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Valley Vista Trail System
Soft Rock, Rose, Gamble, Fault Line and Cowley's Curse loops
Foothill, Molly's, Cowley's Cure, Hard Rock and The Pit trails

The Valley Vista trail system is in the foothills of Pleasant Grove between the Murdock Canal Trail and the Bench Road. It's a network of interconnected loops for riders of all abilities, completed in September 2016 with 6 miles of trail. Expansions in 2019 and 2021 added 5 more miles of trail north of the original trail system.

Little Rocky is enjoying a cruise around the Soft Rock loop. Original photos and ride description June 30, 2016 by Bruce. Latest update July 8, 2019.

Trailheads - Wade Spring trailhead in Pleasant Grove

The trails can be reached via the paved Murdock Canal Trail. The closest trailhead to the main trails is Wade Spring, located on 1100 North at approximately 650 East. The trailhead includes bathroom, shaded picnic area, and water. The trails most suitable for beginning riders -- Soft Rock, Rose, and Gambel -- are just north of the Wade Springs trailhead.

Looking north near the trailhead entry.

From Wade Springs, the trail system is reached by pedaling 0.2 miles north on the Murdock Canal Trail. Veer right and gently uphill on a gravel doubletrack. A bit over 100 yards uphill, the entry to the first singletrack loop Soft Rock is on your right and the Foothill trail is straight ahead.

Your target is the gap between the trees at the top of this little hill. Just veer to the right and head uphill on the doubletrack to the kiosk. We're riding north in this photo.

Cedar Hills Canyon Road trailhead

You can also ride from the Canyon Road trailhead (located on the uphill side of Canyon Road just south of where the Murdock Canal trail passes under the highway). The connector to The Pit loop is about 1/4 mile south of the trailhead, on the left side of the Murdock Canal trail.

The Foothill singletrack trail is further down the Murdock Canal Trail at around mile 0.8, about half-way between the two Murdock Canal trailheads. It winds quickly uphill, then contours the hill southbound until it reaches the trail kiosk at the bottom of the Soft Rock loop.

The Cedar Hills Murdock Canal Trail trailhead, looking south.

To reach The Pit loop, get onto the doubletrack just uphill from the paved trail. After about 100 yards on the gravel doubletrack fork uphill and ride toward the mountain. At the base of the slope, turn right (the left-hand trail is the one-way return of The Pit).

Heading south on the doubletrack connector. Just ahead, we'll veer to the left uphill. 

 Valley Vista 2017 video...

 If the above video does not appear on your browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

Trail organization at Valley Vista

The easiest trails are located on the lower slopes. In general, the trails are built as "stacked loops" that ride one direction. On each loop, you can either continue uphill by transferring to the next-higher loop as you reach the loop's high point, or you can roll on around and downhill to complete the loop. Individual trails are described below.

Just getting started. Bruce rides through the first turn on Soft Rock after leaving the trailhead kiosk.

I recommend that beginners start from the Wade Springs trailhead and ride the Soft Rock loop. From Soft Rock, you can progress to the Rose loop, then the longer Gambel loop. These loops are "stacked" one above the other. Each loop is a bit larger than the one just below it. See the maps near the bottom of this page.

Hitting a turn on Rose as we climb through the trees of Valley Vista. The lower three loops are fairly heavily forested.

Above the Gambel loop is Cowley's Curse, a larger intermediate-level loop. Cowley's is the largest of the loops at 2.3 miles, and takes you all the way uphill to the gravel Bench Road. (From here, you can connect to Forest Service trails above the road such as the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Or you can head north on the Bench Road to the newer parts of the trail system.)

Climbing Cowley's Curse. Nice views up here.

Near the top of Cowley's Curse, the Fault Line loop forks away to the south, then rejoins just a few feet further up the hill. Cowley's traverses the hillside, then descends back down to the Gambel loop.

There are two alternate paths while descending Cowley's: the Viking Run and Tufa trails.

At the top of Cowley's Curse, or at a connector a couple of turns downhill, you can connect to the Bench Road northbound. The Bench Road will take you to the northern trail options: Cowley's Cure, Molly's, The Pit and Hard Rock loops.

Descending Cowley's Curse.

Molly's trail is your route to the northern trails, and it can only be reached via the Bench Road.

Cowley's Cure, which forks away from Molly's trail, returns back to the middle of the downhill portion of the Gambel loop.

Most of the trees on the upper slope are gambel oak.

At the far northern end of the riding area are two more stacked loops, occupying the space between the Murdock Canal trail and the Bench Road. These are the Hard Rock loop which forks away from the far northern end of Molly's trail, and The Pit loop below Hard Rock. The bottom of The Pit connects to the Murdock Canal trail just south of the Cedar Hills trailhead.

The lower southern portions of the riding area are dense with trees, while the northern and higher slopes are mostly open grass and sage.

Individual Valley Vista trails
Listed bottom to top on a counterclockwise ride

The trails below are listed in the order you'd encounter them during a counterclockwise ride from the Soft Rock trail kiosk up to the Bench Road and then north and downhill. The trail system is marked with carsonite trail posts, so you'll always know where you are.
Foothill Trail
The Foothill trail is one of the few Valley Vista trails that doesn't form a singletrack loop. But it does form a loop ride when combined with the paved Murdock Canal trail.

Foothill runs along the hillside from the main trail kiosk to the Murdock Canal trail. It's 0.8 miles long with only about 70 feet of elevation change. The trail is very easy technically except for a series of S turns at the north end. Beginners will find these turns hard to ride, but it's a very short section and is easily walked.

Looking northwest over Utah Valley. The trail is a meandering bench-cuton the hillside above the Murdock Canal trail. 

Foothill starts at the main trail kiosk, heading straight north parallel to the Murdock Canal trail. As you approach the kiosk when arriving at the kiosk from the Wade Springs trailhead, keep to the left and northbound and you're on Foothill. Cruise down and through the gate, where you'll notice a connector to the paved canal trail.

At mile 0.8, the trail descends quickly through banked turns. At the Murdock Canal trail, turn left to return to the Valley Vista trailhead. Or do the Foothill trail as an out-and-back.

Bruce heads back into the trailhead area from Foothill. 

The north end of Foothill can be reached directly via the Murdock Canal Trail. When riding from the north, it's on the left (uphill) side 0.9 miles from the Murdock Canal Canyon Road trailhead (just southeast of where the paved trail passes under the canyon road). To reach the north end of Foothill from Wade Springs via the Murdock Canal trail, go one mile north on the paved trail.

The twisty turns at the north end. Not tricky, but hard for a brand-new beginner to hold the proper riding line.

Soft Rock Loop
The Soft Rock loop is 0.4 miles. Ride it counterclockwise. The trail lies in an area of mixed second-growth forest and is mostly shaded. Yes, it will get toasty warm in the summer afternoons. But it's easy work, with a whopping 40 feet of elevation gain from the canal trail to the top of the loop.

A couple of unusual rocks -- appearing to be tufa, a type of concretion formed in water similar to travertine -- line the lower part of the loop.

The trail surface is firm and smooth as silk. I ride a lot of brand-new trail, so this one was a pleasant surprise. No hateful bump-rock-and-root-fest while trying to envision what the trail may one day become. This trail is already superb. Thoroughly packed, buffed, and bermed with excellent riding lines.

A couple of bermed wiggles in tall oak brush as the trail descends through a turn.

Rose Loop

The Rose loop begins in the middle of upper Soft Rock, with a trail connector for both directions. All of the loops are designed to ride in the counterclockwise direction -- starting southbound as you enter the loop.

Rose is firm and twisty with a character similar to Soft Rock, but shorter at only 0.3 miles.

Southbound in the morning shadows on Rose.

Gambel Loop

At the upper north corner of Rose, Gambel connects on the uphill side. The Gambel loop is a mile long, and requires a bit more ability to ride. I'd call it solid-to-upper intermediate.

Gambel will cross over the horse route (Giddy Up) a few times as it winds back and forth on the southern side. As with the other loops, Gambel is built to ride counterclockwise, so you'll ride up the southern side and descend on the north.

On the upper north corner of Gambel, we get this view of the valley to the northwest as we approach a speed turn.

The north (downhill) side of the Gambel Loop is significantly more technical than anything you'll encounter on Soft Rock or Rose. But there's nothing too treacherous. Just keep straight as Cowley's Cure joins on your right, watching out for merging riders.

A ride that hits the lower three loops (turning back downhill at the top of Gambel, without any duplication of loops) will be 1.7 miles with 150 vertical feet of climbing. If you continue further uphill from Gambel, you'll more than double your distance and climbing.

Typical trail on a meander of Gambel, northbound. In case you're wondering, the trail name comes from "gambel oak," not gambling.

Cowley's Curse Loop

Cowley's Curse is the longest section of the trail system at 2.3 miles. It starts counterclockwise at the far southeast (uphill) corner of the Gambel Loop. You'll climb 200 vertical feet over the first 0.8 miles to reach the top point of the trail system. Cowley's is intermediate in technical difficulty. 

Turning onto Cowley's Curse from the upper corner of Gambel.

At the southeast corner of Cowley's Curse, the Fault Line trail heads south -- and then rejoins the Cowley loop just a few feet uphill around the turn -- as Cowley's turns to the north. The trail will join the Bench Road for a short distance before descending.

The lower Bonneville Shoreline Trail joins the Bench Road 0.2 miles north of the spot where Cowley's leaves the dirt road. You can use this route to climb up to Mahogany Mountain.

Northbound near the top of Cowley's.

The descent isn't continuous, as you'll have to climb occasionally. Enjoy the views of the valley on those spots where the tech factor eases and the slope eases. I found Cowley's significantly easier than Gambel on the downhill.

Cowley's is more exposed than the lower trails. The terrain is mostly grass with scattered sage brush. While there are occasional groves of trees, this part of the hill will be toasty in the afternoon.

Looking south as we coast into a turn while descending.

On the downhill side, you'll pass the entry to two downhill trails, Viking Run and Tufa. These rejoin Cowley's a little lower on the mountain. Save these for your second lap around.

There are also a couple of short alternate lines that are slightly more technical. All of these intersections are well marked with carsonite posts.

Short tricky spot as the trail hits some nasty rocks in a stand of large oak.

Fault Line Loop

The Fault Line loop forks away from Cowley's Curse as the loop turns north just below the Bench Road. It rejoins just 20 feet uphill. This meander is 0.7 miles long. You'll descend about 50 vertical feet as you head south, then climb back to rejoin Cowley's.

Looking south as we reach the Fault Line fork. Cowley's (on the left) turns 180 degrees here. The Fault Line outgoing trail is just a few feet downhill from the returning trail.

Near the south end of Fault Line, there's a connection to the Bench Road. Use this route if you're heading for the Grove Creek trailhead area, for example to ride the Bonneville Shoreline Trail or the Mahogany Mountain trail.

A loop that includes Soft Rock, Rose, Gambel, Cowley's, and Fault Line (starting from the Murdock trailhead and bypassing the DH options) will be 5.1 miles with 500 vertical feet of overall climbing. See the GPX track link below.

Back northbound on Fault Line.

Viking Run DH route

Two meanders downhill from the top of Cowley's Curse, the Viking Run DH option forks to the right downhill. It bypasses a bit of Cowley's, rejoining it further downhill. Although labeled as an expert route, it's more of an upper-intermediate. At least, in September 2016.

View southwest at the top of Viking Run.

Viking Run is only 1/10th mile long, dropping 50 vertical feet. After the initial plunge, there are some speed turns, then a traverse to rejoin Cowley's.

Some dippity-turns as Viking Run drops away from an old quarry.

Tufa DH route

The Tufa downhill route starts just 1/10th mile downhill from the bottom of Viking Run, as a right fork off Cowley's. This option is also signed as expert but is more of an experienced intermediate ride. There are a couple of plunges, but they're not that steep and not very long.

Tufa swoops and curves as we look back uphill to the northeast.

The Tufa trail is 0.3 miles long, dropping about 80 vertical feet before rejoining Cowley's Curse. It bypasses a 0.6-mile meander of Cowley's loop. 

The Rocky Mountain rests on a chunk of Tufa, just before Tufa rejoins Cowley's Curse.

Molly's Trail
Molly's trail runs high on the hillside parallel to the old Bench Road north of the main Valley Vista trails. It's one mile long, with only trivial elevation change. Molly's is an easy trail, suitable for beginners.

Molly's trail can be hard to find if you don't know exactly where it is. And if you don't find Molly's, you also won't find the top of Cowley's Cure. To reach Molly's you MUST go onto the Bench Road.

View south as Molly's leaves the Bench Road from Cedar Hills. 

From Cedar Hills:  Get on the Bench Road and pedal south. Just after you pass the last home, veer to the right onto the singletrack. Keep uphill as the Hard Rock loop forks away downhhill to your right.

Upper Bench Road:  Follow the road downhill 0.4 miles from the top of Cowley's Curse, around the gully and up the hill. Find Molly's on your left.

From Cowley's Curse:  Stay on Cowley's Curse as it touches the Bench Road and descend 1.1 miles from the Bench Road through a few long meanders (past Viking Run and Tufa). As you enter a 180-degree turn, note the connecting spur to the Bench Road on your right. Go to the road, keeping straight, and pedal around the gully and up the little hill. At the top, Molly's forks away to your left.

Typical terrain on Molly's. Not as pretty. 

When northbound on Molly's (coming from Cowley's Curse in the main Valley Vista loop system), the trail fork for Cowley's Cure is 1/4 mile north of the spot where Molly's forked away from the Bench Road. Turn to the left downhill to begin Cowley's Cure.

If you keep to the right, Molly's will take you north and join the Bench Road for a cruise to Cedar Hills.

Looking south over the intersection between Molly's and Cowley's Cure. 

Cowley's Cure
Cowley's Cure is an expert-level one-way downhill trail, 1.1 miles long with 150 feet of elevation change. The top is on Molly's Trail north of the main loop system. (See the instructions above! You won't find Cowley's Cure unless you know exactly how to get to Molly's.)  

Noah hits a bump as we roll into Cowley's Cure. There are a few of these "speed bumps" at the first of the trail -- some of them basically rockpiles -- which serve notice that you're not on a beginner trail any more. 

Cowley's Cure descends gently northbound for a bit, rolling over a couple of rockpiles and bumps. At mile 0.2 from Molly's, Cowley's Cure hits a a series of hugely banked S turns. There are even some air opportunities. Some fun here! Cowley's loses most of its elevation just in this one short section.

Bruce rolls out of the final corner on the multi-S-turns. 

Cowley's Cure now begins a long gently-descending traverse southbound on the hillside. You'll probably need to pedal occasionally to keep your speed up.

Cowley's Cure ends on the second-to-last turn of the north (downhill) side of Gambel. Keep right as you join Gambel, and descend down to the Gambel-Rose intersection to decide on your next move.

View to the west over Utah Lake and Lake Mountain from upper Cowley's Cure. 

Hard Rock loop
The Hard Rock loop lies at the far north end of the Valley Vista riding area, sitting between The Pit loop and the Bench Road. Hard Rock is a directional trail, ridden counterclockwise. You climb the southern side and descend on the north. It's 0.8 miles around the loop. (Most riders arrive at Hard Rock via Molly's. If you're climbing The Pit to reach Hard Rock, it might make more sense to read that section first. The description of The Pit is just below.)

Beginning the climb counter-clockwise up Hard Rock as we reach the loop from the connector trail at the bottom

Hard Rock uses a portion of Molly's trail as the upper traverse of the loop. After descending from Molly's -- on the northern side of bottom traverse -- there's a short connector downhill to The Pit loop. This is your route to the bottom and the Murdock Canal trail.

Another connecting trail brings uphill traffic from the southern side of The Pit loop into Hard Rock. You'll use this trail in coming up The Pit to reach Hard Rock. (See the map.)

Bruce dips through an armored creek-crossing in one of the rare groves of large trees on Hard Rock.

Hard Rock is an easier-intermediate trail. There's around 100 vertical feet of climbing as you ascend the 0.3 miles of southern side of the loop between the connector and Molly's. The terrain is mostly grass and sage, with a couple of groves of trees. There are views of the valley to the west as you climb. As you reach Molly's trail, turn left onto Molly's to continue the loop. If you're heading for Cowley's Cure or the stacked loops of the main Valley Vista riding area, go to the right on Molly's.

View southwest at Utah Lake in the middle of the climb up Hard Rock.

You'll ride north on Molly's for 0.2 miles as you traverse the hillside just below the gravel Bench Road. As you're approaching the homes of Cedar Hills, Hard Rock forks away downhill on your left. (Molly's joins the Bench Road about 50 feet later. This is your connection to the trails uphill on Forest Service land.)

Reaching the trail fork at the north end. Here Molly's continues to the Bench Road on the right, while Hard Rock forks to the left downhill.

The highest point on Hard Rock is just over 5100 feet elevation. From here you'll drop through banked turns for about 1/10th mile. As you descend southbound above the old open-pit mine, a connector to The Pit forks away on your right. Keep left to continue the loop.

Bruce rolls the turns on the downhill section of Hard Rock. Pretty smooth stuff, but a little steep for a beginner.

At the loop's lowest elevation, the connector trail from The Pit will join you on the right. Remember these are directional trails. There's no turning around or heading back downhill now. If your target is The Pit and the Murdock Canal trail, you'll need to ride almost all the way around the loop again before you hit the one-way trip to the bottom.

Looking west as we descend Hard Rock.

 Loop of The Pit and Hard Rock!

 If the above video does not appear on your browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

The Pit loop

The Pit is the lower of two stacked loops, lying between the Murdock Canal trail and the Hard Rock loop. From the Murdock Canal trail, it's reached via a gravel doubletrack. As the doubletrack hits the slope, keep to the right. The singletrack on the left is the one-way return route from The Pit. For a short distance, The Pit shares a common doubletrack trail with the Hoof and Boot (non-biking) trail. Veer to the right when the trails split.

The Pit singletrack forks away from the common trail (shared with hikers and horsemen) just uphill from the start of the loop.

The Pit is 0.9 miles around the loop, with 150 vertical feet of climbing on the southern side of the loop as you ride counter-clockwise. The rate of climb is fairly mellow, with an occasional downhill coast in the middle of climbing. The surface is smooth and suitable for experienced beginners.

Climbing west through a grove of gambel oak.

The climbing portion of The Pit is 0.5 miles. At mile 0.4, a connector trail to the Hard Rock loop forks away to the right. (See above for a description of Hard Rock.) After this point, if you head left on The Pit you're committed to completing the loop. You'll need to go all the way around the loop and climb back uphill if you intend to hit Hard Rock.

There are several spots where you'll lose a tiny bit of elevation during the climb.

At the trail fork at mile 0.4, keep left and climb on above the old open-pit mine. Near the ride's highest point at mile 0.5, a one-way connector from uphill joins on the right. Keep straight and drop into the mine area.

Looking southwest downhill from a meander in the climb. Most turns are adequately wide and easy to roll, but there are a couple that might be tricky for beginners.

There are two alternate lines within the mine, marked by carsonite posts. Each of these short alternates rejoins after around 200 feet. The alternates are designed to be a little more difficult than the main route, but there's nothing spooky or tricky here.

Bruce cruises past an outcrop of tufa -- a sedimentary rock laid down in old Lake Bonneville.

The mine was a source of clay during pioneer times, used for construction in the valley below.

At the bottom of the loop, keep left to head back uphill, or veer right onto the doubletrack to head down to the Murdock Canal trail.

Heading down into the Pit. The post in the middle of the photo marks an alternate line that drops to a table jump.

Bottom line:
Excellent trail system. Well-designed and well-built, nicely marked. Can be a destination ride, or a route to trails higher on the mountain such as Mahogany Mountain.

Current information on this trail system can be found at

Closeup of tufa. This rock formed at the bottom of prehistoric Lake Bonneville. It's a mash-up of mud, lime, and bits of critters. Note the worm burrows.

 Valley Vista 2019 video...

 If the above video does not appear on your browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

Map shows phase 1 trails (2016) only

Getting there:
From the Canyon Road (100 East Street) in Pleasant Grove, turn east -- towards the mountains -- on 1100 North. When you pass 600 East, watch for the entry to the Wade Spring Murdock Canal Trailhead on your left, just before the paved trail crosses the road. To start the ride, you can exit the parking area on the north by the big white pipe.

GPS Track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
    Loop ride hitting all five main loops:   Download track 
    Area file, with each trail as individual track:  Download

Print maps:  Open this map in new window
     Open map below

Bathroom: Wade Spring trailhead
Water:  All Murdock trailheads
Camping: No
Bike services: UtahMountainBiking in Lehi.

Phase 2 (2019 expansion) trails!

The Foothill trail is easily found. It starts at the main trail kiosk. As you approach the kiosk from the Murdock Canal trail, keep to the left and northbound and you're on Foothill.

The north end of Foothill can be reached directly via the Murdock Canal Trail. When riding from the north, it's on the left (uphill) side 0.9 miles from the Murdock Canal Canal Road (highway 146) trailhead. To reach the north end of Foothill from Wade Springs via Murdock, go one mile north on the paved trail.

Molly's trail is reached via the gravel bench road. You can take the bench road south from Cedar Hills and veer right onto Molly's as you pass the last home. Or, from the Grove Creek trailhead, you can take the bench road north. Pass the Cowley's Curse entry at mile 0.5. Now keep left downhill as the road splits and descends. A spur joins on your left, going to Cowley's Curse, but stay on the road. Go around the ravine and climb uphill. At the top, Molly's forks away to the right.Cowley's Cure is 1/4 mile north on Molly's. (See above for information on connecting to Molly's within the trail system.)

Valley Vista Phase 3 trails (2021)

The access trail to the Pit Loop and Hard Rock Loop is located 1/4 mile southeast of the Murdock Canal Canyon Road trailhead. Take the broad doubletrack gravel trail that leaves the paved path to the left, then after 1/10th mile turn left uphill. At the base of the hill, keep right to enter the one-way loop trail The Pit.

To reach these trails from the main Valley Vista area, climb to the top of Cowley's Curse, then catch the Bench Road northbound. Divert onto Molly's singletrack after going around the big gulch. Pass Cowley's Cure by keeping right and uphill. When Hard Rock joins on the left, stay on Molly's (Hard Rock is one-way), then when you reach the north end of the Hard Rock loop, drop downhill to the left just before Molly's ends on the Bench Road.