile 1.0, you'll drop through Jones Canyon, then at mile 1.5 from the trailhead, you'll arrive at Tower Road. Turn left uphill here.

Looking south from the BST at the lower towers. When we reach the ridge there, we'll turn left uphill and head for the second towers.

Now the climbing gets serious. The loose rocky surface of Tower Road is regularly torn up by vehicles, so you'll be constantly watching for the best-grip, most boulder-free line. There will be 600 vertical feet of climbing over the next mile. Buckle up, little camper.

Looking at the upper Tower Road. We'll pass these upper towers. The pitch here is around 12%.

As you approach the ridgeline and see the mountains to the east, the road turns into doubletrack. Keep to the left at a trail fork at mile 1.1 from the BST.

Now the doubletrack turns northbound. Descend a rough steepish section into the top of Jones Canyon. Keep left now until you spot the singletrack heading into the bottom of the canyon.

We've passed the second set of towers and the pitch is mellow on this old doubletrack eastbound.

Getting to the top -- via Wild Rose
The Wild Rose trailhead is on Sky Crest Lane, just off Eagle Pointe Blvd around 1/4 mile downhill from the BST trailhead. Find the singletrack at the back of the park. About 1/10th mile uphill, you'll need to decide which ridgeline viewpoint trail you'll take. The right side is more direct, but the left is more scenic and fun.

Wild Rose parking, looking east. 

See the Wild Rose page for navigation details or follow Trailforks on your phone. Your goal is to get uphill to the top of either the north or south ridgeline. See the map. Then you follow that ridgeline to the southeast and turn to the right onto a north-south doubletrack that will take you to the top of Jones Canyon.

We're at the highest point of the larger Wild Rose loop. The loop turns to the right. Straight ahead intersects the Woodbriar trail in 300 feet. Turn left there. I don't suggest attacking the trail that goes straight up the ridgeline.

Southern Viewpoint route

Navigation isn't as hard as you might think. If you decide on the southern approach, take the main Wild Rose trail uphill, then after 1/4 mile turn right on the Wild Rose Overlook trail. Crank up to the ridgeline and go southeast. Keep right as the gas line forks away. There's a singletrack forking right about 2 miles uphill. It ends in a nasty plunge down to Lost Lad. I suggest you keep straight here, then turn 90 degrees right when the doubletrack connector trail crosses. 

The tough climbing is over, and it's a gentle grade as we pedal east toward the connector.

From this trail crossing, Lost Lad is 0.2 miles downhill. (The singletrack eastbound -- the continuation of the ridge viewpoint trail -- goes around 100 feet to a viewpoint as an out-and-back. It's worth the trip.)

At the viewpoint into City Creek Canyon.

Northern Viewpoint (Rosebriar/Eagle Crest) route

For the fun "scenic route" keep on the Wild Rose loop clockwise. At mile 1.2, keep left and take a short connector to Rosebriar, where you'll fork left. (You can also hop on Rosebriar from a bit further along on Wild Rose with a hard left turn.) Pedal on Rosebriar 0.9 miles until it hits the ridge trail Eagle Crest. Fork left (to the east). Now go 0.6 miles and turn right onto the southbound connector trail. Cross the southern ridge viewpoint trail in 0.2 miles.

Traversing the hillside on Rosebriar eastbound.

Now make the final 0.2 mile gentle descent to the top of Jones Canyon. In the dip, make a 150-degree right turn onto the Lost Lad singletrack.

The little valley straight ahead is the top of Jones Canyon. We're on the last bit of the connector trail.

Getting to the top -- via Salt Lake trails to Tower Road
Many SLC riders take city streets to the foothills. Options for a place to start include Victory or Columbus, Sandhurst Drive, and the BST at City Creek. The routes in Hell Canyon will take you to the lower Tower Road, which you'll climb until the northbound BST joins just before the upper Tower Road. The majority of Lost Lad riders arrive via the lower Tower Road from SLC.

On the Columbus trail heading toward Hell Canyon. Columbus connects to Sandhurst near the homes in the photo, or you can take the challenging climb up the Hell Canyon trail.

The lower Tower Road is a continuation of Sandhurst Drive. You can get here via Columbus or Hell Canyon. Or you can go to the park on Ensign Drive and take Dorcester Drive over to Sandhurst. Take the gravel continuation of Sandhurst uphill for a mile, then turn left as the BST joins. From here, it's 1/10th mile before you'll turn right uphill on the continuing Tower Road (while the BST keeps straight).

The lower Tower Road, just uphill from where the Hell Canyon singletrack joins.

To climb via the City Creek BST, start in the bottom of City Creek and pedal 3.4 miles. Stay on the main BST until you hit the turn-off to the upper Tower Road on your right.

Heading east in City Creek Canyon on the BST.

Getting there:

Victory Road TH: Exit I-15 at the Salt Lake 600 North Exit, heading eastbound toward Highway 89. At 89, turn left (north) for 3/4 mile, then turn hard right onto Victory Road. Drive 3/4 mile southeast, watching for the parking area on your left. The trailhead is designated with a kiosk-type sign. Do not park in front of the gates. The singletrack trail is on the north side of the parking area. No bathroom or water at trailhead.

Wild Rose Park: On I-15 northbound, take exit 312 (US-89). Just after the exit at the first stop light, turn right on Eagle Ridge Drive. Keep on Eagle Ridge (straight) at the roundabout. Climb the hill for about two miles. Watch for Eaglepoint Drive on the right. (If you reach the golf course, you just missed it.) Drive 0.2 miles on Eaglepoint and turn left uphill on Sky Crest Lane. The parking lot is at the end of the road. From parking, find the singletrack on the left just below the bathroom. It connects to the uphill trail. Alternately, you can take sidewalk up through the park and find the uphill trail at the top of the grass, among several picnic-table spurs. Bathrooms here.

Bountiful BST:  Get onto Eaglepoint as above, but continue to the end of the road. Turn into Tunnel Park paved parking, or go on the gravel road 100 yards to primitive parking. Pedal south to the BST. Bathrooms here.

City Creek BST:  From North Temple in Salt Lake City, head north uphill on E Street (around 5th East). At 11th Avenue, turn left and drive until 11th Avenue ends at the edge of City Creek Canyon. Turn right on the one-way (no passing: the left lane is for bikers and pedestrians). Park at the amphitheater and coast down to the lowest point of Bonneville Blvd the City Creek road. There's also a few spots for primitive parking there at the base of the 19th Avenue Trail. The trail starts across the creek on the north side of the paved City Creek road.
Riding resources for this trail:
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
      Ensign Peak area GPX multi track file
      Wild Rose area multi-track file
Lodging, camping, shops:
       Links to northern SLC resources
       Links to Ogden area resources

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