Monday, July 19, 2010

MTB around Timp

I've been wanting to ride around Timpanogos on the dirt for a while now and Saturday I finally had my chance.  Here are the route details going clockwise starting from Provo Canyon:

  • 6:15 AM start at Nunn's Park in Provo Canyon
  • Union Aqueduct Road
  • Dragon's Back
  • Water Tank Road
  • Betty to the Altar
  • Lament to Dry Canyon
  • Curly Springs to Battle Creek Canyon
  • Mostly hike-a-bike up Battle Creek to the intersection with the Great Western Trail (GWT)
  • GWT single-track around the north side of Timp
  • Bailed onto the Timpooneke Road to avoid the rocky trail below Julie Andrews Meadow
  • Salamander Flat
  • Snow Gage / Horse Flat to summit
  • Aspen Grove
  • Pavement back to Nunn's Park

I finished at 11:30 AM and total ride time was about 4 hours and 15 minutes. Total vertical ft. was 5.8K. 
My overall impression is that this was an awesome ride with the exception of the hike-a-bike that followed this crossing of Battle Creek (just after dropping down Curly Springs*).
*Curly Springs was a good climb, not too many steep sections and only a couple of spots where I had to put a foot down due to loose rocks.

This hike-a-bike section of the trail (about 1 mile) mostly goes straight up the mountain and is littered with loose rocks. Even in spots where the grade levels out, the trail is narrow and deep making it easy to catch a pedal.  Not too fun.

The alternate route instead of Curly Springs and Battle would have been to continue climbing from the Altar, up and over the saddle of Little Baldy, traverse the head of Dry (mostly rough going) and then climb up and over the saddle of Big Baldy.  I've ridden from the Altar, around Little Baldy and about 2/3 of the way across Dry and there are definitely some rough spots that require frequent dismounts, plus the elevation gain on this route would be about 1,000 ft. more.  So either route has its pluses and minuses depending on what you prefer.

Here's a picture of a nice meadow I encountered just before the NW corner of Timp.  I was pretty tense crossing this as there were bees buzzing everywhere.  I thought for sure I'd get stung, but luckily they let me pass through.


My favorite part of the ride was topping out at about 8,600 ft. on the NW corner of Timp and the trail that followed, which quickly turned from sagebrush and meadows to lush forest single-track underneath a shaded canopy of aspen and old growth pine and fir.  I stopped for a break in one of these groves (while eating a giant flour tortilla) and just soaked it in.  I would have stayed longer, maybe even taken a nap but the deer flies were attacking me.**

**I've discovered spandex doesn't provide much cover from insect bites given the location of the many bites I received.  So, don't forget your repellent like I did if you do this ride.



I mentioned I bypassed the trail before and after Julie Andrews Meadow.  I've ridden this section once before and wasn't in the mood to get kicked around by the rocks on the descent from the said meadow, so I opted to take the Timpooneke Road instead .

I finished up the dirt portion of the ride by hopping on the Snow Gage trail then Horse Flats to the summit and then dropping down Aspen Grove.  I like Snow Gage.  It had some good climbing, good scenery and not too many rocks.  It was a bit soft from the 3 or 4 horses that I encountered, but still in reasonable shape.  Aspen Grove is fun too.  It still has need of a trail crew to clear some of the loose rocks on the lower portions, but it has improved from 2 or 3 weeks ago when I rode it last.

So there you have it.  A sweet ride around Timp on a 29er, all before lunchtime.  Speaking of lunchtime, I think we should incorporate this into one of our lunch rides in the fall, maybe on a Friday.  I'm sure at the lunch pace, we could be done in 3 1/2 hours.  That would simply require a shooting range start time of 10:30 ("early lunch") and then we'd be back at our desk by say 2:30 (no need to shower of course).  Something to think about.  I'm getting antsy already for the fall lunch rides.


KanyonKris said...

Well done. Sorry I couldn't make it (sorry for me, good for you as I would have cost you at leas 1/2 hour). I've got to do that ride this year. Pioneer Day?

Anonymous said...

That looks like a killer ride. I want to go check that out some time. I wish there was a way we could by pass the hike a bike without having to go behind baldy...

Circular Logic said...

That's funny. I did the RAT on Saturday as well. I started at Canyon Glen and rode counter-clockwise, though. Did I come across you near Rock Canyon off of Timpooneke?

Keith said...

I am trying to work out a solution to get trails put in from Provo canyon on the North side to connect to Sundance. Sundance is interested. We just need to get other groups on board, then we could really have a true RAT on dirt. You might have to poach Stewart Falls from Sundance then on to Aspen, but it would be awesome. Well done, long hard ride.

bjchild said...

KK - Shoot me an email if you do go Sat. I might be up for another round.

JT - I hear you. The HAB is a real pain. It'd be nice if the forest service could improve that portion of the trail. Even hiking on it without a bike isn't that great in stretches.

CL - Yep, that was me that passed you in Rock Canyon. What route did you take accross the west side of timp? Did you go over the Baldy saddles?

Keith - Very cool. I was wondering about that and whether there would ever be some connector trails. Hopefully it gets done.

Nathan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathan said...

Avoid Going up Battle creek by going down battle creek, take the Dirt road over to grove creek,then go up grove creek. Probably not what you want to hear, grove creek is a grunt, though has some rewarding views along the clifts