If you check out the various Utah online and printed mountain bike guides, you'll see that the Skyline Trail is considered "must ride" singletrack for its long, demanding climbs, wildflowers and unbelievable views as you ride the ridge between the Ogden metropolitan area to the west and lush Ogden Valley to the east. However, that 30-mile Olympic-caliber section of trail represents about 10% of what's available to fat tire fanatics in this area.
Wheeler Creek To Coldwater Overlook
Locals hit Wheeler Creek as soon as it opens in the spring. Wedged in a limestone slot canyon at the head of Ogden Canyon (the trailhead is just below Pineview Dam), the trail parallels Wheeler Creek itself on pebbly double track for the first 1.9 miles to the Art Nord Trailhead. From there, Maples Trail offers 3.3 miles of singletrack through grass and wildflower meadows, stands of quaking aspen, oak and maple where you're likely to see moose and deer. Footbridges have been installed at strategic water crossings and the transitions from the trail to the bridges are typically seamless.
The Maples Trail tops out at a connector. Turning south shoots you over to Snowbasin on a short two-track section that connects you into the entire Snowbasin trail system. Turning north sends you on incredibly buffed out singletrack to the Coldwater Overlook. The sustained climb is easier than you think and the resulting view is nothing short of epic. Plus, it comes with the benefit of a velvet-smooth, high-speed descent.
Bonneville Shoreline Trail - East Ogden Bench
The east bench of Ogden is home to a spaghetti bowl of singletrack trails. So many options exist for accessing the trail network that it is impossible to highlight any one option. Official trailheads can be found at Rainbow Gardens (at the mouth of Ogden Canyon) and at the tops of 22nd Street, 29th Street and 36th Street. Whether you have an hour or a full day, endless options exist ranging from 20-mile out-and-backs to short 6-mile loops. Fifteen minutes of pedaling on any piece of the singletrack puts you above the city where you'll see wicked sunsets, dip into canyons, cross streams and cling to the edge of ledges.
This trail sees most of its action in the spring when wildflowers are popping, the high-country trails are still under a blanket of snow and local mountain bikers are trying to get their legs back. Because of its proximity to the city, you'll share the trail with other bikers as well as trail runners and their four-legged canine friends.
As part of the Great Western Trail (stretching from Mexico to Canada), the Skyline Trail has received its share of ink with the out-and-back north section from North Ogden Divide to Ben Lomond Peak achieving the most notoriety. However, the south section has a "no breaks up, no brakes down" 18-mile loop option that every hardcore mountain biker has to do.
Begin at the Pineview Trailhead on the west side of Pineview Reservoir (called Windsurfer Beach by locals...don't get confused). Out of the parking lot you'll grind up 5 miles of single-track steeps. You'll hit a fork where you can opt for another 4 miles of climbing to Lewis Peak or about 3.5 miles to North Ogden Divide. The last mile approaching the divide is a wicked descent. Very technical, hike-a-bike stuff.
At the divide, descend down the Pioneer Trail into Ogden Valley. This section is an improved wagon road with a recognizable single "best descent" line and dumps you into the community of Spring Mountain. Pedal a chunk of pavement past Snowcrest School and whip into the Eats of Eden for a frosty beverage. Then it's a short combination of road, paved trail, singletrack along the edge of the lake back to the trailhead.
Green Pond & Snowbasin Trail System
A 20-minute drive from downtown up Trappers Loop to Snowbasin Road puts you at Green Pond trailhead. This endless system of singletrack is rugged, technical and steep, but has more opportunities to open it up than the tight trail systems that are typical of ski resorts. A good portion of the Xterra Mountain Championships takes place on this trail system, which is a testament to its toughness. Trail maps are available at Snowbasin, but the eenie-meenie-mynie-moe approach at all forks in the trail can be fun, too. Basically, downhill to your car.
Bonneville Shoreline Trail - North Section
In theory, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail should be a nice, level bombastic piece of singletrack that is constructed along the visible bench created by ancient Lake Bonneville. However, Mother Nature - primarily cliff faces - and private land issues have conspired to throw a few ups and downs into the mix. When completed, the trail should be a contiguous hundred-plus mile adventure that stretches the entire length of the east bench of the Wasatch Front.
One of the newest sections of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail begins at the Rainbow Trailhead at the mouth of Ogden Canyon. Like any new trail, it's not buffed out yet and provides some fun technical sections complete with loose rock, roots and tight spots. A short climb gets you to the shoreline where a mixture of double-track service roads and newly cut singletrack works its way north. At press time, signage is not placed, but is in the works. If you don't mind putting your navigation skills to the test or riding by trial and error, you'll encounter many interesting canyons along the way.