Mytoge Mountain Trail
The High Plateaus of central Utah are crossed by many but visited intimately by few. These lofty tablelands rise to elevations that challenge the rugged peaks of northern Utah's Wasatch Range but are more subtle in form. Lakes and streams are numerous, forests are bounteous, and backcountry roads and trails beckon mountain bikers with promises of solitude, excitement, and inspiring views. Mytoge Mountain is a Utah classic and is regarded as a "must-do" ride when visiting the Fish Lake area. Mytoge is also the featured tour of the Fish Lake in the Fall Mountain Bike Festival, held annually in September. The route combines singletrack trails, jeep tracks, and paved roads on a 25-mile loop around this aquatic jewel of central Utah. Except for a few steep hills and one wild and technical descent, the loop caters to strong intermediate bikers.
Embark from Fish Lake Resort--one of the west's great hand-hewn log lodges--and follow the Lakeshore Centennial Trail through sapling aspens huddled against the lake's edge. This section is perfect for novice bikers or families towing children in bike trailers. Steep, rough trail rises several hundred feet to the plateau's edge and a stunning viewpoint of the lake's shimmering water. Across the way, the Hightop Plateau soars deceptively to a height of over 11,500 feet, taller than most peaks in the Wasatch Range.
Over the next several miles, the trail wavers atop the plateau and clips the rim periodically to reveal more spectacular views of the lake, surrounding plateaus, and distance deserts. Look for a grove of aspens that turns blood red during autumn on the slopes above Fish Lake Lodge. According to Native American lore, the "aspen heart" is where a Paiute Indian princess died of a broken heart when one of the tribe's braves, her love, did not return from battle.
Jeep roads wind past Crater Lakes and lead to the infamous singletrack descent off the mountain that is best defined as "wicked." The loop culminates on spirited singletrack through woodlands and meadows then on the scenic highway back to the lodge.
After your ride, kick back on the lodge's breezy porch overlooking the lake, or cast a line into the chilly waters in hopes of landing a 36-pound lunker, which stands as an all-time record catch.
By Gregg Bromka, author of The Mountain Biker's Guide to Utah.
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