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North Fork Scenic Byway Trail
View down the Provo River gorge.

The North Fork Scenic Byway Trail is a new addition to the Uinta Mountains. The trail is broad and covered with gravel. There is some climb and descent, but it's very gradual. Altitude is 7,500 feet, with about 150 feet elevation gain over the 3 mile trail. Most of this trail is sun-exposed, and is usually free of snow by early June, remaining rideable until November.

Also called the North Fork Trail is a double-track located across the road from the Byway trailhead.

Looking southwest down the trail, about a half mile from the Provo River Overlook. September 7, 1999 by Bruce Argyle

Because the trail was fairly new when I rode it, the gravel hadn't packed completely yet. Young children may struggle a bit going uphill. Training wheels are absolutely out of the question.

Younger or weaker riders might want to start at the trail's uppermost end (the Provo River Overlook) and bike downhill. Pick them up at the North Fork Trailhead with a shuttle.

View down to the Provo River. NOTE: You CANNOT see the Provo River from the Provo River Overlook. Figures. September 7, 1999

View down into the Provo River gorge.

Looking through the ponderosa pines along the trail. The trail is very straight, broad, and not the least bit tricky. You'll enjoy the longleaf pines, open meadows, and views over the Provo River.

Note: as the trail goes downhill from the North Fork parking area, it turns left, about 200 feet after crossing the bridge. (The portion that goes straight runs into the road about 1/4 mile later.)

View of a shadier portion of the Byway. September 7, 1999

Just past the Pine Valley group area, the trail crosses the Lower Provo road. It continues to your left, but this portion (Pine Valley Trail) is still under development, and may be too steep and rough for children and beginning riders. After about 1/4 mile uphill, this trail joins the Beaver Creek trail.

View down the Provo River from the bridge on the Byway Trail. September 7, 1999.

Looking south down the Provo River.

The Uinta Mountains are unusual, because they run east-west, rather than north-south like all the other mountain chains in the US. The Uinta Mountains slowly rose up between 40 and 80 million years ago, warping the layers above them into a giant dome. As the overlying layers eroded away, contributing sediments to the Uinta Basin (Vernal area) and the Great Basin, the underlying Precambrian (over 500 million years old) rock was exposed. Glaciers during the last ice age carved the surface into round valleys (cirques) with multiple lakes, leaving spires of rock (matterhorns) that form the sudden bare peaks of the higher Uintas, and inter-glacier ridges (cols).

Lucky dog. Fresh air, clean water, lots of exercise. Getting there: In Kamas, turn east towards the mountains on the well-marked Mirror Lake Highway. Drive 6 miles to the fee station and pay your $3.

(1) Pine Valley Trailhead: Four miles later, you can catch the trail at the Pine Valley Camping area. Turn right. At the fork in the road, continue straight towards "Lower Provo." A few hundred feet later, the trail takes off on your left next to a small rocky parking area. 

Jackie, the Doc's Jack Russell, enjoys a stroll in the river. September 7, 1999 by Bruce Argyle

(2) North Fork (main) Trailhead: One mile further up the Mirror Lake Highway, you'll see the prominently marked "North Fork Trailhead" parking area on the right. 
(3) Provo River Overlook. One mile past the North Fork Trailhead, there's a small turnout with a bathroom and a viewing area. This is the top end of the trail.

North Fork Scenic Byway Trail Map

Riding resources:
One-page riding guide
Lodging, camping, shops:     Links to western Uinta area resources

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