The Lowder Ponds Loop is a high-altitude advanced-intermediate trail at Brian Head that combines ridgeline singletrack with forested downhill. The trail is a loop 12 miles in length, with around 1400 vertical feet of climbing. Consider Lowder Ponds if you have conditioned thighs and great lungs. It helps if you are already acclimatized to altitude.
An alternative for strong riders is to start in the main parking lot of Brian Head Resort and climb Color Country up to the higher trailhead. This option will add 10 miles and 400 vertical feet of climbing -- bringing your ride to a worthy 22 miles. Few flatland riders will have the lungs for this.
Also come prepared for some serious sun exposure. You'll spend most of your ride in the open sun at high altitude. You can blister your skin and damage your eyes (ultraviolet keratitis -- sunburn of the cornea) quickly at this altitude. I suggest you apply a high-potency sunscreen a few hours before the ride to let it "soak in," then reapply before starting the ride. UV-protective sunglasses are a must, unless you want to spend the evening holding cold washcloths on your aching, burning eyeballs.
This is the common route to Bunker Creek , Dark Hollow , Paradise Canyon , Lowder Ponds, and the Marathon Trail . (The "Marathon" designation on the trail signs can confuse riders. I will be using the traditional names for the trail segments. "Marathon Trail" is a assembled from pre-existing singletrack trail, cindered road, and dirt road -- not a specific individual trail.)
There will be intersecting trails and ATV routes. Most of the time, the route should be obvious. Follow the "Marathon" signs.
Once you're back at the 4-way, retrace your route back to the trailhead.
Very scenic singletrack at high altitude. One of my favorite rides at Brian Head, and the first to make it onto this website many years ago. The loop can be done either direction. I prefer counterclockwise, but on weekends you may be meeting flying riders on the Sydney Peaks uphill segment as they head for Bunker Creek. The altitude will be a limiting factor for many riders, so most Brian Head riders will be doing lift-served or shuttled riding.
1.1 trail intersection 4-way
N 37° 41.624' W 112° 48.359', turn right.
(Dark Hollow is left, Bunker Creek is straight ahead)
1.4 cross doubletrack
2.2 cross small creek, then doubletrack
2.9 pond on right, go left (not through log fence)
3.0 join ATV doubletrack
3.9 cross meadow
5.2 large meadow, veer right and cross wide deep creek
7.7 ignore road coming in from left, continue straight
8.0 intersect Sidney Peaks - Bunker Creek trail
N 37° 42.869' W 112° 46.444'
turn left, becomes singletrack, start hard climb
9.5 reach saddle
10.2 trail fork, go right
10.8 back at 4-way intersection, go straight
11.9 back at parking area.