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Pot Hollow
   via East Side Ridge

You've looked at Pot Hollow, and noticed that there's a loop of singletrack trail around Mill Canyon Peak. Wow. Looks like a great add-on, doesn't it?

OK. This trail is mean. Brutal. Painful. It's only for the most skilled and strongest bikers. Still want to do it? Read on.

View of Lone Peak and the Snowbird Ridge from Ridge Trail 157. Photos August 12, 2006.

If you haven't already, go to the "normal sane person" Pot Hollow Page, and read about the trail. That page shows you the official ride. On this page, I show you the areas you WON'T see on that ride, but would see if you're tough enough to ride the East Side Ridge Trail.

Pot Hollow via the East Side is an 18.7-mile ride, 23.7 if you start from Cascade Springs. There will be only 2900 hundred vertical of climbing, but the steep and technical spots on the East Side Ridge Trail will beat you up. Done as described below, you can expect some short push-a-bike uphills and some spooky mountain-surfing steep downhills. And don't underestimate the difficulty of pushing your bike uphill at 9000 feet.

On Ridge 157, we're heading south toward Forest Lake.

If you ride this trail, the payoff is I make somebody else suffer as much as I did. No seriously, there's beautiful mountain scenery, plus a chance to really challenge yourself. But it is a very, very hard ride.

Staying on Ridge 157, you'll climb an extra 700 vertical feet to Rock Springs. There are fantastic views, and except for a couple of short painful steeps just past Forest Lake, it's not a bad ride at all. At least, so far.

We're at Rock Springs. I don't see a "No Swimming" sign...

Just past Rock Springs, you'll fork left onto the East Side Ridge Trail. From the fork, you'll climb gently toward the southern ridge of Mill Canyon Peak. Then you'll traverse along an old erosion trench back toward the north. So far, so good.

Now it gets ugly. You'll suddenly plunge 500 vertical in less than 1/3 mile through torn-up rough switchbacks. Then it's another 3/4 mile of technical up-and-down riding. Pedal what you can; walk the rest. Then the mountain mellows a little. No, it's only toying with you. It's another plunge of 400 vertical in 1/3 mile. Then more up-and-down.

We're on the East Side Ridge Trail, heading slightly uphill southwest toward the ride's high point on the southern flank of Mill Canyon Peak.

The ride mellows out a little now. There are some long descents, a few flat meadows, and an occasional short grunt climb. The trail takes you gradually downhill.

We're at the top of the ridge, 9700 feet elevation. That's Deer Creek Reservoir in the distance.

You may see an occasional faint horse-trail forking off in the draws. Don't take any sucker-trails downhill until you're sure you've found Trail 37, the Pot Hollow Trail. You'll know it when you see it.

The Pot Hollow Trail forks sharply 150-degrees right downhill, just 1/2 mile from the fork at Sandy Baker Pass where you followed Ridge 157. There's an initial steep plunge, then the trail runs down the draw toward Little Deer Creek (Provo Deer Creek).

Many of the climbs on the East Side Ridge Trail are difficult in the extreme. This little hill, for example, is steeper and trickier than it looks.

Bomb down Pot Hollow, then hang right when you hit the dirt road. Another two miles of dirt road, and you're back at the road fork where the ride started.

We're looking east down the Pot Hollow Trail, shortly after passing Big Spring. Note the ferns in the understory.

Fork of Road 220 and Little Deer Creek Campground road:
0.0   Starting from fork, go east (R if coming uphill) on Rd 220 
        N40 29.409 W111 31.968 - Cross creek and go uphill
0.7   Crest hill, fork L at 4-way
        N40 28.858 W111 31.871
3.2   Keep straight R (L = bail to Little Deer Creek Road)
        N40 30.825 W111 31.922
4.1   Pass DT connector to upper L.D.Creek
        N40 31.447 W111 32.376
5.7   Turn L and continue on gravel road
        N40 32.388 W111 33.189
7.3   Pole Line Pass - N40 31.900 W111 34.244
        L on ST just before road turns L
7.9   Fork Right on Ridge 157
        N40 31.404 W111 34.249
9.5   Keep straight (L) at Forest Lake fork
        N40 30.347 W111 34.861
10.1 Keep L (R=181) - N40 30.091 W111 35.281
10.2 Keep L (R = 181 again)
11.0 Keep L (R = Holman)
        N40 29.472 W111 34.938
11.2 Pass Rock Springs, Fork L onto East Side Ridge
        N40 29.472 W111 34.760
11.5 Top of ridge
12.9 PLUNGE-2
14.0 Keep L uphill
15.2 Fork hard R downhill - Pot Hollow Trail!
        N40 31.113 W111 33.981
16.8 R on DT (Little Deer Creek Road)
        N40 30.978 W111 32.585
17.7 Fork L (R = into Little Deer Creek campground)
18.1 Pass exit from L.D.C. campground
18.7 Back at fork

Getting there:  Drive to the top of the Alpine Loop, either from the North Fork of Provo Canyon (past Sundance and Aspen Grove) or from American Fork Canyon. Just 1/4 mile east of the summit, turn east on Road 24 (Cascade Scenic Drive). Drive 7 miles. Just before Cascade Springs, the paved road takes a hard right turn. Turn left onto a gravel road here, labeled "Wasatch Mountain State Park" and "Little Deer Creek Campground." Drive uphill 2.5 miles to the fork in the road. You can park at the side of the road and start the ride here, or proceed straight to Little Deer Creek Campground (fee required) and start the ride there. 

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files and route (right-click and "Save as..."):
   Garmin     National Geographic     Google Earth    GPX
High-res topo map (1,200 KB):   view
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to north Utah County resources
     Links to Provo area resources

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