Upper Skyline Drive

This section of Skyline Drive extends from the top of Farmington Canyon, past Bountiful Peak and ending at the turnoff to Sessions Mountain above the Bountiful “B” in Bountiful, Utah. Beginning at the top of Farmington Canyon at the fork of Skyline Drive and Francis Peak Road, the road continues up past a gate that closes Upper Skyline Drive to motorized traffic from September through May. After about a half mile, there will be a fork in the road. Turn right (There is signage that makes this turn clear). There are a couple of spur roads in the next half mile but if you keep going straight, you will stay on Skyline.

On the way to Bountiful Peak, you will pass some incredible vistas as well as Farmington Lakes. These lakes are most notably home home to beaver and mountain newts and are full year round. Cyote, deer and Moose have been spotted in the area at times as well. Being on the northern slope of Bountiful Peak, this area is much more green and heavily forested than most other parts of Skyline Drive. You’ll encounter fir and aspen trees along this section providing quite a bit of shade during the day. In contrast, once you cross the ridgline of mountain to the west side, trees along the road are few and far between.

The wetern mountainside section of the road is characterized by loose rock, heavy erosion and sharp drops along the side. The road climbs until finally reaching its summit just below Bountiful Peak. This is the highest point of Skyline Drive and, on a clear day, provides spectacular views of Davis, Salt Lake, Weber and Tooele Counties. The road then runs downhill along the western face if the mountains for about 5 miles. Along the way there are several blind curves as the road hugs the mountain. While the road is used heavily by ATVs and motorcycles, larger vehicles also frequent the route. The road here is very narrow and the blind curves and sharp drops make the road hazardous to drivers so always be courteous of large vehicles along the way. There is a turnoff about 3 miles away from Bountiful Peak that leads to a campground. This area is nice for a break but requires some steep climbing to get back to the road no matter which direction you are riding on Skyline.

At about 5 miles from Bountiful Peak the road splits with the Southbound branch being the Sessions Mountain Road. The Westbound branch is the rest of Skyline Drive and will take you down to the parking lot just below the Bountiful “B” after about 8 miles.

The upper section of Skyline Drive is easily accessed via the top of Farmington Canyon or from above Bountiful “B” by Sessions Mountain Road. There is adequate room for parking at both locations or, for some extra calorie burning, you can huff it up the mountain and skip the driving. Either way, this section of road provides a great escape from the summertime valley heat as well as an awesome high-elevation workout.

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Mueller Park

One of the most popular Mountain Bike trails around is found in Mueller Park of the US Forest Service just east of Bountiful. Utah. The trail consists of two major sections and totals about 6 miles one way.

Elephant Rock Trail.

This section of trail is about 3 miles long. It starts at the bridge on the south side of the road just west of the Forest Service booth on Mueller Park Drive in Bountiful, and ends at a large rock formation that resembles an elephant head. This section is almost all uphill and is very well maintained for cycling. Trees and scrub-oak shade much of this section and the trail is smooth with very few rocks or roots. This is also a very popular trail so keep an eye out for others and remember to share the trail.

Rudy’s Flat.

Just before Elephant Rock, the trail splits. The uphill branch (bearing south) will take you to Rudy’s Flat; a small open area that overlooks southern Davis County and Northern Salt Lake County. This section of trail features more rocks and roots than the Elephant Rock section as well as climbs that are steeper in parts. This part of the trail does contain some flat and downhill sections on the way up to Rudy’s Flat as well as some wet and muddy sections in spring/early summer and after rain. This part of the trail is also not as popular as the Elephant Rock section but it is still one of the most popular trails in the area so be aware of others. Hikers, horses and bikers are all allowed on the trail so ┬áthe trail so remember to follow trail etiquette while riding. Especially when heading downhill.

Upon reaching Rudy’s Flat, the trail branches again into two more trails. The first is a steep trail with loose rock that heads southeast and a smooth single track trail heading west. The southeast trail is not recommended for mountain biking due to the slope and rocks but the westbound trail will take you back down into Bountiful and provides an alternative return of 1.8 miles that creates a loop ending at the eastern end of Canyon Creek Road in Bountiful.

Overall, this trail provides a great ride for the beginner and the experienced alike. Whether you are just riding out and back from Elephant Rock or taking the full loop, there is a great ride here for everyone.

Keep in mind that the Mueller Park recreation area requires a fee for parked vehicles. However, parking along the street in just outside the recreation area and parking along Canyon Creek Road are free.

Farmington Canyon

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The Farmington Canyon road (Skyline Drive) was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s and provides a steady climb of about 2000 feet (about 400 feet per vertical mile) before branching into Francis Peak Road and the remaining section of Skyline Drive.

This road is one of Utah’s ‘scenic backways’ and provides dramatic views of the valley ┬áThe road begins with about a mile of pavement and then turns to wide graded dirt that provides a relatively smooth and steady ride. Automobiles, ATVs and motorcycles can use this road so use caution and be mindful of traffic.

It is about 7.5 miles from the canyon entrance to the Skyline Drive/Francis Peak Road junction. The canyon is closed to automobiles during the winter.

PHOTOS

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Beginning of the dirt

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First switchback

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Excavators on the road

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Cloud shadows in the canyon

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Valley view (about 3 miles along)

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Cash for clunkers?

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Sunset Campground

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One of two paved bridges in the canyon

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Near the top of the canyon

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Francis Peak Road closed October through June

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Upper Skyline Drive closed October through June

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Top of the Canyon (Upper Skyline Drive gate on left)

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