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Thread: TR - Beaver

  1. #1
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    TR - Beaver

    I've driven past here too many times on I-15. It was time for a pilgrimage to Beaver. A few weeks ago I made the trek.


    Well more specifically, to the mountains above Beaver in the Fishlake National Forest. The area has been a bit of a blank spot for me between Brian Head and SLC area in terms of bike trails. Most of what I'd seen in the past suggested it was primarily ATV/OHV trails. I've looked at it every so often thinking there has to be more there, and over time I've seen trip reports that suggested that could be the case. At some point a few trails appeared on TF and MTB Project. Looking at those recently on satellite it looked like a lot of above tree line riding which could be good. The Dixie 311 bikepacking route also touches this same area, but that has not been run in a few years due to poor conditions. So I set out with a plan to spend a couple days in the area with a backup of SLC area or Brian Head if the trails here sucked.



    Headed out after work on a Wednesday. Got as far as St George before fatigue set in so I found a place to camp and then finished the drive the next morning. Snagged a sweet campsite and got ready to ride. Turns out this trip would be more about mountain goats than beavers.




    First ride was from camp up to a peak, planning to do a loop that would drop out right back at camp. Camp was already above 10,000ft and it didn't take much road climbing to get above tree line completely.




    It was full on hike a bike right from the start of the singletrack. Stout hike a bike, 1500ft in less than 1.5mi




    I met this group not too far up. Hard to head with the wind, but I think they said something to the effect of me being crazy for climbing this trail.




    Great views though




    Looking across at other peaks




    I also spotted this scene below a distant ridge. My camera has a decent zoom lens that sometimes proves useful




    Summit shot




    I hiked over and took a peak off the south side. More goats!




    My intended route was to continue forward down to that saddle and beyond. In my mind the route would continue down and to the right, but in reality it turned left and down out of sight into the canyon. Checking GPS it would circumnavigate the entire mountain. I couldn't spot the trail which wasn't a big surprise, it was faint in a lot of spots and would probably see less use from here on.




    I dropped down and soon lost it. I stopped where a large gully formed and still no trail. Hiked down a bit, still no sign of trail. I had lights but this was more than I wanted to bite off this late in the day, so I called it and headed back up to the peak.




    I'd spotted another faint singletrack on a ridge opposite that it seemed I'd be able to connect to from the peak. I figured it would head back to the road and might connect back to some other trails. After a bit of cross country the use trail became obvious. While the trail I'd climbed up on would have been a fun descent this seemed like a victory to be able to finish as a loop




    Climbing over a slight rise I came across this scene. The herd startled at first when I popped up but after holding still they settled down and hung out. I watched for a while.




    Got some good shots. Eventually I had to go. Hiked around them slowly and they didn't move at all.




    My route down along the ridge.




    I crossed the road and picked up another trail that connected to the Blue Lake Trail. After some initial hike a bike it got really nice and was mostly downhill. Then picked up a connector that brought me back to the road just above camp just before dark. 11mi +/-2,800ft




    I saw this sign on a different day posted at a pretty random spot along the road


  2. #2
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    Cool, love your TR adventures.

    Why is Utah trying to expand the range of a non-native species? In the Tetons they're trying to get rid of them as they compete with the native big horn sheep.

  3. #3
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    Hunting opportunity? I ran into a bow hunter who was hiking out. Saw him again another day, and saw his side by side parked a couple other times. Seems we were checking out the same places.

  4. #4
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    Cool. I've made plans to ride down there several times and been thwarted by weather every on every occasion. Looking forward to the rest.

    As to the goat question, they're trying to attract money from trophy hunters. Utah has native Bighorn Sheep in the desert but not in the alpine.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by panchosdad View Post
    Cool, love your TR adventures.

    Why is Utah trying to expand the range of a non-native species? In the Tetons they're trying to get rid of them as they compete with the native big horn sheep.
    The goats in Olympic National Park, which apparently provided much the Utah stock, were originally brought in for alpine ambiance and hunting opportunities. ONP just wrapped up a two year project to relocate about 400 of them since they were wreaking havoc on alpine ecosystems in the park.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Nice TR Evdog. I've really enjoyed reading your reports and adding some of these spots to the list

  6. #6
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    Headed any further north? TF shows a lot of riding around Mt. Nebo and above Payson, always wanted to check that out.

  7. #7
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    There is some really good riding above Payson, can confirm that.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfinn View Post
    There is some really good riding above Payson, can confirm that.
    Yup. Also some total shite. Pancho, if you head that way PM me or let us know you're coming in the Wasatch thread and I'll set you up with a good ride.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by panchosdad View Post
    Cool, love your TR adventures.

    Why is Utah trying to expand the range of a non-native species? In the Tetons they're trying to get rid of them as they compete with the native big horn sheep.
    Just did an online search. Self guided Mtn Goat hunts start at 4K with guided going for 10x that in Utah. A friend that ranches has people pay six figures to take large elk off his land. That’s a hell of a lot of cows or sheep and a lot less work to manage.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canada1 View Post
    Just did an online search. Self guided Mtn Goat hunts start at 4K with guided going for 10x that in Utah. A friend that ranches has people pay six figures to take large elk off his land. That’s a hell of a lot of cows or sheep and a lot less work to manage.
    Not sure where you came up with the 4k self guided number. Must be some kind of private land hunt? Tags for residents are about $400 and non residents about $2000. Given the number of tags issued for that area, it only nets the DWR about 12k. Doesn't seem like a money grab at that amount? Maybe to provide guide jobs?

    Anyway, I always appreciate the Evdog TR's, you ride in some cool places.

  11. #11
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    Thank's all! I know where the herds are now. Notice I didn't mention location specifics. I can show you where they are for $2k.

  12. #12
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    Day 2, first ride

    The longest singletrack trail in the area is the Skyline National Rec Trail. It starts close to where I camped and heads south, contouring and climbing over a number of ridges. I originally planned to make a big loop of it but decided on a point to point shuttle instead assuming there would be a lot of hike a bike on any climbs.

    Dropped my truck just off the road to Eagle Point Resort. I noticed the Pauite ATV route took off right across the road so I rode that back to camp rather than the main dirt road.


    It's probably on the green-blue difficulty scale but had a couple steep rocky chutes that got the old heart rate up




    Other parts were downright nice. Mostly it was lots of twists and turns. The Dixie 311 uses this same section of trail. Not sure I'd find it as fun on a MTB.




    Rode the moto back to camp where I traded it for the MTB and did the short climb up to Skyline TH. There is a high option that was very faint and had a hike a bike right away. I took the much used lower option. It had a steep HAB later.




    There was a pretty good mix of steep climbs, steep descents, and contouring. In and out of lots of drainages. Overall pretty good trail.




    After a solid climb to what would be the highest pass at 11,000ft I had a nice 800ft descent starting in the trees.




    Then breaking out into meadows. No downed trees so far, impressively.




    Continuing along a bunch of trails split off including one that should lead up to the peak I was on the day before. Will have to go explore that route some day.




    Looking back north. About to start the second biggest single climb on the day of 500ft.




    Another great view looking back north




    A fun rocky descent to finish Skyline and I hopped across the road onto the Hi Hunt trail. No sign of it at first but I knew it had to drop down to the right. Soon picked up a vague path that got more clear the further I went.




    Made some new friends along the way, everyone had to come over and say hello






    Hi Hunt was fun. Raw. Glad I didn't climb it! Got pedally toward the end, lots of blown out stream crossings. I stayed on the trail proper despite suggestions to take an ATV trail that branches off. If you go, take the ATV trail.

    A steep climb followed over a ridge to my truck. A few downed trees on that one. Just a handful of others all day. I'm sure there are plenty after winter each year so late summer/fall is probably the best time to ride here.




    Pretty decent ride overall. Could be made epic with some additions at the beginning. 14.5mi, +2,300/-3,600ft

  13. #13
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    Day 2, second ride


    By the time I got back to camp and had a beverage I had a bit of time for one more ride, but not a ton of time. I decided to drive up over the hill and check out the terrain to the north scouting some trailheads.


    Some tantalizing trails were spotted. I was aware of this one down in the valley but where it connected was unknown and it would be a 3k climb back out if I rode it.




    Decided to check out another one I saw that was not on the maps. Looked like it might go over to some nearby peaks.




    Despite a few short HABs it was mostly rideable.




    Views were fantastic




    Still contouring




    High point in sight




    High point attained - 11,700ft.




    Time to drop back down




    I went down an alternate way that turned out to be an old mining road reverting to singletrack. Would ride through the moonscape below




    The old road bed disappeared for a few hundred yards due to slope creep. A couple get offs but mostly pretty nice riding thus far.




    Looking back




    And looking back up from the road.




    It was a long descent on pretty rocky old road. Not the best riding, and the trail disappeared a couple times in a meadow at the end. Had to climb back up the fire road for 1,000ft in the dark. Good times. I'd do this as an out and back next time.

    9mi, +/- 1,900

  14. #14
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    Nice, looks like you had a good time out there! I remember there being quite a few trails on the map that looked like they had some good potential.

  15. #15
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    Just posting in this important thread.

    Oh yea, nice TR.
    You are what you eat.
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  16. #16
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    Thanks for the TR. I might head out that way very soon to escape the persistent smoke....
    ride bikes, climb, ski, travel, cook, work to fund former, repeat.

  17. #17
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    Looks rad.

  18. #18
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    Day 3, first ride


    I've lucked out too many times on this and other recent trips, I was due for a stinker. And I had just the sketchy ride for that. One that I spotted on USGS maps but was on no other map or app. I'd scouted the trailhead the day before and it looked legit. But I had a feeling this one would see a lot less traffic and have a lot more downed trees. It also had a 13mi / 4,000ft road pedal to close the loop as a reward if the trail sucked. Thanks, but I'll shuttle that part.


    After dropping the truck off at the far end I was glad to be riding the road by moto and not MTB. Tons of side by sides out and it was very dusty




    The side road up to the trailhead. Nice little campsite up there too.




    Overview of the route. Drop down the canyon 1,000ft, then traverse around the shoulder of the ridge for 5-6 miles. Of course, you have to find the right trail first. I thought it very obviously went straight ahead. Within 150ft this tapered to nothing but steep scree slope, and GPS showed me far above the trail. In reality the trail turned hard left just behind where I took this pic and switchbacked down, but was faint/overgrown enough I didn't see it. So I downclimbed scree to the valley bottom to see if I could pick it up, thinking I may need to call the ride off if I didn't. All was good when I saw it down there. Followed it back up to see where it started from. Duh....




    No trouble once I found it. It was pretty nice descending, mostly like this. A few small downed trees I was able to move off the trail.




    After dropping 1k in just over a mile I came around a corner into a pretty good tangle of trees. No moving those off by hand. The ground flattened. Within 100 yards I spotted a herd of elk, which took off. They were hanging out in an old hunting camp ironically, complete with log frame shitter.




    The trail crossed the creek here. It was better defined but there were downed trees every 50 ft or so.




    You start wondering whether you're better to turn around and bail or suffer through unknown miles of this crap. What did Adolfo Perez do in 1915? I bet he finished his hike. And so would I




    Looking back at the peaks. The saddle I started at is just barely visible on the left




    Another mile and a half forward I was in a pretty bad mood. This was one of the worst trails I've been on for downed trees. But coming around this corner I could tell things were going to get better as the trail was going to climb out of the trees.




    It was like I could breathe again...and pedal!




    The trail passed back into other stands of trees but only a few were down. Being closer to the far trailhead this part sees more maintenance. The biggest issue from here on were a few large mud pits caused by cattle on the trail.




    This ride would pass through private property at the end. I spotted one of the local's pads below. Nice spot for the old double wide!




    Interesting rock outcrop coming up. Trail went right along the base




    It looked like I'd be traversing along but this trail actually turns steeply uphill at far right to a spot called Tip Top.




    And Randall's Lookout




    From there I did a bit of double track traversing and then about 1,300ft descending on fire road. Signs had said this ride popped out on private land so I parked lower down to avoid it, but it seems like the roads I was on were all public roads. Who knows.

    This probably isn't a ride I'd do again unless part of a route to connect further north. Even if the trail were clear of trees it's a long shuttle or road pedal for what you get in singletrack. Doing it as part of a bigger ride isn't out of the question as it is a great connector. The road cut in the pic below is I-70. And there may be trails on the north side of that, too.




    MTB portion of the ride was only 8 mi. +570/-2,550ft. 1,300 of that was dirt road at the end. Moto shuttle was 13mi +3,850/-1,450ft, and not recommended for cycling to close the loop.

  19. #19
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    Day 3, second ride


    Shuttling the first ride and battling trees took up a lot of the day. Heading back down I decided I could do one more quick ride and make it to the Eagle Point Resort bar for dinner.


    Dropped the truck off at the highway and rode the moto back up to camp again. I'd hit Tanner Hollow to connect to Duncan Creek Trail. The trailhead map refers to Tanner Hollow as Bosman Trail, so Trailforks may be incorrect.




    Doesn't matter, it was mostly downhill to the Duncan Creek connector trail. That one had a few steep hike a bikes, starting right after crossing this bridge.




    But it brought me to nice riding. First some traversing atop a ridgeline in the aspens







    Then it dropped down through nice meadows, probably 1,500ft before dropping me onto a dirt road for about 1/2 mile






    Fun ride, and nice contrast to what I "rode" earlier today. 6 mi, +300/-1,800ft

  20. #20
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    Beautiful looking rides, and some great shots. It must take you twice as long to do these rides, stopping for all the pictures!

    It's amazing there are so many great singletrack bike trails in that area, it's somewhere you never hear about when compared to other hot spots in the west. The backcountry aspect and feel to them have a lot to do with that, no doubt. Nice work!

  21. #21
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    Thanks for the TR & beta.

    I'm heading east (from Tahoe) tomorrow to find clear air. Ely, Beaver, and maybe Durango are on the list, as staying a bit further south seems likeliest to get me what I'm looking for.

    Would you recommend any big loops including the Skyline trail? 50 mi is no prob if I can avoid a shuttle.

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  22. #22
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    Awesome. I have been wanting to check out those mountains on the bike and also on skis.

  23. #23
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    Stay tuned for Day 4. Might have a really solid loop suggestion. 50 miles here would be a much bigger day than in a lot of places.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by 406 View Post
    Awesome. I have been wanting to check out those mountains on the bike and also on skis.
    I like how you timed that to post at 4:06 pm.

    Seems like there would be a lot of snow well into spring/summer. There were still some patches on the north facing peak on day 1.

  25. #25
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    damn, evdog, you are hardcore! sweet TR.
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