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North Canyon Trail

In the southeast corner of Bountiful, the North Canyon Trail climbs from the foothills to cool forests overlooking the Great Salt Lake. North Canyon starts at 5400 feet and climbs 1800 vertical feet to Rudy's Flat in 4 miles. In the uphill direction, this is a ride for strong intermediates or better. Most riders use North Canyon as a descending route.

Hardbody Martha pilots her hardbody bicycle up the North Canyon Trail in 2000. Original review by Bruce on June 21, 2000 with latest update September 12, 2022.

The trail begins in the scrub oak of the Wasatch foothills in Bountiful, and climbs steadily through maple forest until it reaches a cool forest of fir and aspen. The expected riding season is June through October.

Some parts of the trail are butter smooth, while others have rock and roots to navigate.

Some riders do this trail as an out-and-back (8 miles), others combine it with the nearby Mueller Park Trail as a 13.5 mile loop. The new Bonneville Shoreline Trail (northbound to Mueller or southbound to Wild Rose) adds additional possibilities. The BST link between Mueller and North Canyon has quickly become a favorite route for loop rides.

North Canyon makes a fun and fast descent. But be careful of climbing riders and hikers where sight lines are short.

Trailheads and Connections
North Canyon via Canyon Creek Road

At the uphill end of Canyon Creek Road in Bountiful (reached via Bountiful Blvd), you can find roadside parking and begin pedaling uphill. You'll have the option of gravel service road or a singletrack trail on the right (south) side of the road, found 100 feet uphill from the gate. The first mile will be relatively steep. The pitch mellows once you reach the National Forest border.

NOTE: There's a plan for a road and formal trailhead for access to North Canyon, with construction likely starting in 2023. For now, these instructions are accurate.

End of Canyon Creek Road. The singletrack begins on your right 100 feet uphill.

Mueller Park to Rudy's Flat

The Mueller Park trail will deliver you to the top of the North Canyon trail. The Mueller Park trailhead is reached the Mueller Park road, which is a continuation of 1800 South Street in Bountiful. This is popular trailhead and will be crowded on weekends. Pedal uphill on Mueller Park until you hit Rudy's Flat, where the trail will turn into the North Canyon trail for the downhill. This is the most popular direction to ride North Canyon -- downhill.

Cruising through the tall maples of lower Mueller Park.

from Mueller Park via the Bonneville Shoreline

At mile 1.3 of the Mueller Park trail, turn hard to the right on the BST. It will be 4 miles (and 750 vertical feet of climbing with 175 feet of descent) to the North Canyon trail, at a point 2 miles below Rudy's Flat and 0.5 miles above the official beginning of North Canyon at the National Forest border -- mile 1.5 from town.

My bike sits on the BST from Mueller Park where the BST drops onto the North Canyon trail.

from the Wild Rose area via the BST

For now (September 2022) you'll need to climb uphill from the Wild Rose trailhead in Woods Cross. (See the Wild Rose trail page.) Take the Wild Rose Overlook trail up the ravine, then hard right at the 5-way trail intersection and up to the ridgeline. At mile 0.8 the BST crosses. Turn left. (The southbound BST to the right dead-ends at this time.) It will now be 8 miles to the North Canyon trail, where you'll keep straight and descend 0.2 miles, then make a hard right turn onto the BST uphill just after crossing North Canyon Creek.

Bruce rocks a turn on the BST near North Canyon.

The North Canyon Trail
I will divide the North Canyon trail into three segments:
(1) Bountiful Multi-user trail. This two-way multi-user route starts near the end of the paved street and extends to the forest border, running just south of the gravel doubletrack that is an alternative for this first mile.
(2) National Forest trail 601. The official North Canyon trail begins at mile 1.0 and extends to Rudy's Flat for the upper 2.5 miles of the ride.
(3) Bountiful North Canyon DH. This bikes-only downhill trail begins at the forest border and runs north of the doubletrack for the lower mile of North Canyon.

Gary follows the pack uphill around mile 12 of the climb up North Canyon. June 21, 2000.

Bountiful Multi-user Trail (lower mile of the trail)
The multi-user singletrack can be found 100 feet uphill from the gate, on the right side of the doubletrack. The singletrack will stay on the right (south) side of the doubletrack, occupying the narrow corridor between private property -- or the North Canyon Creek -- and the gravel road.

The beginning of the multi-purpose trail, 100 feet uphill from the gate.

The trail will occasionally be forced to the shoulder of the gravel road by the nearby creek or a bit of private property. When you find yourself on the road, just watch for the trail to leave again to your right, usually just a few feet uphill.

The gravel road is an alternative route uphill, as it will arrive at the same spot as the singletrack at the forest border.

The singletrack is forced onto the shoulder of the gravel road in several locations.

The trail is fairly steep, climbing 600 vertical feet in one mile. It also has a lot of dips and wiggles. It is suitable for strong intermediates and experts. Beginners can climb the doubletrack if their legs are strong enough for the sustained pitch.

Note the riding path here. Beyond the abilities of a beginning rider.

As mentioned above, there is a plan to extend paved road from Canyon Creek Road and create an official trailhead. This may affect the trail access and the mileage that I report on this page.

A section of less steep, less-tricky trail.

At the top of the multi-user trail, it joins the doubletrack for 100 feet as the road makes a couple of tight turn-around loops. Keep straight and head for the end of the road at the National Forest border. Keep straight through the trail-entry chokepoint. (The trail on your left at this spot is the bikes-only DH trail. See below.)

The transition from multi-user trail, doubletrack, and DH to a single uphill route at the forest border.

North Canyon Trail 601 (upper 2.5 miles of the trail)
At the end of the doubletrack and the Bountiful multi-purpose trail, the North Canyon trail continues uphill as trail 601. The pitch of the climbing is now much more pleasant. You'll climb only 850 vertical feet over the next 2.5 miles to Rudy's Flat.

Heading uphill shortly after entering the National Forest.

At mile 0.5 from the forest boundary (1.5 from pavement), keep to the right at the trail fork and cross the North Canyon Creek on the bridge. The trail to the left is the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST) to Mueller Park.

Another 0.2 miles uphill, keep to the left as the BST to Wild Rose forks away.

There are a few of these simple bridges over creeks and seeps.

The upper areas clear of snow in late May or early June, and remain open through mid-October. This singletrack portion of the trail has a few rocks and roots, but is mostly smooth. We'd rate this ride a solid intermediate level for technical skill, but an upper-level aerobic.

Looking out over Bountiful towards the Great Salt Lake during the ascent up North Canyon.

Wild rose bloom alongside the trail. Other common flowers
include penstemmon and lupine.

Balsamroot. Looks a lot like Mules Ear, but the leaves are dull on unbranched stems and each flower is on an individual stem. 

The singletrack in North Canyon is a botanist's delight. This shady trail is rimmed with currant, wild rose, choke cherry, and elderberry. You'll see plenty of blooming Mule's Ear, Wasatch penstemmon, and wild onion. The crest near Rudy's Flat is a good place to spot the Sego Lily, Utah's state flower.

Almost to the top.

Many riders construct a loop by using North Canyon for the climb, then descending down the Mueller Park trail. This is a great ride. If done with a pavement link, it's 13.5 miles in length. It puts more singletrack on your downhill.

Descending from Rudy's Flat through mules ear blossoms. Here is one of the few stretches with open views. 

The most popular loop ride, however, is to turn left from North Canyon onto the new northbound Bonneville Shoreline Trail at mile 1.5, ride 4 miles to Mueller and climb up and over Rudy's Flat, then descend North Canyon back to the trailhead.

Bruce rolls over roots as he descends North Canyon.

Bountiful North Canyon DH (lower mile alternate route)
The Bountiful North Canyon DH begins at the forest border, running the bottom one mile of North Canyon. It's appropriate for true intermediate or better riders. Beginners and less-skilled intermediates should use either the gravel doubletrack for their descent. (The multi-user trail on the south side of the doubletrack is not a particularly easy trail to descend for inexperienced riders.)

Here's the top of the trail, straight ahead, at the forest border. If you opt for the multi-user trail, the entry is on your left about 100 feet down the gravel road.

The trail will drop 600 vertical feet over exactly one mile. Most of the trail is narrow hand-built singletrack. There will be occasional pedal-catching stumps on the uphill side of the trail, so watch your foot position.

At the top of a dip where the trail drops about 8 feet before rocketing up the opposite side.

There are a lot of dips and swoops, but the trail's options are limited by the narrow corridor between the doubletrack and private property. You will rarely stray more than 30 feet away from the gravel road, although the road usually invisible through the trees.

Typical narrow winding singletrack.

There are a few jump opportunities built into the trail. All are easily rolled, or ridden around for your first "checkout" pass down the trail.

Approaching a jump on a rare spot where the trail leaves forest. (This area was cleared for a pipeline corridor.)

At the bottom, the DH joins the gravel doubletrack around 100 feet above the gate. Note that there are plans for a future paved road to a formal trailhead in the lower canyon.

Cruising through stout maples on narrow dirt ribbon as we near the end of the DH.

Riding notes, out and back:
Go to North Canyon Trailhead
0.0   Head up multi-user singletrack or doubletrack from end of pavement
1.0   Keep straight onto North Canyon trail 601
1.5   Fork R (L=BST northbound)
1.7   Keep L (R=BST southbound)
3.5   Rudy's Flat, turn back
6.0   Options: DT, multi-user, or bikes-only DH
        Keep L for downhill bikes-only trail
7.0   Done!

Arriving at Rudy's Flat, it's time for a BS break. Could there be a happier camper than Chad, with 1800 vertical of climbing behind him, and a bodacious downhill yet to go?

Riding notes, big loop using Mueller Park and city streets:
Go to Mueller Park Trailhead (most riders do this in the opposite direction)
0.0   From Mueller Park trailhead, go back down road
0.6   L at intersection
2.3   L onto Canyon Creek
3.0   End pavement, uphill DT vs ST on R
4.0   Keep straight
4.5   Keep R (L=BST)
4.7   Keep L (R=BST)
7.0   Rudy's Flat
9.9   L at Big Rock fork
13.5 Cross bridge to parking

Rolling downhill through aspen forest as we descend North Canyon

North Canyon: On I-15, take the 2600 south Bountiful/Woods Cross exit. Go east towards the mountains. The road will turn north and be renamed Orchard Drive. While heading north, turn right (east) on 1800 south. Just as you reach the bottom of a steep hill, turn right at the intersection. (This is about 0.6 miles before the Mueller Park trailhead. If you arrive there, backtrack.) After 1.7 miles, turn left on Canyon Creek and go uphill 0.7 miles to the end of the pavement. Start your ride by heading east (uphill) on the dirt road.

Mueller Park: On I-15, take the 2600 south Bountiful/Woods Cross exit. Go east towards the mountains. The road will turn north and be renamed Orchard Drive. While heading north, turn right (east) on 1800 south. This street takes you to the trailhead about 2 miles later, where you'll see parking places on the right side of the road. Go across the stream on the bridge to begin the ride.

Note: the map resolution cannot show the three routes in the bottom mile of North Canyon.

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
      Mueller Park area GPX multi-track file
      GPX counterclockwise loop     North Canyon only
High-res topo for printing:  View (includes Mueller)
Lodging, camping, shops:
       Links to northern SLC resources
       Links to Ogden area resources

Copyright 2002
Division of Mad Scientist Software Inc

last updated for new trail info September 2022