Cruising south on the way back. Photos and ride description by Bruce on May 5, 2016. Updated for additional riding routes April 27, 2022.
traditional route with links to newer alternates
Mountain trail traverses a narrow shoulder on the steep hillside east of
northern Pleasant Grove. This intermediate-level trail must be reached via
other trails -- either the steep
trail or a
combination of foothill trails to intersect Mahogany Mountain in the
middle -- which makes the overall ride appropriate for upper-intermediate riders. Note
is a popular climbing route
up to the Mahogany Mountain trail for a loop ride.
The trail is intermediate in technical requirement. Mahogany Mountain gains 550 vertical feet
over 1.8 miles from south to north, with a final climb right at the end as you approach the
out-and-back viewpoint. The simplest ride to the viewpoint (via Grove Creek) will be 5.6 miles
round trip with 1200 vertical feet of climbing. For perspective on the Grove Creek climb, see
Northbound as the trail winds past groves of scrub oak. Our final destination is the viewpoint on the ridge.
Tight side-slope on the southern half-mile of the trail -- a piece of the ride you can skip if you navigate the lower foothill trails uphill. Looking south.
There are options for loop rides in the area using bits of the Pleasant Grove bench dirt road
and the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Below I have a track for a 6.4 mile loop (with a short
out-and-back to the viewpoint) that avoids the mean climb up Grove Creek. If you want to hit
the southern piece of Mahogany Mountain that you'd bypass on this loop ride, it can be done
as a quick out-and-back once you reach the trail.
Most riders today use only a piece of the old Mahogany Mountain trail. They arrive via an alternate
Mahogany Bench Climb
, then descend via
Rolling with Bench Connector
and BST. This page will mention these other routes, but see the individual trail pages for
Note that, as of April 2022, the Forest Service is awaiting funding to place trail markers
on the trails it has approved as official routes. So navigation is a bit tricky for riders
who are new to the area. A navigation app is recommended.
Heading downhill from Mahogany Mountain on the Rojo Rolling trail.
View to the west overlooking Pleasant Grove and American Fork, then Utah Lake and Lake Mountain.
Most riders will want to use the new Thunderdome trail to the viewpoint. (See the
page for details.) The main (old) trail goes straight up a loose steep hill and will be hike-a-bike.
Now let's talk about how to climb up to Mahogany Mountain.
Via the Grove Creek Trail
Looking east into Grove Creek Canyon from the trailhead. The big path is Grove Creek. To our left is singletrack to the BST, and there's another connector about 100 feet uphill (at the small white rock to the left of the trail).
This is the classic route, and is the simplest to navigate. Note that
is brutally steep, gaining almost 600 vertical in the one mile up to the Mahogany Mountain
trail. (And that's why most local riders choose to go uphill through the tangled foothill trails.
The paved trailhead parking is at 5150 feet elevation at the end of Grove Drive (which is the
eastbound continuation of 500 North). Start east uphill on the broad cindered path, directly
toward the canyon.
After a bit of pleasant climbing eastbound, the Grove Creek trail gets nasty as it grows steeper.
There's one loose and steep 200 foot chute section that will be a hike-a-bike for just about
everybody. At 0.65 miles, the trail approaches the creek then switchbacks to the left to climb
west. (The trails heading uphill toward the creek are hikers' goof-around-at-the-water paths.)
Eastbound on a smoother section of Grove Creek.
Looking southwest after turning uphill at the switchback.
This section of the trail continues a stiff climb as it hugs the steep side-slope. Even on
a weekday in off-season, I encountered four groups of hikers in the mile between the trailhead
and Mahogany. Consider this if you plan to descend back the way you came. There's scant room
for passing here.
At mile 0.95 at 5750 feet elevation, the Grove Creek trail will switchback to the right to
head east. Near the apex of this turn, the Mahogany Mountain trail forks left northbound along
a shoulder on the mountain. If you enter the canyon eastbound again, you missed the trail.
Backtrack to the turn.
Looking east up the canyon. The snow-covered top of Timpanogos is barely visible.
Via the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and connectors
Early in the ride. The BST will meander just uphill from the power-line corridor. Yes, there's a trail under the power lines, too.
While there are dozens of tangled trails in this area, and the lack of trail signs (as of April
2022) can make the navigation seem complex. Most local riders prefer climbing the foothill
trails, avoiding the crowds and steepness of Grove Creek. An updated GPS navigation app is
Begin by hopping on the
Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST)
Creek, either by climbing the steep singletrack
on the northeast corner of the parking area or by turning left about 100
feet up the Grove Creek trail.
The BST forms an arch going uphill from the Bench Road elevation, then descending back down
to that elevation on the north end. In between, it gives birth to the climbing options up to
Mahogany Mountain (
Bench Climb and Rojo Rolling
Looking back to the south on the BST.
The terrain varies between this (dry, hot, and open), and groves of trees, including some wild fruit trees.
You will need to navigate the BST correctly and find your preferred route uphill.
Via the Mahogany Bench Climb
View uphill on the Bench Climb.
For this option, pedal 0.6 miles north from Grove Creek on the BST, then fork hard right uphill
on a narrower trail. This is the Mahogany Bench Climb. It will zigzag up the hill at a modest
climbing rate to join the Mahogany Mountain trail at 0.5 miles from Grove Creek. See the
Mahogany Bench page
for more details.
Via the BST and Rojo Rolling
Cliffs of Grove Creek Canyon above the rider. Not bad -- views in every direction!
This climbing route stays on the southbound BST from Grove Creek until the trail hits its highest
point. Then instead of turning 90 degrees downhill at a trail crossover, keep straight and
leave the BST to climb the Mahogany Bench Connector. When the connector hits Rojo Rolling 0.2
miles later, stay straight and continue uphill until Rojo Rolling ends on Mahogany Mountain.
Mahogany Bench page
for more details.
Heading uphill on Sneaky Shiz.
Get to the Pleasant Grove Bench Road and connect uphill to the BST above the middle of the
Valley Vista trail system. Find Sneaky Shiz forking uphill off the BST to your right when riding
north shortly after the old upper bench road narrows to a wide singletrack. Follow Sneaky Shiz
uphill to Mahogany Mountain. See the
page for more details.
Mahogany Mountain (Mahogany Bench #301), southern section
Northbound about 1/4 mile after leaving Grove Creek.
The first portion of Mahogany Mountain is 0.6 miles, descending about 100 vertical feet as
you head north. I believe this section has been given a separate trail number by the Forest
Service and will be called "Mahogany Bench" while the northern end of the trail will still
be called "Mahogany Mountain."
The trail is narrower here, and the steep side-slopes will make early-intermediates uneasy.
This is the portion you'll skip if you navigate the lower foothill trails uphill rather than
climbing Grove Creek.
From Grove Creek, two competing routes go on opposite sides of a gambel oak grove then rejoin.
Now navigation is straight-forward. At any trail fork, just pick the flattest fat trail that
continues north. When in doubt, keep uphill. Around one-half mile from the Grove Creek trail
you'll start passing connectors from downhill.
View to the south.
This bit of the trail is narrower, but offers nothing tricky.
If you plan to return to the trailhead through these lower trails, stop and eyeball the layout
occasionally to match routes with the area map. (You'll probably blunder onto unintended trails
anyway, but eventually you'll wind up back at your car. Getting lost here isn't really a problem.
Just keep working downhill. There are too many trails for you to end up stranded on the mountain,
and the constant view of the mountain above and valley below keeps you from getting turned
Mahogany Mountain, northern section and viewpoint hike-a-bike
Looking uphill to the east. But I think this photo was actually shot from the upper arch trail (Upper BST?) rather than Mahogany Mountain.
This part of the trail begins around where the
trail joins. It's here that all the action occurs!
Whichever way you got uphill, the next mile of the trail is wonderful. Heading north along
the mountain's shoulder, the slopes extend steeply above you. To your left the views go all
the way from Santaquin to Eagle Mountain to Herriman.
The trail angles gently uphill. You'll climb 300 vertical feet over this next mile on smooth
and non-technical trail, undulating through meadows among groves of scrub oak.
On Mahogany Mountain heading northbound. The little dip in the mountain contour is our destination.
We're a little closer to the limestone cliffs here. We're riding on Lake Bonneville's highest and oldest shoreline, when it was 1000 feet deep. Then the lake broke through to the north and partially emptied, dropping to the lower level that formed the more prominent Bonneville Shoreline bench.
The limestone cliffs to your right were formed when this area was a deep ocean trough, from
360 to 280 million years ago during the Carboniferous (Mississippian and Pennsylvanian) Period.
The chunky limestone in the trail and the exposed slope means that these trails tend be good
for riding after storms or early in the spring.
At 1.0 miles from the Grove Creek trail, there's a smaller trail on the uphill side that makes
a 150 degree right turn. This is
, and it's an alternate route to the viewpoint. (If you take Thunderdome, you won't pass the
top of Sneaky Shiz or the Mahogany Mountain downhill trail, as those trail forks are on the
As you reach a rise preceding a dip before the final climb to the viewpoint, note this spot.
(See photo.) Just a bit behind you was a narrow trail that offers a loop return back to the
Catching my breath to get ready for the final push to the top!
The south wind behind the approaching storm mixes a bit of desert dust into the air, right when I want a clear "see forever" photo. Still, the views are nice!
At the ridgeline, the trail splits. Go left to look over the valley. You can even see across
the edge of Traverse Mountain to the Bingham Mine. Take a minute to look around before planning
your return route. The smaller singletrack route from the viewpoint is called Thunderdome (see
page). Many riders use it as the climbing route, but almost everyone takes it as the way down.
Rojo Rolling, Connector, and BST downhill
Bruce hits a turn on Rojo Rolling, the most popular descending route.
This is the most popular downhill route at this time. Around 0.1 mile south of the trail fork
between Mahogany Mountain and Thunderdome, find the smaller Rojo Rolling trail on your right.
Follow it downhill and keep right again at the connector to Mahogany Mountain. The trail is
now officially the Mahogany Bench Connector. Keep downhill until this trail hits the BST. A
90-degree right turn takes you downhill to the north (to the upper bench road), while going
straight up the little rise then downhill the ridge puts you on the BST southbound toward Grove
Mahogany Mountain downhill trail
Traversing trail forks left northbound near the northern end of Mahogany Mountain. Nice narrow singletrack for a loop ride.
One of the simplest return routes is found just before the last climb to the viewpoint. This
narrow singletrack traverses around the viewpoint prominence, then drops down to a steeper
old doubletrack. It reaches the Bench Road about 2.3 miles north of the Grove Creek trailhead.
From there, it's an easy and flat crank back.
The connection to Mahogany downhill is 0.4 miles after leaving the viewpoint on the ridge.
When southbound, the Mahogany Mountain downhill section will start on your right. It's marked
by a rockpile. The trail is fairly straight and is a quick drop back to the valley. After 0.9
miles, it hits dirt roads that will take you down to the bench road.
To reach this trail after descending Thunderdome, keep right onto Mahogany Mountain and pedal
past Sneaky Shiz 0.4 miles to find the trail entry.
Here's the trail fork where Mahogany Mountain turns to descend. The main trail here is the steeper route to the viewpoint (and to points higher on the hill).
Descending Sneaky Shiz.
is found 0.7 miles from the
viewpoint via the Mahogany Mountain trail, or 50 yards north of the bottom
of Thunderdome if you took that way down. It's 2.1 miles down to the BST,
where you can connect north or south down to the Bench Road. From there,
you take your favorite way back to the trailhead.
The Pleasant Grove and Cedar Hills Bench Road can be thought of as a fail-safe route at the
bottom of the Forest Service trail system. It ties all the various routes together and provides
an easy bail-out return to Grove Creek, and to the top of the
descending trails to the paved
On the Bench Road, looking south.
Note about the map! There are other singletrack trails that are not are shown here, and some that are shown will be "retired" by the Forest Service as they develop the trails in this area.
Canyon Road TH Murdock Canal Trail (Cedar Hills): The Canyon Road trailhead
is located on the uphill
side of Canyon Road where the Murdock
Canal Trail passes
under Highway 146. The connector to The Pit trail of Valley
Vista is about 1/4 mile south
of the trailhead, on the left side of the Murdock Canal trail.
Wade Springs TH Murdock Canal Trail (Pleasant Grove): The Wade
Spring trailhead is located on 1100
North at approximately 650 East. The Valley
Vista trail system is reached by pedaling
0.2 miles north on the Murdock
Canal Trail. Veer right and gently uphill
on a gravel doubletrack.
Grove Creek TH:
From the south, get off I-15 at the Pleasant Grove exit and head east
toward the mountains. As the street curves north, you'll reach State
Street. Turn right. As State begins to curve southward past a big shopping
complex, turn left at the traffic light to Main Street. Go through the
4-way stop at Center, then turn left at the light on 100 East (Canyon
Highway). Proceed north to 500 North and turn right.
From the north, exit I-15 at the Alpine (American Fork Canyon) exit. Take
Timpanogos Highway all the way to the mouth of the canyon, then turn right
on the Canyon Highway, which will become 100 East. Drive south to 500
North (opposite the cemetery) and turn left.
Drive uphill on 500 North, continuing toward the mountains as it becomes
Grove Creek Drive. Follow it up to the paved parking area. (Bathroom at
trailhead.) The ride starts on the east (mountain) side of the parking
area, heading straight up the canyon. N 40° 22.483 W 111°
Bathrooms and water at all trailheads above.