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Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem is a two-way trail on the south side of Draper's trail system, branching off the upper (western) end of the Three Falls trail. Most riders will use it as a downhill route, and this is my strong recommendation. Carpe Diem is 3.2 miles in length with just over 900 vertical feet of elevation loss as it drops into Hog Hollow. The lower end of the trail lies at the bottom of the Longview trail as both trails fork away from Hog Hollow.

Heading into one of many hairpin banked turns on the machined part of Carpe Diem. Photos and trail review by Bruce on September 19, 2021.

The trail is new in fall 2021 and is an eclectic mix of trail styles. The upper 0.7 miles is a narrow hand-cut ribbon in the forest. This is often on steep side-slopes where tight twisting trail makes you thread the needle between trees. The lower 2.5 miles has a radically different character. There you find machine cut trail with highly banked turns, rock stunts, and table jumps -- with an occasional piece of hand-built trail in between.

Wiggles and tree-dodging on the upper end of Carpe Diem.

I don't suggest climbing this trail, at least, not now. Many of the tight banked turns are unfriendly to a slower climber. The landing slope of a table jump can be a leg-killer when you're cranking uphill in granny.

The descent is upper-intermediate in technical difficulty, with a lot of sequential tight turns. The hand-cut singletrack at the top borders on expert. The expected riding season is late May through November.

Seen as if climbing uphill, this is a trail split designed to send climbers and hikers to the right for around 100 feet.

 
Climbing routes to the top of Carpe Diem!

Via Longview and Peacemaker

Carpe Diem hits Hog Hollow at the same spot where Longview leaves for the uphill climb. This makes for a nice figure-8 ride up Longview and down Carpe Diem. The entry to Longview (and the end of Carpe Diem) is 0.4 miles up Hog Hollow from the Angel Gate trailhead. Longview climbs at a gentle pace for 3.2 miles, gaining 800 vertical feet before ending on Peacemaker.

Entry to Longview from the Hog Hollow trail. It's a 150-degree turn to your right when climbing Hog Hollow, but a straight shot if you're coming from uphill (from Fango, Achtung Baby, or Carpe Diem).

(An alternative to Peacemaker is Turkey Road. It's a bit steeper, but a faster route to Peak View. Longview hits Turkey Road as it makes a left turn at mile 3.0. Just keep straight onto the doubletrack for this shortcut.)

To ride up to Peak View via Peacemaker, stay on Longview then make a right turn at the top. Pedal 0.7 miles and a bit over 200 vertical feet of climbing on Peacemaker. Turn right again when you hit the Peak View trail. Pass the trail to Jacob's Ladder on your left, then find Carpe Diem on your right just under 1/10th mile later.

Looking east from Peacemaker at the trail fork where Longview ends. Make a right turn here.

Via Hog Hollow and Porcupine

Trom Angel's Gate at the end of Lighthouse Drive, go north and downhill from the parking area. Cross through the creek, then turn left (north) on the Hog Hollow Creek singletrack to join the main Hog Hollow trail. Pedal up the broad Hog Hollow trail until you hit Porcupine at mile 2.8, then make a hard right turn and climb Porcupine.

Hog Hollow has gained new fans with the connections to Porcupine, Two Hollows, and Achtung Baby.

As a climbing route, Porcupine ascends the hill at a reasonable pace. At mile 0.7, you can turn right on Peacemaker and pedal one mile to Peak View, where you'll fork right and proceed east to the top of Carpe Diem.

Or, you can stay on Porcupine until it ends at mile 0.9, then make a hard fork to the right onto lower Peak View. From there, you'll climb a bit over a mile to reach Carpe Diem.

View south toward Utah Lake as we climb uphill.

From Peak View trailhead

From the Peak View trailhead, it's 1.6 miles to Carpe Diem. Keep left and uphill when you hit the trail for Porcupine at mile 0.7. The trail climbs 400 vertical feet over the first 1.3 miles, then rolls a flat quarter mile further to the Jacob's Ladder trail fork. From there, fork right onto Three Falls and go another 100 yards to the top of Carpe Diem, on your right.

Looking east as Bruce rolls the climbing turns of Peak View.

From Alpine

Using one of the four climbing trails (Vista Ridge, Fort Canyon, Bodily Harm, or Forbidden), pedal to upper Fort Canyon and get onto Three Falls westbound. Now pedal the three miles to Carpe Diem, on your left.

 
Descending Carpe Diem!
Carpe Diem begins on the upper Three Falls trail, just 400 feet east of Three Falls' fork with the Jacob's Ladder access trail and Peak View. The elevation at the top is 6100 feet. When heading eastbound from Peak View, there will be a hard right turn onto an old four-digger doubletrack.

At the ride's highest point on Peak View, heading east toward the trail fork with Carpe Diem.

After making the 150-degree turn, keep straight to pick up the trail at the signpost across the old mud-road area. Horses are not allowed on this trail, but hikers and uphill riders are. Control your speed where your sight-line doesn't give you time to stop!

Ready to get serious. The singletrack goes into the trees for the next 0.7 miles.

The upper 0.7 miles of Carpe Diem is a fairly straight southbound descent, interrupted by one S-turn drop. Most of this section hugs the western side of a ridge, traversing a steep side-slope. Enjoy the tight twisting singletrack.

Second half of a narrow S-turn. The photo is NOT crooked; the trees are. Because it's steep.

There will be occasional bits of uphill. There will be some narrow chutes as the trail twists among the trees, plus a few stumps right in the middle of the riding line. I'd rate this section as fun for "advanced riders." Bike park junkies might not enjoy this wild-feeling tight singletrack.

Unlike a machined trail, there are stumps to catch an unwary pedal (bottom middle), plus roots and crooked trees to navigate.

You'll cross Turkey Road at mile 0.7 and find that the ride is suddenly totally transformed. From here on down, most of the trail is a machined bench-cut.

Looking north on the trail. Again, the trees are leaning because of the pitch of the slope.

For anyone who wants to go right to the machined stuff, there IS an option. At the spot where Longview touches Turkey Road (1/4 mile downhill from Peacemaker), hop onto Turkey Road heading south. If you're dropping down Longview from Peacemaker just go south and uphill on the doubletrack when you hit it. It's only 1/4 mile from Longview to where Carpe Diem crosses Turkey Road.

If you're climbing Longview, this is a 150-degree right turn at mile 2.9, then an easy climb on Turkey Road to where Carpe Diem crosses. Turn to the right.

At Turkey Road. This is where the tight hand-cut trail gives way to wider machined bench-cut. We'll cross Turkey Road several more times on the way down.

So you've just crossed Turkey Road. Now for the first time you can turn it loose -- hikers and uphill cyclists permitting. Here the trail resembles more of the stuff you've been riding elsewhere in Draper's trail system, although a bit more techy. You may be pleased, or disappointed, depending on what type of trail you like.

Typical view down the trail on a flat section.

Almost immediately, you'll break out of the forest for
the first time and see some views. We're looking south
at Lehi, American Fork, and Utah Lake.
To the northeast is Lone Peak (shown here) with Timpanogos
and Cascade Mountain to the southeast. You may not even 
notice them unless you're climbing uphill.
There's a very short trail split at mile 1.0, where the left line is for climbing. Keep right. The next short trail split is at mile 1.4, where the left line is expert with a rock rollover at the lip, and the right line is two-way. 

Coming up on a table jump, followed by a banked turn.

There are launching bumps and tables, and too many sharply-banked turns to count. These stretches of trail are a sign of how good this trail will be after it's tweaked and ridden-in.

Lots of turns looking like this. That's Lone Peak, Ram's Horn and Chipman Peak on the skyline. Box Elder is the hump of blue at far right.

There are several spots where the flow of the trail is interrupted by a bumpy hand-cut section or an off-camber turn. This will get better quickly as more riders hit the trail.

Here's a rock rollover on a flat section of trail just after crossing Turkey Road yet again.

At the south end, Carpe Diem turns northbound and drops into Hog Hollow. Then after turning back to the south again, the trail ends on the Hog Hollow trail. Longview is right there if you want to roll into it to head back to the top!

Heading north into Hog Hollow. The yellow slash at upper left is Two Hollows.

Bottom Line:

This is a fun trail in a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde sort of way! Great potential here, and after a few tweaks and a lot of bike tires I'd predict it will be a favorite. Although officially designated a two-way, everything about Carpe Diem screams "ride it downhill."

Bottom of the trail. On my ride, I encountered zero riders going uphill. I was passed by around 8 downhill riders as I stopped to take pictures. One lone hiker headed up the trail while I was shooting this photo.

Getting there:

Angel Gate at Spring Hollow (upper Hog Hollow and top of Hog Hollow Creek): On Westfield Road, turn uphill (north) on Beacon Hill Blvd. Drive 0.5 miles, then as Beacon Hill turns to the right (east), turn left on Lighthouse Drive to continue straight north uphill. Lighthouse will become Angel Gate. Keep straight until you pass the irrigation facility, then park. At the northeast corner of the fence, a doubletrack descends east across the hollow. Immediately after crossing the creek, turn left on Hog Hollow.

No water or restrooms at Angel Gate.

For other nearby trailheads, see the pages for Woods Hollow, Eagle Crest, Peakview, and Fort Canyon.

GPX track files (right-click and "Save as"):
     Hog Hollow area multi-track file 
Map above for printing:  Load
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to north Utah County resources