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Lizard Lake
Loop ride or DH bomber

Lizard Lake offers two advanced-technical rides: A 3-1/2 mile DH ride connecting two points on the Nebo Loop road, with 1500 vertical feet of descent. The second is a short loop from the Shram Creek trailhead, heading up and around Lizard Lake, then descending via the lower portion of the DH trail for 5.2 miles and 900 feet of climbing. Both rides require log-hopping skills for maximum enjoyment. For intermediate riders, there's the option of taking the upper portion of the Lizard Lake DH, but continuing downhill on the Shram Creek Trail.

On the DH trail below Lizard Lake. Multiple tree-trunks cross the trail. Most can be hopped by the typical expert trail-rider. Some are axle-high and require chainring guards and super trials skill. This log is half-buried on the upside, making a nice air opportunity. Photos by Bruce, August 27, 2008.

For the DH ride, the shuttle car stays at the Shram Creek trailhead (the parking area where the Winward Reservoir road takes off). The dropoff car heads up the paved road, past the Blackhawk Campground road, to 100 yards before the split with the gravel Santaquin Canyon road at 8400 feet. 

The trail drops a mile to join the Rock Spring Trail (fork right), then splits left off Rock Spring onto Shram Creek after another 1/10 mile. Another 0.2, fork right and begin hopping logs as you descend. You won't actually pass Lizard Lake on this route -- if you want to see the lake, pass the Shram Creek turnoff and climb a stiff hill, then catch the trail past the lake as in the loop ride.

We're looking north from the Nebo Loop road. The DH trail starts here at this sign.

The DH route below Lizard Lake is studded with fallen trees, many of them years old. Some are small enough to bang over, and some have cheater routes around them. There are plenty of eight-inch-plus logs that are a nice challenge. Ride what you can, step over the rest. This is the fun part -- see how many you can clear.

View uphill on the Shram Creek trail as we climb. Most of the ride is in the aspens, with maples lower on the mountain and firs scattered here and there.

Quick newbie log-basher hint: To clear a log that's up to an inch higher than your chainring, pop the front wheel over it. As the front wheel rolls down the backside of the log, immediately get your weight on the handlebars and touch the front brake, so the rear wheel pops up. Yes, do a little "nose wheelie." Let the bike roll forward with the rear wheel off the ground. The chainrings miss the log as the rear wheel makes contact with the top of the log and rolls over. Nice.
The loop ride climbs the Shram Creek trail. It averages 400 vertical per mile (about 8% slope), with a few stiff spots. Very doable. Reaching the Rock Springs trail, the route forks left 1/4 mile to the lake. The downhill trail starts as a faint singletrack heading north directly to, and around, the lake. It becomes more prominent when it joins the DH route about 1/3 mile below the lake.

At Lizard Lake, we follow singletrack (just to the west -- left -- of this sign) to the lake shore, then go to the right around the lake. The downhill trail exits the photo just behind the trees at the left.

Advanced log-basher hint: For a really big log, wheelie the front tire dead-center onto the top of the log. As the tire hits the log, hold both brakes and stand on the pedals. Move your body up and forward so you're over the top of the log. Jump up and pull the bike up and forward so it comes down with both wheels on the log. Stop and lock both brakes. Crouch a little. Now jump for the open spot on the other side of the log, pulling the bike with you. Release the brakes as you pull the front of the bike up and forward. With the front wheel in the air, the rear wheel rolls down the backside of the log. 1-2-3 steps. How'd you do?
Riding notes, DH route:
0.0    Start north (R) from road along fence
0.8    Fork R on Rock Springs
1.0    Fork L on Shram Creek
         (don't go through creek)
1.2    Fork right (Lizard Lake DH)
1.3    Keep straight (R = up to lake)
2.7    Rejoin Shram Creek Trail
3.2    Fork R
3.4    Up across cattleguard to parking

On the upper end of the Lizard Lake trail, heading downhill toward the Rock Spring Trail.

Riding notes, counter clockwise loop:
0.0   From parking just off Nebo Loop  N39 56.558 W111 40.564
        Drop off parking on DT, L uphill on ST
0.2   Trail from alternate parking joins on R N39 56.403 W111 40.661
0.7   Fork R (L = return path) N39 56.033 W111 40.625
1.1   Fork L (R = to Sheepherder Trail) N39 55.879 W111 40.864
2.4   Straight. Lizard Lake DH splits off on L N39 54.983 W111 40.490
2.6   Fork L (down through creek) Rock Springs Trail
        N39 54.765 W111 40.662
2.9   Lizard Lake, fork L toward lake   N39 54.827 W111 40.403
3.2   Keep straight downhill  N39 54.983 W111 40.490
        (L = DH route from Shram)
4.5   Rejoin Shram Trail  N39 56.033 W111 40.625
5.2   Back at trailhead.

Another trail view on Lizard Lake Trail.

Getting there:  Going south, take the Payson exit 250 from I-15 and turn left. Head into Payson on U-115 to the traffic light, then turn left (100 North, U-198). About 1/3 mile later, at the top of a small hill, turn right at 600 East. Zero your odometer here. Drive 9.1 miles up the Nebo Loop Road. (Pass the Grotto Trail and Bennie Creek Cutoff Trail.)
Loop parking, bottom of shuttle:  As you approach a cattleguard, there's a dirt road on the right, signed for Winward Reservoir. Parking is at the wide area on your left. The Shram Creek trail starts about 150 feet down the dirt road, just across the cattleguard, on the left.
Top trailhead for DH ride:  Continue uphill on the Nebo Loop Road about 5 miles. As you see the gravel Santaquin Canyon road splitting off ahead on your right, the Lizard Lake trail heads north (to your right) away from the road along the western side of the fenceline.
Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide, clockwise loop
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
    Garmin       GPX
Large-format topo map (600K): View map
Lodging, camping, shops:     Links to area resources

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