Beaver Creek Trail
If you're looking for a rambling ride through fragrant forests and alongside a beaver-inhabited stream, rather than white-knuckle singletracks that cross entire mountain ranges, then look no farther than Beaver Creek Trail in the western Uinta Mountains. Except for one short climb near the trailhead, Beaver Creek Trail is about as flat as an off-road ride can get, so it's perfect for fledgling mountain bikers and families with youngsters. The 4.5-mile trail is part of the Taylor Fork-Cedar Hollow ATV Trail system, which offers more lengthy and challenging rides up on the mountain for aggressive bikers. But the Beaver Creek Trail stays low, winding along the interface between the wooded mountainside and creek-fed valley. Several Forest Service campgrounds passed along the way are ideal for a midday picnic. You'll have to share the path with occasional motorcycles and ATVs, which can be noisy and odorous, but keep in mind that these gas-guzzlers have packed down a fine trail for mountain bikes.
Beaver Creek Trail's western trailhead is 6 miles east of Kamas on the Mirror Lake Highway/UT 150. If you start here, the ride is about 9 miles out-and-back and begins with a short hill--a challenge for first time bikers or children. Thereafter, the trail is a piece of cake, except for a few bumpy sections that bounce you up and down in the seat. But hey, that's the fun of riding off road, right? (For shorter outings, simply start at Beaver Creek Campground. It's located a few miles farther along the Mirror Lake Highway and is midroute on the Beaver Creek Trail. Go to the day use/picnic area and take the trail either direction.)
About three miles along the path, you come to the trail system's information board near the Beaver Creek Campground. Here, you can venture on a side route labeled "Cedar Loop--rough and rocky" or continue on the main trail labeled "Beaver Creek--not so tough." Ahead, Beaver Creek Trail winds past camp sites, passes a picnic area, and skirts a reflective beaver pond. Upon reaching a clearing that precedes a rocky, steep descent, turn around and retrace your tracks back to the trailhead.
By Gregg Bromka, author of The Mountain Biker's Guide to Utah.
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