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Spanish Oaks Trail System

The Spanish Oaks trails lie in the upper Spanish Oaks recreation area, just south of the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon. On this page I am including the paved Dripping Rock Trail (an extension of the Spanish Fork River trail that connects uphill to the reservoir area and the Hidden Oaks trails of the Spanish Oaks system).

View through maple trees as we enter the Spanish Oaks Loop from Hidden Oaks. Trail review and photos April 30 and May 14, 2020 by Bruce.

The Spanish Oaks system, as of May 2020, consists of a uphill-then-DH loop on the eastern and the western sides, with a small cross-country loop in between. There are older hiking and horse trails through the area, and these older trails are transected by the newer bike-specific trails. These older trails won't be of interest to you as a rider, but you'll need to watch for pedestrian traffic as you cross them.

Looking down toward the reservoir from Spanish Oaks.

There are two ways to get to the trails. For a longer ride, I recommend the Dripping Rock trailhead on Powerhouse Road. The climb to the trail system will be 1.2 miles on paved trail, then 0.3 miles on the gravel continuation. When you reach the Hidden Oaks trail, you can connect to the rest of the system.

The second access is at the Spanish Oaks reservoir. There's parking where Spanish Oaks Drive ends at the reservoir, and on the southeast corner of the reservoir off the campground road. These parking spots provide a more direct access.

Dripping Rock trailhead. Underpass (to Spanish Fork River trail) downhill center. The Dripping Rock trail is straight behind my car.

 
Dripping Rock Trail (access from the north)
The Dripping Rock trail is 1.5 miles long, with the first 1.2 miles paved. From the Dripping Rock trailhead on the east side of Powerhouse Drive, it extends up the canyon along the Spanish Fork river for 0.6 easy miles, then turns to climb south to gain elevation.

Pedaling uphill at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon.

Find the trail on the east side of the parking area. There are golf cart paths on the south side, so look for the obvious bike path heading into the canyon. You'll have a gentle slope following the Spanish Fork River for 0.6 miles.

Once the trail turns south to begin climbing, it will gain 350 vertical feet over another 0.9 miles.

Entry to the trail. If it doesn't look like this, it might be a golf path.

The two bridges on the Dripping Rock trail are narrow, particularly the suspension bridge. You will not be able to pass an oncoming  rider without stopping. There simply isn't enough handlebar room.

Note that in the morning, there's a brisk wind blowing down from the canyon. It's likely that you'll find it chilly.

Suspension bridge. Not roomy.

When the trail seems to end at a road by the first little reservoir, turn left uphill on sidewalk for 100 feet and then left on paved trail again. (The path across the road is not open for riding.)

At mile 1.2, the pavement ends. Continue on uphill, following the main path. You'll go through a climbing turn shortly after the trail turns to gravel. Then at mile 1.5 the main path turns right to climb to the reservoir. Look to your left and spot the singletrack Hidden Oaks trail.

Heading downhill.

 
Hidden Oaks (climbing to the Spanish Oaks Loop, Hidden Oaks DH and Campground Connector)
The Hidden Oaks trail is bi-directional. This bench-cut runs straight up the left-hand side of the small canyon, with a fairly taxing rate of climb. It will gain 300 vertical feet in just over 0.5 miles.

The trail starts on upper Dripping Rock, just as Dripping Rock turns to the right for a final climb to the reservoir.

Early in the climb on Hidden Oaks.

After 100 yards, you'll reach a T intersection. To your right is the exit from the Hidden Oaks DH trail -- a one-way downhill flow trail. Do NOT go there.

Fork left and begin the stiff climb. 1/2 mile later at the top, there will be four trail options (listed in the order you'll encounter them):
- Right downhill on Hidden Oaks DH
- Right downhill on Campground connector aka Spanish Oaks Flow
- Lower Spanish Oaks Loop keep right
- Upper Spanish Oaks Loop keep left

Almost there as the pitch eases a little. The DH trail is just around this corner.

 
Hidden Oaks DH  downhill flow trail (aka Blue Heaven)
Hidden Oaks DH is a 0.5-mile downhill flow trail with substantial machined features. It drops 250 vertical feet. The riding is a constant series of table-tops and highly banked turns. The features are big and designed for aggressive riding.

Long tabletop coming up, followed by a steeply-banked turn.

While there are many "air" opportunities, the downhill can be done by a good intermediate rider with wheels on the ground. Beginning riders should absolutely not do this trail, as it requires speed and a bit of experience to hold the riding line in many of the highly-banked turns. And if you're riding slow, you might get smashed from uphill.

Whipping around a turn on Hidden Oaks DH.

 
Campground Connector aka Spanish Oaks Flow (Hidden Oaks to the Spanish Oaks campground)
The "Spanish Oaks Flow" campground connector trail is a bi-directional trail linking the top of the Spanish Oaks Campground to the top of Hidden Oaks and the eastern corner of the Spanish Oaks Loop. If you just came uphill on Hidden Oaks, you'll find the trail on your right about 20 feet past the entry to the Hidden Oaks DH.

If you're arriving from the Spanish Oaks loop (riding northeast) the two sides of the loop rejoin about 40 feet before this trail forks left downhill.

Lots of connected tight turns on upper Spanish Oaks Flow.

The Spanish Oaks Flow Trail is 0.2 miles long with 100 feet of elevation loss as it heads from the Loop down to the campground.

More maple forest. Not much oak up here.

 
Spanish Oaks Loop 
The Spanish Oaks loop is a short (0.8 mile) cross-country type loop. It's shaped like a long triangle, with the narrow apex at the top of Hidden Oaks. At the western side, the top corner has a connecting trail over to Lookout Point (and the newer trails being built there) and the lower corner has a connector over to Rusty Knoll (and a connector to the under-construction climbing trail there).

Westbound on the upper side of the loop.

The loop is bi-directional. From the trail fork where Hidden Oaks ends at the loop, pick the uphill (left) option or the downhill option. If you don't plan to ride all the way around the loop, you might make your choice depending on whether you're heading for the climbing trail from Rusty Knoll to Lookout Point (go right), or the downhill flow trail that starts on Lookout Point (go left).

In the middle of the loop the trail traverses fairly steep hillside on both the uphill and downhill sides of the loop.

The Spanish Oaks Loop is a pleasant but short ride. 90% of the ride is shaded by low maple forest, but there are occasional breakouts for views over Utah Valley to the west. On the eastbound side, you'll look at Dominguez Hill (the big cross) and into Spanish Fork Canyon.

Breaking out of the trees for a view north to Utah Lake.

A trip around the loop will have a bit less than 100 total feet of climbing.

Eastbound on the lower side of the loop.

 
Lookout Point Connector  (from upper Spanish Oaks Loop)

The connector at the upper west corner of the Spanish Oaks loop goes 0.2 miles to Lookout Point. It has 100 vertical feet of climbing, but it all comes in one ugly grunt in the middle, so for some of us there's a short bit of push-a-bike.

Lookout Point connector trail, westbound toward the point.

At Lookout Point, you can take in the views, or descend either the Red Knoll Run bi-directional trail or the Red Knoll Run DH downhill flow trail to the reservoir area.

Looking north from the Point.

 
Red Knoll Connector (lower Spanish Oaks loop to Red Knoll)
At the lower west corner of the Spanish Oaks Loop, a trail traverses 0.2 miles west to the base of Red Knoll. It crosses the Red Knoll Run DH flow trail just before the Knoll.

There's also a signed route from the lower Spanish Oaks Flow trail (just above the campground) to Red Knoll. There are quite a few older (and steeper) routes in the area which can be confusing. I expect signage and navigation to get substantially better in summer 2020 as the system comes together.

Looking west from the Knoll, just below the radio towers.

 
Red Knoll Run (bi-directional)
Red Knoll Run is a bi-directional trail that starts low on the campground road, just uphill from the reservoir parking lot. It extends up to Lookout Point. From the parking lot, it's one mile long with 350 vertical feet of climbing.

Pedaling away from the reservoir early in the climb.

The trail is found by pedaling 200 feet up the campground road from the reservoir parking lot. Turn to the right onto a wide gravel access road (it goes to the radio towers on Red Knoll), then quickly split off to the right on the two-way trail.

0.2 miles later, the DH trail joins. Keep to the RIGHT. 

View of the climbing route uphill on the Red Knoll Run bi-directional trail. The radio shack and towers are the top of Red Knoll.

The trail climbs through a series of switchbacks up to the saddle behind Red Knoll, then continues further up to Lookout Point.

In the saddle at Red Knoll, you can turn left onto the Red Knoll Connector trail to the lower side of the Spanish Oaks Loop. 

At Lookout Point, you have the option of hooking a 180 to drop Red Knoll Run DH, or you can keep straight and take the Lookout Point Connector trail over to the upper side of the Spanish Oaks Loop.

As of May 2020, the riding lines on the climb aren't well-established yet. I'm not fond of this trail as a downhill route, but it might get better with tweaking and more riders.

 
Red Knoll Run DH  downhill flow trail (aka Blue Thunder) 
At the top of Lookout Point, the Red Knoll Run DH trail begins. This is an expert-level downhill-only flow trail. It drops 300 vertical feet over a 0.7 mile run.

If you arrived via the Lookout Point trail from the Spanish Oaks Loop, it's a straight shot keeping to the right. If you came up via Red Knoll Run bi-directional, you'll need to ride past the entry, then hook a sharp 180 to your left.

Drop-in to the DH at the top of Lookout Point, with the trail curving to the right. The Red Knoll Run climbing route is on the left of the photo.

The turns are banked for high speed. There are constant table-top, "double," and step-up jumps. If you want to do a scouting run before taking any air, these features can all be rolled if you descend with moderate speed. 

There's red dirt and brown dirt.

.

The downhill flows well. I didn't consider any of the features to be tricky for a skilled rider. It was pretty much "aim the bike and let it go."

Bruce rolls the berm on a wide turn.

Bottom Line:
Very fun system. Not a lot of miles, but good riding. Plan on multiple laps.

You can barely make out the Dominguez cross on the ridgeline (middle left of the photo).

Getting there,  Dripping Rock trailhead:  In Spanish Fork, take the I-15 exit for eastbound Highway 6. Continue 4.3 miles until you're about to enter the canyon. (If you reach the Highway 89 intersection, you went a bit too far.) Turn right onto Powerhouse Road. On Powerhouse Road as above, drive 0.3 miles from US 6. Note the Spanish Oaks golf parking on your right. Turn LEFT into the trailhead parking area. Heading up-canyon is the Dripping Rock paved trail, on the east side of the parking area. This will be your route uphill to the Spanish Oaks system.
Spanish Oaks Reservoir trailhead:  Turn onto Powerhouse Road as above. Drive 0.8 miles and turn left onto Spanish Oaks Drive. Go 0.6 miles uphill and enter the Spanish Oaks Reservoir parking. Park there. Pedal uphill on the campground road around 200 feet, then turn off the campground road to the right onto a gravel access road. After 50 feet, drop to the right at the trail entry sign. 

Bathrooms:  Spanish Oaks Reservoir, campground
Camping: Spanish Oaks campground