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Yellow Fork

Yellow Fork is a surprisingly nice trail in the Oquirrh Mountain foothills at Rose Canyon. Among the many options are two main choices: there's a nice 7-mile singletrack loop ride with 1300 vertical feet of climbing, and there's a smooth 2-mile doubletrack ride in Yellow Fork Park that goes to a lovely picnic area. Choose your ride based on the abilities of your riding companions.

 View up the trail on a typical section. Dwarf waterleaf among maples and oak is the typical view on this trail. Photo May 7, 2002 by Bruce Argyle.

The singletrack ride is mostly intermediate technical, easier at the lower altitudes, with a smattering of advanced tech at the top. The climbing is easy, except for the last mile before the summit, which involves 700 vertical but is very rideable for those with good legs and lungs.

Yellow Fork photo by Jason D., June 2005.

Much of the trail is on a north slope, so it stays snowy and through early spring. The trail's riding season is late April through early November

At the top of the singletrack you break out onto a windswept ridge, where you'll have this view of the copper mine tailings to the north. May 10, 2002.

You'll spend much of your time riding alongside small creeks in "riparian" habitat. I've seen deer, wild turkey, rabbits, and squirrel every time I've been on this trail. Overhead, maples and oaks (and a few quakies near the top) provide shade. Dwarf waterleaf, yellow fawn lily, and grasses grow under the trees. It's a surprisingly pretty ride.

Yellow Fork is a popular horse-riding area. Even weekdays, there are usually a few horse trailers in the parking area. Please be courteous when approaching riders on the trail.

Photo from Jason D., June 2005.

The loop can be ridden either direction. I prefer clockwise. It's also easier to navigate that way -- fewer trail choice decisions. But come prepared with a map, trail description, and odometer. If you're the type that is easily lost, take the GPS too.

View at 7100 feet near the top, looking south. Thanks to Jason D for this photo. June 2005.

Trail note 7/06:  We've been informed that the property owner wishes to assert control over access to the area at the bottom of the doubletrack (referred to as "fire road") at the west end of the Yellow Fork Loop (see map). As with many foothill-area trails, the Yellow Fork Loop trail crosses private property. Although the trails are long-established routes, we ride them only at the pleasure of the land owners. Please respect any posted signs.
     When riding the north-end singletrack (as described in the counter-clockwise loop), consider an out-and-back option with a turn-around at mile 2.9. For the clockwise loop, you can complete a loop without entering this area by turning right downhill on the small ridgeline singletrack at mile 3.2 (from "view" to a left turn at "ridge"), then right downhill to the picnic area. As always, if you have important new information regarding any trail, please post it to the "Trail Conditions" section of the UtahMountainBiking forum. 

The Singletrack Loop (clockwise):
0.0   Trailhead along the creek, head west uphill
0.5   Fork, turn left (south) away from the creek
        GPS N 40 28.008' W 112 05.585'
1.5   Trail turns right (west), with a doubletrack nearby on the left
        GPS N 40 27.545' W 112 06.368'
2.2   Fork, keep left (right goes steeply up and over the ridge)
2.7   Left on fire road, singletrack leaves on R 60 feet later
3.2   At top of ridge, trail crosses faint ridgeline singletrack
        GPS N 40 27.994' W 112 07.582'
        100 ft later, keep straight as trail drops onto fire road
        [See note above]
3.8   Singletrack goes R (watch for log crossing road)
        GPS N 40 28.221' W 112 07.799'
        (fire road dead-ends 0.1 mile later)
4.2   Trail leaves uphill on L, keep straight (R)
4.7   Arrive at picnic area, keep R of tables, cross creek
        GPS N 40 28.298' W 112 06.914'
        find singletrack downhill (turn L) on south side of creek
4.9   Cross road and creek (trail now north - left - of creek)
5.2   Cross back to south of road and creek
5.5-6.0 Trail options: higher trails are more technical
        Hammerheads keep right, non-techies keep left
        Just keep heading straight east downhill
6.5   At first fork (loop complete), keep left
7.0   Back at parking
Loop Counter-clockwise
0.0   Trailhead along the creek, head west uphill
0.5   R at fork, continue along creek past picnic tables
        GPS N 40 28.008' W 112 05.585'
0.75 Keep R
1.0   Fork, climb up L then go R for tech section
        R (straight) along creek for easier trail
1.1   Climb L up to trail, ignore faint R trail
1.5   Cross creek and road to N side
1.8   Cross back over creek and road
2.0   Critical turn: go R through creek, then uphill
        GPS N 40 28.298' W 112 06.914'
        past picnic tables until singletrack continues
2.5   Fork left
2.9   Trail hits fire road, turn left uphill
        GPS N 40 28.221' W 112 07.799'
        [See note above]
3.1   Brutal steep section
3.6   Near top of hill, singletrack leaves on R,
        crosses faint singletrack, then heads down
        (if road goes down, you missed the trail!)
        GPS N 40 27.994' W 112 07.582'
4.2   Fork, keep L (east)
5.4   Trail turns left (north)
6.5   At fork (loop complete), turn right
7.0   Back at parking
The Family Ride:

From the parking area, go right (west) up the cindered road. Just continue straight, as the singletrack branches and crosses over. At mile 0.5, you'll see a few picnic tables on the left. This is where the loop ride forks. Continue on to mile 1.9. The doubletrack ends here among multiple picnic tables, in a shady glen along the creek. From here, the bigger kids can try their hand at a bit of the singletrack, while the little ones play in the creek.

Yellow fawn lily blooms in the spring along the damper parts of the trail. This pretty flower is also called trout lily and glacier lily.

Getting there: From I-15, take the Bangerter Highway and head west. After the highway curves north, turn left on 126th south (traffic light and big pedestrian overpass) at mile 6.0. 126th becomes 131st. In Herriman, turn left on Rose Canyon Road. Set odometer. 0.9 mile later, turn right at stop sign, then keep left at 2.3 to continue on Rose Canyon Road. At mile 4.4, pavement ends at the creek. Find a parking spot. The trail begins right along the creek, going uphill. GPS N 40 27.917' W 112 05.075'
Riding resources:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track file (right-click and select "Save Target as..."):
     Garmin MPS     GPX
Topo map for printing:  View
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to southern SLC resources

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