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Shooter and West Ridge Trails
with loop connections, west-side Timpanogos foothills

The Timpanogos foothill trails (Orem Bench, west Provo Canyon) are complicated. This page offers a western climbing route from the Bonneville Shoreline Orem trailhead and tries to make sense of the riding options at various elevation levels on the hillside.

Looking west as the West Ridge trail passes between tall stands of gambel oak. Photos, GPS tracks, and ride recommendations based on recon rides by Bruce on July 10th through 14th, 2016.

The riding season is May through mid-November. (The area is CLOSED to cyclists during the winter.) The slopes are south-facing, so they clear of snow fairly quickly. But they can be hot on mid-summer afternoons.

Most of the trails are intermediate in technical requirement, but there can be some sustained steepish climbing that taxes your leg stamina. There aren't any trail signs as these "social trails" branch and cross over. And the trails may change from year to year, falling into disuse then being resurrected by enthusiastic trail-users. So navigation is tricky. 

Orem BST Trailhead, with only my car remaining because all other trail users have fled the mid-day heat. My Rocky Element has seen some major fun today -- 28 miles and 4500 vertical exploring the trails.

Note!  These trails are on Utah Division of Wildlife Resources land, purchased with sportsmen dollars and set aside as the Orem Bench Wildlife Management Area specifically to protect Utah's native animals. Mountain Biking is allowed, but only insofar as it is not harmful to wildlife. To insure continued access please be respectful to the landowner by following proper trail etiquette and obeying all posted rules. Specifically:
1.  Do not ride these trails during the winter. Deer will not survive the winter if frequently disturbed.
2.  Unauthorized trail-building is strictly prohibited!
3.  To reduce erosion and prevent "trenching" of trails, do not ride trails when muddy.
4.  Avoid disturbing wildlife, and do not allow your dog to chase animals.
From the BST paved parking area, go back to the singletrack in the southeast corner (where your car turned into the parking area with the bathroom). This is the North Provo Canyon BST. Join the Orem Bench gravel road to the east. As the road completes its circuit around uphill water tanks at mile 0.3 from parking, turn hard left on doubletrack and climb above the tanks. Now connect to the Shooter singletrack on the right.

View south on Shooter. The climbing pitch is pleasant and there are constant views of the valley.

Shooter will wind back and forth across the mountain as it climbs uphill. This is mostly grass slope, and highly sun-exposed. It will gain 650 vertical feet over 2.3 miles. The Shooter trail will cross over the older Firing Range downhill route many times. When in doubt, take the more-level option of what appears to be the most-used trail.

Shooter joins Ireland at mile 2.6 from the trailhead. You're now at what I'm calling Level One. From downhill to uphill, 4 "levels" of connecting trails run east-west. Taking these trails eastbound, you can hook up to north-south routes at various heights on the mountain. (Confused yet? It gets worse.)

Almost to the top of Shooter. We're heading north here, with a piece of Utah Lake showing in the Lehi area.

Bench Level ONE:  Blackbird Connector
(to Blackbird, Blackbird Two, join eastern Crank to The Other Betty, Betty and Mouse Climb)
The Blackbird Connector is just downhill from the Shooter-Ireland fork. Turn right on Ireland, go 150 feet downhill, then veer left off Ireland onto the connector trail.

0.2 miles further, keep right at the fork. (Left takes you north to Crank, which is my Level Two west-to-east route.) Then at mile 0.4 from Ireland, you've reached Blackbird. If this is your descending route, make a hard right.

Looking south on Ireland in the area of the Blackbird Connector.

To reach Blackbird Two (or other trails further east), keep left to go uphill on Blackbird. To descend Blackbird Two, take the next right to leave Blackbird and climb over a low hill. As the trail hits a 4-way take the right-most option south. You're on Blackbird Two.

If your objective was Betty, stay on Blackbird by keeping straight (left) at the fork. Keep R at the next fork just a few feet further uphill. Next you'll cross over upper Blackbird Two. As the trail traverses a ravine, fork right on Crank to descend east.

The Crank trail will cross The Other Betty just before ending on Betty.

Near the bottom of the hill as Blackbird Two joins Roller Coaster. We're approaching the Bench Road.

Bench Level TWO:  Ireland to Crank
(to top of Blackbird, Blackbird Two, The Other Betty, Betty and Mouse Climb)
From the top of Shooter, the next level of trail connections is reached by climbing uphill on Ireland. Keep straight as Firing Range crosses (and continues as a somewhat ugly west-to-east connector). Now keep right as the West Ridge trail forks to the left.

When Ireland reaches a 4-way trail fork on a ridgeline, cross the north-south downhill ridgeline trail eastbound to join Crank. Crank will descend southeast then turn back northeast.

Ireland Trail, heading north uphill. That's Little Baldy on the left, with Timpanogos on the right.

After 0.6 miles on Crank, keep left at the fork. (Right takes you down to the Level One connecting trail and on to Ireland.) Now at mile 0.7 from Ireland, the fork on your right is Blackbird Two. (Bird One and Bird Two cross over a bit downhill.)

Now as Crank goes back to the south, it will skirt the top of a ravine. Crank turns east (left) here. Stay southbound to enter Blackbird.

Northeast on Crank, looking at Timp. Nice trail.

Blackbird will descend to cross over the Ireland-to-Roller Coaster Connector then end on Ireland.

Blackbird Two is a very nice route (up or down) that joins lower Roller Coaster.

If your goal is Betty, stay on Crank. Cross over The Other Betty. At Betty, uphill takes you to The Altar. Downhill connects to Roller Coaster in about 100 feet. And straight across Betty is Mouse Climb, which will also take you to The Altar.

Heading south downhill on upper Blackbird Two.

Bench Level THREE:  West Ridge to Buckle
(to Altar-51 Trail, Little Baldy above Altar)
To reach the third level of west-to-east trails, you could simply continue on uphill at the top of Ireland. Ireland and Crank merge and head northeast. Keep right as an ugly ridgeline route joins, and you'll reach Buckle.

The other route is West Ridge. From Shooter, climb uphill on Ireland, passing Firing Range. Then just uphill, fork left on West Ridge. 

On the West Ridge trail, climbing north towards Timp.

West Ridge stays close to the western edge of the riding area, winding back and forth across an older fall-line route. Sometimes riders will create tire tracks on the old routes. So if in doubt, take the more-level trail fork and always cross over any steeper descending route.

View from the ridge up Provo Canyon towards Heber.

At the trail fork 0.7 miles uphill, you can keep to the right to stay on West Ridge. Keep working northeast as you pass a couple of forks. 1.1 miles after leaving Ireland, a right-fork will connect you to Buckle.

On West Ridge. Many of the trails pass through one of these "sinks" of Mules Ear. They all tend to look the same -- which can confuse you about which route you're riding.

After just 100 feet east on the connector, there's another trail fork. You now decide whether you'll go east on Altar-51 (left) or Buckle (right).

The left fork winds uphill to the Altar-51 trail. When you reach Altar-51, a left turn would take you up to Trail 51. A right turn sends you east down Altar-51 toward The Altar, where you can make your next connection. Note that Altar-51 and Buckle will cross over in about 1/10 mile as you head east. 

On the Altar-51 trail, there's a lot of shaded riding in oak and maple forest.

At the fork above (just after leaving Ireland), keeping right and eastbound will take you on Buckle. You'll cross Altar-51 in 1/10 mile, then descend eastbound.

Buckle intercepts the Little Baldy 033 trail just 100 feet above The Altar. Turn right. At the rockpile, pick your next move. Right (west) is Altar-51. Straight is Betty. The uppermost trail on the left is Frank (Great Western Trail, 033).

And the southbound trail between Frank and Betty is Mouse Climb.

Descending east on Buckle. Altar-51 and Buckle tend to be very similar in terrain and character.

Bench Level FOUR:  West Ridge to Upper West Ridge and Trail 51
(west to Prayer Circle, Maid Marian and Dry Canyon; east to Little Baldy 033 with connections to Machu Picchu or Taj Mahal/Ouch)
The Upper West Ridge trail forks left (west) from West Ridge at 0.7 miles from Ireland. It continues winding north along the edge of the hill for a while, then turns to go straight northeast.

This route is used by my sample ride below.

Looking northwest from the ridgeline at the Traverse Ridge area and the Bingham Canyon mine tailings.

As the trail reaches the end of a long meadow, heading straight towards Mount Timpanogos, there's a fork to the right. It goes to Altar-51 eastbound. But keep straight, and after 100 feet you'll join Altar-51 heading north.

Another sink meadow on the Upper West Ridge trail. You'll be joining Altar-51 just after the end of the meadow.

After another 1/10th mile, you'll reach Trail 51. There's a carsonite trail marker nearby to confirm your arrival -- and chances are, it's the only trail sign you'll see during many miles of riding.

Turning right will take you eastbound on Trail 51. If you simply stay on the main trail, you'll arrive at the Little Baldy 033 trail in 0.8 miles. From here you can go uphill to find Machu Picchu; downhill for Taj Mahal. (Note 1:  These trails may be hard to spot. GPS recommended. Note 2:  Little Baldy is overgrown and rough. Expect to get scratched.)

Trail 51, looking southeast toward Cascade Mountain.

If you turn west on Trail 51, you have both eastbound and westbound options. For example you can ride over to the Dry Canyon trail and descend to the Lindon Bonneville Shoreline Trailhead, then take the BST southbound back to parking.

Or better, connect to Maid Marian for a narrow singletrack alternative to Trail 51 eastbound (as in the sample ride). When Altar-51 reaches Trail 51, fork left (west). Ride 0.5 miles on 51. You'll pass at least 4 connector trails going uphill on your right. In a fairly-open area where 51 is slowly turning left (west), a narrower trail joins from the right. This trail is Maid Marian, climbing straight east on a soft ridge. But seriously, you could take any of the connector trails and you'll intersect Maid Marian.

Eastbound on Maid Marian.

Keep straight as Maid Marian crosses two trails at mile 0.2 from Trail 51. After heading east for 0.9 miles, you'll rejoin Trail 51. After just 200 feet, fork right on the smaller Alternative 51.

This winding alternative path avoids a couple of steep and loose spots on Trail 51, and it's more scenic and fun. It passes by a viewpoint, then rejoins Trail 51 at 0.4 miles after leaving it. (It replaces 1/4 mile of 51.)

Now continue another 0.2 miles to the junction with Little Baldy 033.

Approaching the viewpoint eastbound on the Alternative 51 option, looking at the limestone cliffs at the base of Timpanogos dropping toward Provo Canyon.

Descending Options from The Altar
(Betty and The Other Betty, Mouse Climb, Frank 33, Roller Coaster)
As you descend Little Baldy 033, you'll reach a large meadow. Buckle leaves on your right about 100 feet uphill from a large stone-pile marker, which is The Altar.

At the marker, you can pick your route. Altar-51 goes straight west (90 degrees right from your descending path on Little Baldy). It can take you over to Ireland for a descent to the Bench Road BST, or back to Shooter.

Looking uphill at The Altar from Betty. Little Baldy 33 is the continuing trail northbound.

Betty is straight ahead, going south downhill. In 0.6 miles, you'll reach the next option, which is The Other Betty. This route heads downhill (crossing Roller Coaster on the way) to rejoin Betty near its connection to the Bench Road.

The leftmost option is the Great Western (GWT) trail 033, called simply Frank by locals. It will descend 0.8 miles southeast to the Bench Road, 2.9 miles from the Orem BST trailhead.

Looking south down Betty.

To the east of Betty (left when viewed from uphill) is Mouse Climb. Yeah, "Climb." But I've selected it as the downhill route for the sample ride. Keep left at two forks with smaller trails (these go to Belt). At the next fork, right would take you across Betty onto The Other Betty. (See the Betty trail page for information on Mouse Climb and The Other Betty.).

Keeping left at this trail fork on Mouse Climb takes you downhill to Betty. Fork left downhill -- going straight across Betty would put you on Crank for a trip back uphill.

Mouse Climb. Plenty of tires on this trail! Riders must like it.

Just 150 feet down Betty is the Roller Coaster trail fork on your right. Roller Coaster crosses The Other Betty after about 1/10th mile then continues south-southwest. This is a nice rolling trail that gradually descends for 0.6 miles, then joins Blackbird Two and heads more steeply down to the Bench Road.

Cruising through deep grass on Roller Coaster, heading south.

About the sample ride below...
Here's a ride that climbs up to "Level 4" on the bench area, but is fairly easy to navigate -- for this complex area. I use mostly major trails, but throw in some fun narrow tree-dodging singletrack (Maid Marian and 51 Alternate) in a location where it's unlikely to foul you up.
The ride is 9.1 miles with 1600 vertical feet of climbing. It makes a circle around the trail complex. You'll pass by connectors to the central trails. So once you've done this ride, you'll know the lie of the land -- ready to head into the tangle of trails in the middle.
The ride can be followed via the GPS track downloadable at the page bottom. I suggest you use it if you have the right electronics. Otherwise, print the topo map and ride guide, then follow the directions carefully.
Riding notes, loop Shooter to Roller Coaster:
0.0   ST east of parking N40 19.491 W111 40.186
0.1   DT (Bench Rd) east N40 19.435 W111 40.111
0.3   L up DT N40 19.504 W111 39.976
        ST on R above tank
2.6   L uphill on Ireland N40 19.928 W111 39.698
2.75 Cross Firing Range N40 19.993 W111 39.712
2.8   L on West Ridge N40 20.019 W111 39.726
3.5   L to Upper West Ridge
        N40 20.238 W111 39.828
4.0   Keep straight (R = to Altar-51)
        N40 20.502 W111 39.665
        100 feet then straight to join Altar-51
4.2   L on Trail 51 N40 20.626 W111 39.593
4.3 and 4.4 keep straight on 51
4.6   R on Maid Marian N40 20.516 W111 39.927
4.8   Keep straight, 2 trails cross
5.6   L on Trail 51 N40 20.858 W111 39.304
        100 feet, then R on narrow 51 Alt
        N40 20.880 W111 39.258
6.0   Rejoin 51, keep R N40 20.915 W111 39.040
6.1   R on Little Baldy 33 N40 20.911 W111 38.970
6.6   Straight (R = Buckle) N40 20.663 W111 39.048
        100 feet to Altar N40 20.632 W111 39.058
        2nd trail from left = Mouse Climb
7.3   Keep L (R = to Betty, The Other Betty)
        N40 20.168 W111 39.211
7.4   L on Betty N40 20.130 W111 39.302
7.45 R on Roller Coaster N40 20.093 W111 39.290
7.5   Cross The Other Betty 
        N40 20.017 W111 39.316
8.1   Stay L (R = Blackbird Two)
        N40 19.585 W111 39.429
8.2   L (R = to Blackbird and Ireland)
        N40 19.529 W111 39.445
8.3   R on Bench Road BST
        N40 19.413 W111 39.421
9.1   Back at parking   
Getting there, Orem Bench BST Trailhead:  Exit I-15 on Orem's 800 North and drive straight towards the mountains. At 800 East, turn left and drive north about 1 mile. Immediately past the fence at the uphill end of the cemetery, turn right (east) on Cascade Drive. Drive 1/2 mile then fork uphill before you approach the water treatment plant. Take two switchbacks up, passing the lower overflow parking, to the paved parking area with the bathroom. Your trail is right across from where the road entered the parking lot.
Canyon View Park:
  Exit I-15 on Orem's 800 North and drive straight towards the mountains. Keep left to enter Provo Canyon. After 1 mile, you'll pass the entrance to Canyon View Park on your left. About 100 yards later, there's a diversion dam, then a bridge over the river. Drive over the bridge and park in the lot. Ride to the northwest corner of the parking area. Begin your ride by pedaling up the gravel road. Keep straight at the road fork at  mile 0.3 if you're heading for the Bottom Access trail (recommended), or fork R uphill for the Ravine or East Access trails. Ride through the race loop and take the Upper Access trail to the BST to connect to uphill trails.

Bathroom:  Orem BST TH, Dry Canyon TH, Canyon View Park, Canyon Glen Park, Nunn's Park
Water:  Canyon View Park, Canyon Glen Park, Nunn's Park
Camping:  Nunn's Park

Dry Canyon Trailhead:  Turn east off State Street (Highway 89) at 200 South in Lindon, which also happens to be 2000 North for Orem. Keep straight as you approach the mountains. When the road begins to turn right (south), turn left onto Dry Canyon Drive heading northeast. Now keep straight uphill until the road turns into the trailhead. To reach the Shooter uphill route, go south on the BST to the Orem trailhead.
Canyon Glen:
Use this trailhead if you plan to ride counter-clockwise or out-and-back. Note that if you ride this direction there are some granny-gear climbs that are a bit loose. Exit I-15 on Orem's 800 North and drive straight towards the mountains. Keep left to enter Provo Canyon. About 3 miles later, you'll see the parking area for Canyon Glen on your left. Go across the bridge to the Parkway. Turn right, and find the GWT on your left about 200 feet later, forking uphill just before the paved parkway curves around a rock outcrop.
Nunn's Park:
  This makes the ride about a mile longer, but at the expense of a rather ugly short section of trail from Nunn's park up to the aqueduct. Going up-canyon, turn right 4 miles up the canyon, then left under 89. Go into Nunn's Park. On your bike, come back through the park entrance, then turn left on a broken-up roadway just before the road goes under 89. Turn left at the fence and follow the fence uphill. This section is a hike-a-bike uphill. As the singletrack reaches the top, go left (west).
Zorro (1560 East Trailhead):
  Take 800 North in Orem toward the mountains. Just as the road starts to descend into the canyon, turn left on 1560 East. Go to the end of the pavement and park on the right. The ugly jeep road switchbacks east of the trailhead take you uphill -- 0.4 miles with 200 vertical -- to the Zorro singletrack. Zorro will add another 300 vertical and 0.6 miles. (Don't fork onto the steeper Bramber DH. You'll know it as you pass it.) When Zorro hits doubletrack, head a bit further uphill to the Bench Road for uphill connections.
Canyon Mouth Provo River Parkway:
There's a parking area on Orem's 800 North Street just before you enter Provo canyon. It's just east of the gas station. GPS N 40 18.840'  W 111 39.472'. To get to the parkway, go east over the river and through the fence. Go uphill to the Canyon View Park, Canyon Glen, or Nunn's park for uphill singletrack connections to the Bench Road.
Riding resources:
Single-page riding guide to above ride
GPS track files: (Right click and Save as...)
    Ride as above, Shooter to Roller Coaster Loop
    Multi-track area file (over 70 tracks)
Topographic maps for printing:   Orem Bench Zoom   Wider canyon mouth area
Lodging, camping, shops:     Links to Provo area resources

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