with northern Pleasant Grove Bonneville Shoreline
Mountain trail traverses a narrow shoulder on the steep hillside east of
northern Pleasant Grove. This intermediate-level trail must be reached via
other trails -- either the steep Grove Creek trail or a confusing
combination of foothill trails to intersect Mahogany Mountain in the
middle -- which makes the overall ride appropriate for upper-intermediate riders.
Cruising south on the way back. Photos and
ride description by Bruce on May 5,
|The trail is intermediate in technical requirement. Mahogany
Mountain gains 550 vertical feet over 1.8 miles from south to north, with
a final climb right at the end as you approach the out-and-back
viewpoint. The simplest ride to the viewpoint (via Grove Creek) will be
5.6 miles round trip with 1200 vertical feet of climbing. For perspective
on the Grove Creek climb, see the Grove Creek or Big
Baldy Loop pages.
Northbound as the trail winds past groves of scrub
oak. Our final destination is the viewpoint on the ridge.
||There are options for loop rides in the area using bits of
the Pleasant Grove bench dirt road and the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.
Below I have a track for a 6.4 mile loop (with a short out-and-back to the
viewpoint) that avoids the mean climb up Grove Creek. If you want to hit
the southern piece of Mahogany Mountain that you'd bypass on this loop
ride, it can be done as a
quick out-and-back once you reach the trail.
View to the west overlooking Pleasant Grove and
American Fork, then Utah Lake and Lake Mountain.
|Note that the foothill trails here form a jumbled spaghetti
bowl of competing routes without any markers. But my track isn't the only
way to the top (or back down). So if you don't have GPS capability --
until the Forest Service organizes the area and marks the "real"
trails -- just keep meandering generally uphill and you'll get there.
Tight side-slope on the southern half-mile of the
trail -- a piece of the ride you can skip if you navigate the lower
foothill trails uphill. Looking south.
Via the Grove Creek Trail
||This is the classic route, and is the simplest to navigate.
Note that Grove Creek is brutally steep, gaining almost 600 vertical in
the one mile up to the Mahogany Mountain trail. (And that's why most local
riders choose to go uphill through the tangled foothill trails
north of Grove Creek. See below.)
The paved trailhead parking is at 5150 feet elevation at the end of Grove
Drive ( which is the eastbound continuation of 500 North). Start east uphill on the broad cindered path, directly
toward the canyon.
Looking east into Grove Creek Canyon from the
trailhead. The big path is Grove Creek. To our left is singletrack to the
BST, and there's another connector about 100 feet uphill (at the small
white rock to the left of the trail).
|After a bit of pleasant climbing eastbound, the Grove Creek trail
gets nasty as it grows steeper. There's one loose and steep 200 foot
chute section that will be a hike-a-bike for just about everybody. At 0.65
miles, the trail approaches the creek then switchbacks to the left to climb west.
(The trails heading uphill toward the creek are hikers' goof-around-at-the-water
Eastbound on a smoother section of Grove Creek.
||This section of the trail continues a stiff climb as it hugs
the steep side-slope. Even on a weekday in off-season, I encountered four
groups of hikers in the mile between the trailhead and Mahogany. Consider
this if you plan to descend back the way you came. There's scant room for
Looking southwest after turning uphill at the
|At mile 0.95 at 5750 feet elevation, the Grove Creek trail
will switchback to the right to head east. Near the apex of this turn, the
Mahogany Mountain trail forks left northbound along a shoulder on the
mountain. If you enter the canyon eastbound again, you missed the trail.
Backtrack to the turn.
Looking east up the canyon. The snow-covered top of
Timpanogos is barely visible.
Mahogany Mountain, southern section
||The first portion of Mahogany Mountain is 0.6 miles,
descending about 100 vertical feet as you head north. The trail is
narrower here, and the steep side-slopes will make early-intermediates
uneasy. This is the portion you'll skip if you navigate the lower foothill
trails uphill rather than climbing Grove Creek.
Northbound about 1/4 mile after leaving Grove Creek.
|From Grove Creek, two competing routes go on opposite sides
of a gambel oak grove then rejoin. Now navigation is straight-forward. At
any trail fork, just pick the flattest fat trail that continues north. When in doubt, keep uphill. Around
one-half mile from the Grove Creek trail you'll start passing connectors
View to the south.
If you plan to return to the trailhead through these lower
trails, stop and eyeball the layout occasionally to match routes with the
area map. (You'll probably blunder onto unintended trails anyway, but
eventually you'll wind up back at your car. Getting lost here isn't really
a problem. Just keep working downhill. There are too many trails for you
to end up stranded on the mountain, and the constant view of the mountain
above and valley below keeps you from getting turned around.)
This bit of the trail is narrower, but
offers nothing tricky.
Via the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and
||While there are dozens of tangled trails in this area, the
navigation doesn't have to be complex. Just pick your direction and stick
with it. Eventually, you'll get there. Or follow my GPS track. Most local
riders prefer climbing the foothill trails, avoiding the crowds and
steepness of Grove Creek.
Begin by hopping on the BST, either by climbing the steep singletrack
on the northeast corner of the parking area or by turning left about 100
feet up the Grove Creek trail.
Early in the ride. The BST will meander just uphill
from the power-line corridor. Yes, there's a trail under the power lines,
|It helps to visualize a simplified overall "lie of the
land" for that first mile north of the trailhead. At the bottom is the straight-and-flat doubletrack Bench Road.
At the top is the (sort of) straight and flat Mahogany Mountain trail.
In between these two "boundary trails" are two equally spaced
arching trails. (Look at the map.) The lower arch is the Bonneville
Shoreline singletrack, starting from the trailhead then dropping back down
to the bench road over 1.1 miles.
Looking back to the south.
||The upper arch (identified by various names including Upper
BST, Upper Shoreline, or Middle
Mahogany) forks off the BST shortly after it heads
uphill from the trailhead. This arch extends 1.3 miles from the trailhead,
joining the Bench Road about 0.15 miles north of the lower trail's connection.
The southern half of this upper arch is singletrack, while the northern end follows a steeper
broad benchcut that seems to be an old abandoned road.
The terrain varies between this (dry, hot, and open),
and groves of trees, including some wild fruit trees.
|The middle area of each arch has multiple trails going
everywhere. To get to the Mahogany Mountain trail, just select trails that
head uphill. On my exploration ride, there
were many smaller trails marked by rock cairns. But I wasn't able to make any
sense of the cairns in terms of a single route I could follow.
TThe upper arch tends to follow a shelf with some
flattish meadows and groves of larger trees.
||Again, there are no trail signs (as of spring 2016) or firm
indicators of the "correct route" to ride. And there are many
many little "social routes" and game trails that aren't shown on
my map. So watch for tire
tracks and follow whatever trail looks likely to get you there. And if you
unintentionally wind up back down at the Bench Road, just enjoy your
exploration adventure and head back uphill.
Looking to the west from the former shore of Lake
Mahogany Mountain, combined path to the
||Whichever way you got uphill, the next mile of the trail is
wonderful. Heading north along the mountain's shoulder, the slopes extend
steeply above you. To your left the views go all the way from Santaquin to
Eagle Mountain to Herriman.
Looking uphill to the east. But I think this photo
was actually shot from the upper arch trail (Upper BST?) rather than
|The trail angles gently uphill. You'll climb 300 vertical
feet over this next mile on smooth and non-technical trail, undulating
through meadows among groves of scrub oak.
On Mahogany Mountain heading northbound. The little
dip in the mountain contour is our destination.
||The limestone cliffs to your right were formed when this
area was a deep ocean trough, from 360 to 280 million years ago during the
Carboniferous (Mississippian and Pennsylvanian) Period. The chunky
limestone in the trail and the exposed slope means that these trails tend
be good for riding after storms or early in the spring.
We're a little closer to the limestone cliffs here.
We're riding on Lake Bonneville's highest and oldest shoreline, when it
was 1000 feet deep. Then the lake broke through to the north and partially
emptied, dropping to the lower level that formed the more prominent Bonneville Shoreline bench.
|As you reach a rise preceding a dip before the final climb
to the viewpoint, note this spot. (See photo.) Just a bit behind you was a
narrow trail that offers a loop return back to the Bench Road.
Catching my breath to get ready for the final push to
||At the ridgeline, the trail splits. Go left to look over the
valley. You can even see across the edge of Traverse Mountain to the
Bingham Mine. Take a minute to look around before planning your return
The south wind behind the approaching storm mixes a
bit of desert dust into the air, right when I want a clear "see
forever" photo. Still, the views are nice!
Alternate descending routes and loop
||One of the simplest return routes is found just before the
last climb to the viewpoint. This narrow singletrack traverses around the
viewpoint prominence, then drops down to a steeper old doubletrack. It reaches
the Bench Road about 2.3 miles north of the trailhead.
On the way back you can ride the lower arch of the BST. Pass the
connector to the upper arch trail and continue past the big metal gate.
Hop on the BST about 1/10th mile later. (See the loop ride track file.)
Traversing trail forks left northbound near the
northern end of Mahogany Mountain. Nice narrow singletrack for a loop
|For a straight-back return, ride about a mile back from the
viewpoint. Catch a singletrack heading south downhill and just keep your
front tire aimed in that general direction. And if you end up turned
around heading northwest downhill, no problem. You'll end up on the Bench
Road, which heads back to Grove Drive at the trailhead.
Heading south downhill. Lots of trails, some wide and
|Riding notes, loop with spur to viewpoint:
0.0 ST at NE corner of parking
100 yards then left (lower BST)
N40 22.548 W111 42.730
0.2 R uphill (leave lower BST)
N40 22.612 W111 42.767
0.3 R uphill NE
N40 22.742 W111 42.869
0.4 Fork L to go NW (upper BST)
N40 22.776 W111 42.844
0.7 (Multi-trail intersection)
R uphill N40 22.957 W111 43.025
0.8 L then straight (Mahogany)
N40 23.040 W111 42.973
1.6 NOTE SPOT for return, keep R
N40 23.639 W111 43.371
2.0 L for view area N40 23.921 W111 43.480
Backtrack toward fork at 1.6
|2.4 Hard R (Mahogany Down)
N40 23.639 W111 43.371
3.3 L downhill N40 24.061 W111 43.976
3.9 L on DT (Bench Road)
N40 23.953 W111 44.382
5.2 Stay on DT (L = to upper BST)
N40 23.144 W111 43.564
5.3 L uphill (lower BST)
N40 23.002 W111 43.530
5.8 Keep straight (L = to upper)
N40 22.864 W111 43.137
6.2 Keep straight (rejoin outbound trail)
N40 22.607 W111 42.768
6.4 Back at parking
From the south, get off I-15 at the Pleasant Grove exit and head east
toward the mountains. As the street curves north, you'll reach State
Street. Turn right. As State begins to curve southward past a big shopping
complex, turn left at the traffic light to Main Street. Go through the
4-way stop at Center, then turn left at the light on 100 East (Canyon
Highway). Proceed north to 500 North and turn right.
From the north, exit I-15 at the Alpine (American Fork Canyon) exit. Take
Timpanogos Highway all the way to the mouth of the canyon, then turn right
on the Canyon Highway, which will become 100 East. Drive south to 500
North (opposite the cemetery) and turn left.
Drive uphill on 500 North, continuing toward the mountains as it becomes
Grove Creek Drive. Follow it up to the paved parking area. (Bathroom at
trailhead.) The ride starts on the east (mountain) side of the parking
area, heading straight up the canyon. N 40° 22.483 W 111°
Note about the map! Only a key few of the many
trails are shown here.