The Willow Hollow trail joins the Salamander
Flat trail 150 to the Alpine Loop summit trailhead. The trail is 1.3
miles long with 500 feet of elevation gain. The riding is intermediate
technical-skill requirement, with a couple of short rocky challenging
spots. The top elevation is 8050 feet.
The riding season is June through October. The Forest Service office
for American Fork Canyon usually designates all trails as closed when the
winter snow begins to melt, then opens the trails when they are dry enough
to ride without damage.
View of Timpanogos from Willow Hollow in June 2006.
Original trail review 1999. Updated by Bruce
on August 24, 2018.
Climbing past the trail sign in Salamander Flat. The
Ridge Connector is to my left. Box Elder Peak is the big hill on the
On the bottom end, the trail begins on the Salamander Flat
trail just west of the Salamander Flat campground. On the ridgeline, Willow Hollow
forks east downhill to the
Salamander Flat parking area.
The trail continues directly across the parking zone, 100 yards from where it began on the Salamander Flat trail.
There's some bumpy trail as you first start to climb
away from Salamander Flat.
The first trail fork comes at mile 0.2 in a meadow area. The
two main trails are Ridge Connector (left) and Willow Hollow (ahead and
slightly right). Other trails from campsites join in this area, including
a rather prominent trail going 90 degrees right and over to the Alpine
Loop road. If you're confused, check the trail sign and remember you want
to go almost straight east up-canyon.
Drone view as our rider breaks out of the aspens.
During this 0.3 miles of Willow Hollow, there are a couple of rocky turns
and bumpy steeper areas. Hang on, because it gets way better.
We're just above the Alpine Loop road crossing.
Willow Hollow crosses the Alpine Loop road at mile 0.4 from
Salamander Flat. Now there will be little groves of aspen and small
meadows as you climb uphill.
A little bit above the road crossing, the entire trail has been rebuilt
on a more sustainable lie. (The old rocky trench -- straight up the fall
line -- is gone. The old route went straight up a central
meadow. But the alignment eroded into a ditch. The new trail winds back
and forth in the trees higher on the hill.)
90% of the ride is in forest, but with a lot of
little breakouts like this one.
As you get higher on the mountain, the trail
retreats into the aspens. There will be occasional fir trees, but most of the trail
lies in aspen forest. Willow Hollow winds back and forth through the trees
as it climbs eastbound.
On the newer trail in the aspen grove.
At mile 1.3, Willow Hollow hits the western side of the
parking circle of the Alpine Loop summit trailhead. Make your connections
here: Horse Flat and Snow Gauging - 10 feet before you hit pavement, turn
90 degrees right (don't be suckered into taking one of the unmarked trails
just downhill!) Deer Creek South Fork and Lame Horse - straight across the parking
circle on the east side, the combined trails head east. Ridge 157 to Pine Hollow etc - turn left as you enter the parking
circle. Where the spur from the road enters the parking circle, take the
singletrack northbound through the trees, then as you reach the Alpine
Loop road, find the continuing trail on the other side.
Arriving at the summit trailhead. Horse Flat is
immediately to my right (left side of the photo).
Willow Hollow makes a nice downhill. But this is a popular
route for horses and hikers, so keep your speed compatible with your
The loop ride described below is 3.8 miles with 700 vertical feet of
climbing. Take Willow Hollow uphill from Salamander Flat. Turn north on
Ridge 157 at the summit. Drop down Pine Hollow
and turn right on the Salamander Flat trail.
Take Salamander back to Pine Hollow and drop down to the parking area.
Playing a little aspen dodge 'em.
Great trail, useful in a variety of loop rides. The new trail-cut on
the upper half makes this a pleasure to climb.
In the spring, the creek has substantial water
flowing. There's one spot where you have to splash through. By late
summer, it's just a trickle.
Willow Hollow loop with
Ridge 157 and Pine Hollow...
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Willow Hollow Loop (Ridge and Pine Hollow) from
0.0 Willow Hollow uphill from parking N40 26.417 W111 37.649
0.2 Keep straight (L=Connector, R=road) N40 26.433 W111 37.508
0.4 Cross Alpine Loop road N40 26.345 W111 37.318
1.2 Summit trailhead N40 25.844 W111 36.847
R to Ridge 157, cross road
2.1 Fork R (L = Ridge Connector) N40 26.486 W111 37.191
2.5 L on Pine Hollow N40 26.682 W111 37.032
3.1 L on Salamander Flat N40 26.740 W111 37.620
3.6 Cross creek, R uphill N40 26.475 W111 37.642
3.7 L on Willow Hollow N40 26.434 W111 37.700
3.8 Back at parking
Salamander Flat campground trailhead. From I-15, take the
Alpine-Highland exit and drive 7 miles to the mouth of American Fork
Canyon. Pay your $6 fee (as of 2018) there. Five miles later at the fork
in the road, go along the south fork of the river. About 4 miles up,
there's a T intersection in the road. Turn left. Drive uphill past two
trail crossings (Salamander Flat trail and Snow Gauging trail). 0.9 miles
from the stop sign at the T, turn left on a gravel road and drive 100
yards to the parking area.
Alpine Loop summit trailhead. From the T intersection
above, continue all the way uphill to the top of the Alpine Loop. There's a
parking lot on your right just before the top of the ridge. From parking,
find the trail on the west side of the loop (the side that overlooks AF Canyon). Go
about 10 feet down this trail, then keep straight and to the right at any
sucker forks in the first 100 yards.