Near Bryce, an 85 mile stretch of the Great Western Trail passes north-south through the Dixie National Forest. It is easily accessed just south of Rubys Inn. The Great Western Trail is a route currently under construction running from Canada to Mexico.
The 5 mile Deer Creek Section begins at the Escalante-Teasdale District Boundary fence north of Deer Creek Lake Trailhead and continues west to the Kings Pasture Trailhead. The trail joins the Deer Creek Trail 0.25 miles after the fence and they continue together for about a mile until the Western Trail splits off to the west through a meadow and past Gresham Spring and a samll lake. Three miles west of the Chriss Lake Junction, the trail reaches FS 508. Follow this road for about 0.25 miles to the Kings Pasture Trailhead.
The 6.4 mile Bear Creek Section begins at the Kings Pasture Trailhead on FS 165 and ends at the Boulder Swale ATV Trail at the north end of FS 566. The trail loops to the southwest around private property before returning to FS 165. Follow the road for 1 mile and drop into the Boulder Creek Drainage. Continue out of the drainage, along a road an dinto the Bear Creek Drainage. About 0.5 miles after crossing Bear Creek, youll reach FS 473 which will take you 1 mile to the Boulder Swale ATV Trailhead.
The 9.5 mile McGath Lake section begins at Boulder Swale ATV Trailhead an dends on FS 0145 just north of Cowpuncher Guard Station. The trail follows the Boulder Swale Trail to Black Lake and then continues on to McGath Lake. Past McGath Lake the trail climbs and descends steeply several times before passing the Roger Peak Trail. The trail continues west past the Burr Top Trail junction, over an old logging road, and follows another road about a mile before reaching FS 0145.
The 15.7 mile North Creek-Pine Creek Section begins on FS 0145 north of the Cowpuncher Guard Station and ends at The Gap Trial junction 1.5 miles northeast of Upper Barker Reservoir.
The trails crosses several old logging roads as it heads southwest 2.5 miles to Nettle Springs Ranch. The trail continues southwest 0.5 mile to the Blue Springs Trail junction. Continue southwest, crossing several streams and a major water pipeline, to FS 154 above Posy Lake. Cross the road and follow an old road 0.5 mile to the 1.2 mile Posy Lake Spur Trail. Continue southwest through a series of uphill and downhill climbs. 4 miles past Posy Lake Trail you will reach the Hogs Ranch Trail junction. Go northwest for another 5.8 miles to The Gap Trail junction.
The 4.5 mile Barker Complex Section begins at The Gap Trail and ends on FS 140 at the North Lakes Trail sign. The trail runs west past Yellow Lake and passes just south of Flat Lake. The trail continues southwest past the west side of Upper Barker Reservoir and crosses the trail to Dougherty Basin. You will then pass along the south and west side of Long Willow Bottom Reservoir to a trail junction. The western trail goes southwest around a large meadow and climbs steeply to FS 469 for 0.7 miles to FS 140 and the North Creek Lake sign.
The 5.6 mile Griffin Top Section begins on FS 140 (Davis Flat Rd) acros form the North Creek Lake sign and ends on FS 140 at the Horse Creek Trailhead. The trail follows and old road for about a mile where it passes through a fence and continues along the road another 0.5 miles to the Birch Creek Trail junction. The trail leaves the road here and continues through thick trees, occasionally crossing old roads. The trail runs next to FS 140 and eventually joins it for a short distance before turning back onto the Horse Lake Trail. Continue past Horse Lake before returning to and following FS 140 for about 1 mile to the Horse Creek Trailhead.
The 7.2 mile Horse Creek Section begins on FS 140 and ends on FS Hwy 17 (Main Canyon Rd) approx. 4 miles west of the Escalante Summit. The trail descends steeply down an old road to a meadow.It continues northwest for 3.5 miles before turning south. The trail moves on and off old roads and must be followed carefully by looking for blazes and rock cairns. The trail dips into an old streambed and then climbs out a steep hill for about 1 mile. It finally descends off a ridge onto FS 153 and follows the road about 0.5 miles south to FS Hwy 17.
The 9.3 mile Sweetwater Section begins on FS Hwy 17 about 4 miles west of the Escalante Summit and ends on FS 132 near Pine Lake Campground. The trail follows old roads and stock trails south and west then heads southeast through Mud Springs Draw to red cliffs and sagebrush flats before reaching FS 132 near Pine Lake CG.
The 15.8 mile Cameron Wash Section begins on FS 132 north of Pine Lkae CG and ends on FS Hwy 16. The trail follows east along FS 132 about 1 mile before turning southwest and passing by the east side of Pine Lake. The trail follows FS 282 south before turning west on FS 131. The section is completely drivable and follows various old roads through Cameron Wash and passed Dipping Vat Spring to FS Hwy 16.
The Great Western Trail is a route currently under construction running from Canada to Mexico open to ATV riding. In Utah, most of the Great Western Trail follows existing roads and trails. The trail enters the state from the north near Beaver Mountain on the Wasatch-Cache National Forest and continues south through the Uinta, Manti-LaSal, Fishlake, and Dixie National Forests. It crosses BLM land before exiting into Arizona.
The Great Western Trail crosses through six of Utahs 10 designated travel regions offering great diversity. The following describes the trails in each of the six travel regions.
Traveling south along the Great Western Trail you will enter Utah and the Wasatch-Cache National Forest near the head of Logan Canyon and travel along the east side of Logan River dropping into the Blacksmith Fork drainage. Interesting side trips might include visits to historic Tony Grove Ranger Station or visits to the ever popular Ricks Springs. You may want to visit the grave site of renegade bear, Old Ephraim. Fishermen using the trail may want to try their luck in the Blacksmith Fork drainage as they head toward Hyrum where the trail turns south toward the small towns of Paradise and Avon.
GOLDEN SPIKE EMPIRE
The trail follows road #162 into Weber County, crosses the North Fork of Ogden River and then turns west towards Ben Lomond Peak. Trail users will enjoy beautiful vistas of the Great Salt Lake and Salt Lake Valley as they follow the Skyline Trail to Ogden Canyon. The route then passes Snow Basin ski area on past Mt. Ogden heading down Beus Canyon to Ogden.
Heading south along Highway 89, the trail turns east near Hill Air Force Base and climbs to the top of the Wasatch Range past Francis Peak. It follows the crest of the range past the historic Davis County Watershed and into City Creek.
GREAT SALT LAKE COUNTRY
Going south, the trail crosses the historic Mormon Pioneer and Pony Express Trails and then passes under the freeway (1-80) at the Lambs Canyon interchange. The trail then heads up Lambs Canyon into Mill Canyon and onto the crest of the Wasatch Range again. Trail users should note that restrictions regarding animals (pets) along this section are in effect because of the watershed requirements of Salt Lake City.
The Uinta National Forest section of the Great Western Trail is 65 miles long. Beginning at Sunset Peak east of Lone Peak Wilderness, adjacent to Wasatch Mountain State Park, the trail parallels an area rich in mining history. The trail continues south, joining the Ridge Trail adjacent to Mt. Timpanogos Wilderness. Access to this wilderness will provide the traveler with an opportunity to view waterfalls, glacial cirques, rugged terrain, and wildflowers.
The trail continues south through the South Fork of Provo Canyon and east down Strawberry Ridge, displaying some of the most rugged country on the forest. Strawberry Reservoir, part of the massive Central Utah Project, can be viewed in its entirety from this section of the trail. Watch for wildlife such as mountain goats, elk, moose, bears, deer, and many small animals and birds along the route. The trail follows the Tie Fork Drainage to Spanish Fork Canyon, and then continues onto the Manti-LaSal National Forest.
This 85-mile section of the trail across the Manti-LaSal National Forest follows Skyline Drive from the small town of Tucker to the Sanpete and Sevier county line. Along this scenic route, you will be able to enjoy fishing in adjacent streams and lakes. The 11,000 foot trail offers a birds-eye view of the area including the unique desert landscape in the valley to the east. Several parallel trails are being planned for foot, horse, or mountain bike travel.
Highlights along this section include: camping and fishing in the Gooseberry-Fairview Reservoir area; a side trip to Joes Valley Reservoir for camping and fishing; camping and fishing at Ferron Reservoir; a short side trip to Grove of Aspen Giants Scenic Area.
This section of trail on the Fishlake National Forest starts at the White Rim offering spectacular views of Salina Canyon to the south. From there the trail heads southwest through aspen stands and meadows, past 10,986 foot Musinea Peak, along Dead Horse Ridge around Bull Valley Mountain and past Steves Mountain, eventually crossing I-70 near the Gooseberry Interchange. Trail users then head southeast on a combination of trails and roads passing such interesting places as UM Plateau, Windstorm Peak, Willies Flat Reservoir, and Floating Island Lake. You may want to stay overnight at the Elkhorn Campground located adjacent to the trail.
Users along this section of the trail will enjoy the picturesque stands of aspen and conifer interspersed with meadows, opportunities to enjoy periods of solitude, and spectacular vistas of the San Rafael Swell, Henry Mountains, LaSal Mountains, Burr Desert, and Waterpocket Fold.
The trail continues south past Thousand Lake Mountain and the towering cliffs of Hells Hole into Red Rock Desert. It follows Sand Creek into Torrey where trail users will be able to buy supplies at the small general store.
Trail users wanting more information about the trail across the Dixie National Forest may want to stop at the Teasdale Ranger Station three miles away. The trail heads south out of Torrey along the county road onto the forest and up Fish Creek drainage to Boulder Top. The walk across the top will be the highest point on the trail in Utah with some elevations above 11,000 feet.
The trail leaves the top at Bowns Point and heads southwest through stands of aspen and open meadows with some stands of ponderosa pine. Fishing opportunities abound in lakes and streams near the trail. Camping is available at Blue Spruce, Posey Lake, Barker Reservoir, and Pine Lake.
The trail travels along Johns Valley Road to Rubys Inn and then into the East Fork of the Sevier River Drainage where it leaves the forest at Crawford Pass. This section of the trail offers interesting side trips to Bryce Canyon National Park. In fact, you may want to hike an alternate route down Podunk Creek through Bryce Canyon National Park. Remember that animals are not permitted in the park.
The trail heads south on BLM administered land, down Meadow Canyon to the Deer Springs Ranch eventually reaching Deer Spring Wash. Trail users will enjoy the change of climate and vegetation as the trail enters a more arid part of the state. Stands of juniper stand out against the backdrop of Navajo sandstone common to the area.
The trail continues south into Kitchen Corral Wash crossing Highway 89 into Kaibab Wash where the Utah trail reaches one of its lowest points, at approximately 4,800 feet. Turning southwest, the trail enters Arizona near Pine Hollow Canyon.