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Rattlesnake Trail  (historical Betty)

The Rattlesnake Trail (historically called "Betty" by local riders) is a popular access route into the Timpanogos Foothill trails. It's 1.2 miles long, rising 500 vertical feet from the Orem Bench Road (BST) to a trail junction called The Altar. It's a stiff climb but 100% ride-able, with an intermediate technical rating. It's the climbing route for a lot of different rides, for example the Dry Canyon 51 Loop (Kris' Loop).

A rider heads uphill on Rattlesnake. The terrain is a mix of grass and stands of gambel oak. Initial photos, GPS track, and ride description by Bruce based on rides July 10-14, 2016 -- with update August 2021.

Note!  These trails are on Utah Division of Wildlife Resources land, purchased with sportsmen dollars and set aside as the Orem Bench Wildlife Management Area specifically to protect Utah's native animals. Mountain Biking is allowed, but only insofar as it is not harmful to wildlife. To insure continued access please be respectful to the landowner by following proper trail etiquette and obeying all posted rules. Specifically:
1.  Do not ride these trails during the winter. Deer will not survive the winter if frequently disturbed.
2.  Unauthorized trail-building is strictly prohibited!
3.  To reduce erosion and prevent "trenching" of trails, do not ride trails when muddy.
4.  Avoid disturbing wildlife, and do not allow your dog to chase animals.
5.  Do NOT ride between December 1st and April 15th
Rattlesnake can be reached from several trailheads, but they all have to hit the Orem Bench Road (North Provo Canyon Bonneville Shoreline) first. Many riders start from the Orem BST trailhead off 800 East.

Our route will be more direct, starting from Timpanogos Park in Provo Canyon. We'll pass through the Race Loop on our way to the BST. Then we'll use Rattlesnake as a climbing route within a double figure-8, introducing you to other trails near Rattlesnake. The ride will be 7.4 miles with 1400 vertical feet of climbing.

Climbing north on the Race Loop. We're doing the shorter west side of the loop, because it's less complicated.

Starting from Timpanogos Park, climb the gravel road. Keep left at the fork at 0.3 miles, then veer right onto the Lower Access singletrack at mile 0.4. When you hit the Race Loop, do a 180 left and climb. 

Keep straight as Aquila (Cliff) hits on the left (0.8). At the loop's highest point (mile 1.1) turn left uphill and climb the Bee Line trail to the Bench Road. Rattlesnake should be to the right (east) about 50 feet on the BST on the uphill side. If you don't see it, you probably took an alternate trail -- try the other direction.

Bench Road as we approach Rattlesnake between Aquila (Cliff trail) and the Bee Line race course access trail. Rattlesnake starts just after the road turns from northbound to east. That's Little Baldy straight ahead. Rattlesnake climbs up the dip in mid-right under Timpanogos.

Just 100 feet up Rattlesnake, you'll reach a trail fork. Rattlesnake is to the right. We'll be descending the other trail, lower Gopher Snake.

Rattlesnake will climb at a tough but tolerable rate. Pass Elk Crossing as it crosses at mile 2 -- 0.4 miles from Rattlesnake's start. (Gopher Snake is just 100 feet west on Elk Crossing; Mouse is about 1/2 mile uphill to the right on Elk Crossing.) 

Heading north uphill on Rattlesnake, tall grass surrounds the trail among stands of scrub oak.

Now crank on uphill without interruption. At mile 1.2 from the origin of Rattlesnake, mile 2.8 from Canyon View, you'll reach a large stone pile in a huge meadow. You'll notice a few trails forking away. This is The Altar.

Looking back downhill on Rattlesnake as we approach The Altar.

The trail straight ahead uphill is Little Baldy 33, a mean climbing route to Black Bear Trail 51 (and the hiking trails Ruffy and Moose Back). The first trail on your right is Mouse, which descends down to Elk Crossing. Further right is "Frank," officially still the Little Baldy Trail -- Great Western Trail, Forest Trail 033 -- which descends to the Bench Road.

About 200 feet straight ahead on Little Baldy is the top of Lazuli, joining on your left.

My Rocky Mountain leans on The Altar as viewed from Rattlesnake, looking north toward Timpanogos.

From here, you can make a loop ride using a bit of Little Baldy uphill, a short bit of Black Bear (trail 51) westbound, all of Wild Turkey to Lazuli, and Lazuli eastbound back to just above the Altar. See the map.

Nice shady section of Lazuli just west of the Altar.

There are a couple of nice meadows full of Mules Ear blossoms, if you hit the ride during early to mid June.

Rattlesnake passes through a couple of meadows like this one.

It's best to have a navigation app such as Trailforks here. In late summer 2021, most trail forks are marked only by posts. Many have burned away. Those signposts that do have trail names have the old traditional names. (Trail markers with names are scheduled for placement. But given the complexity of the system, a navigation app is almost a necessity!)

Descending on Wild Turkey after the Lament (trail 51) fork, facing southeast.

After Wild Turkey ends on Lazuli, turn left. Lazuli will meander down a slope of grass, sage, and low scrub oak.

Northern Lazuli (historical Buckle) is a fun little trail, winding through groves of oak.

When you reach a big meadow, you're almost back to The Altar. Turn left as you hit the Little Baldy Trail and coast downhill 100 feet to The Altar.

As we approach the meadow eastbound on Buckle, the trees get bigger.

From The Altar, you could simply backtrack on Rattlesnake. But we're here to taste different trails. So we'll take Mouse for the first half of your downhill from The Altar.

As your bike rolls to The Altar from uphill, the second trail from the left is Mouse. (Leftmost is Frank 33; straight ahead is Rattlesnake.)

Back at The Altar. This time, I'm standing at the entry to Mouse to snap this photo (looking northwest).

Mouse is also a nice alternate climbing route, but we'll be doing it downhill. At mile 0.7 from The Altar, there's a trail fork. We'll be joining the Elk Crossing trail. Turn right.

Heading downhill on Mouse. Nice riding, occasionally a bit tight on the handlebar clearance.

When you reach Rattlesnake, go straight across and pedal 100 feet. Now turn left at the trail fork. You're now on lower Gopher Snake. The trail heads south parallel to Rattlesnake as you descend.

This trail is narrow and fairly smooth. For your next ride, you may actually prefer to climb this route instead of Rattlesnake.

At the trail fork between Gopher Snake and Elk Crossing, I'm looking back to the north uphill. (The "social trail" between the oak scrub has been closed off.)

The next trail fork comes in around 1/10th mile. Keep left to stay on Gopher Snake. The trail on the right is Cottontail (an alternate descending route to the bench road (BST).

Now head downhill and merge with Rattlesnake. Dump onto the Bench Road.

Now you could simply backtrack through the Race Loop. But instead, we're heading south on the Bench Road so we can play on the Aquila (Cliff) Trail.

Rolling south downhill on Gopher Snake.

Go 1/2 mile south on the Bench Road. As the road turns to the west, spot the doubletrack dropping off by the tower-whatever-thing.

Veer left to take the northbound singletrack trail that follows the top of the cliffs. That's the Aquila Trail. (Don't continue south from the doubletrack -- that's the Zorro Trail, and it will drop you to a neighborhood in Orem near the canyon mouth. Or hey, maybe that's what you want. Just pedal out to 800 North and descend to the Provo River Parkway and pedal back to Canyon View.)

Rolling downhill on the Aquila (Cliff) Trail toward the Race Loop.

At mile 0.5 of the Aquila Trail, it will drop to the Race Loop. The quickest way down is to your right. For a longer trip, consider forking left and doing the mile of the Race Loop that you missed on the way up.

Bottom Line:
Rattlesnake is a key access trail to the Timp Foothills. It's decent riding but a tough climb, recommended for tough intermediates and above.

View west at the mouth of Provo Canyon from the Race Loop.

NOTE! This is an area maintained for the benefit of wildlife. Bicycling is ONLY allowed when it does not impact animals.
These trails are closed from December 1st through April 15th for the benefit of the winter deer herd.

Getting there, Timpanogos Park:  Exit I-15 on Orem's 800 North and drive straight towards the mountains. Keep left to enter Provo Canyon. After 1 mile, you'll pass the entrance to Canyon View Park on your left. About 100 yards later, there's a diversion dam, then a bridge over the river to Timpanogos Park. (The parks are on opposite sides of the Provo River.) Drive over the bridge and park in the lot. Ride to the northwest corner of the parking area. Begin your ride by pedaling up the gravel road. Keep straight at the road fork at  mile 0.3 if you're heading for the Bottom Access trail (recommended), or fork R uphill for the Ravine or East Access trails. Ride through the race loop and take the Upper Access trail to the BST to connect to uphill trails.

Orem Bench BST Trailhead:  Exit I-15 on Orem's 800 North and drive straight towards the mountains. At 800 East, turn left and drive north about 1 mile. Immediately past the fence at the uphill end of the cemetery, turn right (east) on Cascade Drive. Drive 1/2 mile then fork uphill before you approach the water treatment plant. Take two switchbacks up, passing the lower overflow parking, to the paved parking area with the bathroom. Your trail is right across from where the road entered the parking lot.

Bathroom:  Orem BST TH, Dry Canyon TH, Canyon View Park, Canyon Glen Park, Nunn's Park
Water:  Canyon View Park, Canyon Glen Park, Nunn's Park
Camping:  Nunn's Park

Dry Canyon Trailhead:  Turn east off State Street (Highway 89) at 200 South in Lindon, which also happens to be 2000 North for Orem. Keep straight as you approach the mountains. When the road begins to turn right (south), turn left onto Dry Canyon Drive heading northeast. Now keep straight uphill until the road turns into the trailhead. To reach the Shooter uphill route, go south on the BST to the Orem trailhead.
Canyon Glen:
Use this trailhead if you plan to ride counter-clockwise or out-and-back. Note that if you ride this direction there are some granny-gear climbs that are a bit loose. Exit I-15 on Orem's 800 North and drive straight towards the mountains. Keep left to enter Provo Canyon. About 3 miles later, you'll see the parking area for Canyon Glen on your left. Go across the bridge to the Parkway. Turn right, and find the GWT on your left about 200 feet later, forking uphill just before the paved parkway curves around a rock outcrop.
Nunn's Park:
  This makes the ride about a mile longer, but at the expense of a rather ugly short section of trail from Nunn's park up to the aqueduct. Going up-canyon, turn right 4 miles up the canyon, then left under 89. Go into Nunn's Park. On your bike, come back through the park entrance, then turn left on a broken-up roadway just before the road goes under 89. Turn left at the fence and follow the fence uphill. This section is a hike-a-bike uphill. As the singletrack reaches the top, go left (west).
Zorro (1560 East Trailhead):
  Take 800 North in Orem toward the mountains. Just as the road starts to descend into the canyon, turn left on 1560 East. Go to the end of the pavement and park on the right. The ugly jeep road switchbacks east of the trailhead take you uphill -- 0.4 miles with 200 vertical -- to the Zorro singletrack. Zorro will add another 300 vertical and 0.6 miles. (Don't fork onto the steeper Bramber DH. You'll know it as you pass it.) When Zorro hits doubletrack, head a bit further uphill to the Bench Road for uphill connections.
Canyon Mouth Provo River Parkway:
There's a parking area on Orem's 800 North Street just before you enter Provo canyon. It's just east of the gas station. GPS N 40 18.840'  W 111 39.472'. To get to the parkway, go east over the river and through the fence. Go uphill to the Canyon View Park, Canyon Glen, or Nunn's park for uphill singletrack connections to the Bench Road.
Riding resources:
GPS track files: (Right click and Save as...)
    Multi-track area file (over 50 tracks)
Topographic maps for printing (caution: closed trails and old trail names! need updating): 
    Orem Bench Zoom   Wider canyon mouth area
Lodging, camping, shops:     Links to Provo area resources

Copyright 2016 UtahMountainBiking
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Latest update August 2021.