Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Fish Lake


This was our first riding trip to Fish Lake.  We reconned the area on Nov. 1 and discovered the conditions seemed ideal for a ride.  No crowds.  In fact, basically no one else at all. And very little snow that we could see and dry trails.    We decided at the last minute that Nov. 2 would be our only chance to ride it this coming week, so we packed up and made a day trip.  I had studied maps, so had an idea of what we wanted to do. 
 But, studying maps may help a little, but doesn't prepare you for the trail conditions, steepness or distance.  I found out shortly before we went that the Lakeside trail we wanted to ride was off limits to horses for a considerable part. My next plan was to park in a pull out near the Pelican Point, ride the Lake Shore trail to the other trailhead, then ride down the trail along the southeast side of the lake until we got to the part that went up the mountainside. It looked to be about a 7-8 mile ride.   

Here is a link to a description of the 4 sections of the Lake Shore National Recreation Trail.  https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/fishlake/recarea/?recid=80504

We ended up riding part of Section 3.

This map at the trailhead was misleading.  Made it look so easy.  Glad I studied more detailed maps.

This portion of a topo PDF map was more helpful.  I studied it, but didn't take it with me.

This view from the trailhead looked good.

Yep, horses allowed.

This is where we ended up parking.  Across the road to the northwest from the Lake Creek trailhead.  Lots of horse evidence here.

This is the actual trailhead called "Lake Creek".  We could have parked here.

This was our track for the day.  7 miles total.  We rode part of the LakeShore trail, went a little ways up the Crater Lake Trail, crossed over to the Porcupine Draw trail, went up towards Johnson Valley Reservoir on the Lake Creek trail and then back to the trailhead, our trailer, then took a cross country ride up the ridge before quitting for the day.  We kept saying "We better do this, because we may not come back here."  Now, thinking back on it, I wouldn't mind coming back, perhaps a bit earlier in the year, maybe October when the aspen leaves were still on.  I would NOT do the Section 3 of the Lakeside trail again.  We only got half way down and turned around because we were just tired of the rocky trail. We were able to avoid some of it by riding closer to the shore line.  I was hoping maybe for a beach, but it was just too muddy and looked unsafe.

Started out by crossing the road and getting from our parking spot to the trailhead.

A bridge right off the bat.  On the way back we found a nice place to cross and give the horses a drink.

Riding along the Lake Creek trail

Lake Creek Trail looking towards Johnson Valley Reservoir

Porcupine Draw trail looking towards Lake Creek

Heading up the Crater Lakes trail right at first. We were hoping for a view shot from the top of the ridge, but ended up not getting it because we went down another way.

This is where we turned back on the Crater Lakes trail.  It just got too rocky and steep.  The photo doesn't show how steep at all!

Pretty spot on the Crater Lakes trail

Lake Side trail Section 3

Lake Side trail Section 3

Lake Side trail Section 3

Lake Side trail Section 3

Lake Side trail Section 3

We didn't ride out on Section 2, but chose instead to just ride up the hillside a little bit to get a lake view.
All in all, the solitude was refreshing and the views were wonderful. It was really nice to ride with no noise or crowds or flies or mosquitoes.
 It was worth the 5 hours of total driving time...we might be back again to do Section 2 of the Lakeside and maybe one called Reflection Spring.
I'll update  the blog if we do.
Meanwhile, if anyone has more information or photos on the trails around Fish Lake, let me know.

I found the following map AFTER we got back.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

White Hill Wildlife Management (WMA)


The upper trails are now mostly muddy and snowy, so it was time to check out the Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) near us.  The first is White Hill, also known on some maps as "Spring City" and on other maps as part of the "Black Hill."  It is south of Spring City on Pigeon Hollow Road.  I studied maps and uploaded "Avenza" app.

Here is the map I studied the most:  https://www.trailforks.com/trails/the-master-loop/

However, I was warned that trails are not marked and it is easy to miss turn offs, etc.  That is exactly what happened on our first ride.  We parked at the "trailhead" closest to Spring City which meant just pulling off the side of the road.  Mistake #1.  Way too close to the busy highway.  We advise parking at the NEXT pull out which has much more room.  It is about a mile further down the road.  If you're coming from the south, watch for it first.  It has a lot of horse evidence.  Here is a map.  YELLOW arrow is the first parking area and RED arrow is the recommended one.

Place where we parked, but don't recommend.

This shows our track.  It was about 7.2 miles.  We made some incorrect turns and ended up WAY too far west, which required us to do some bushwhacking and zig zagging down a steep hill to get back down to the road.  I used my phone to toggle back and forth from Avenza which told me where we were and Trailforks photo which showed kind of where we should have gone.  Oh, well, it was still a good ride and there is so much left to explore.  It kind of reminds me of Antelope Island without the lake. 😊
The part we rode was mostly dirt, some soft and some hard; many rocky areas, but nothing a barefoot horse in good condition cannot handle.  Some two tracks and some single tracks and some no tracks.  We didn't see anyone else even though it was a Saturday.  We saw bike tracks, OHV tracks and horse tracks.

Some fabulous views both of the Horseshoe Mountain area AND even Mt. Nebo.

All in all it was an enjoyable ride.  Very dry and no water feature.  Would not recommend in the summer heat.  Definitely a late fall ride.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Jones Ranch Trail--Mt. Nebo Loop


This delightful trail we found "by accident."  Actually, I had done research enough to know it was a trail I would like to try.  Our goal on October 12 was to do the "Summit" trail on the highest point of the Nebo Loop. We drove up the steep side from State Road 132.  However, the small parking area was full.  So, we drove on down to the Payson Lakes area looking for an option.  I spotted the Jones Ranch trailhead with plenty of parking, so....we decided to try it.  If it got too bad, we could always turn back.

This was our track for the day.  8 miles total.  We did the entire Jones Ranch trail plus two side trips--one up what we now know is called Done Ridge.  We'll do that one another day.  The other up to Box Lake.  HOWEVER, do not recommend that one because we got to the edge of a campground which became off limits to horses, so we didn't even see the lake and turned back to the main trail. The elevation was 7,398-8,212' with 1,150' ascent/descent.  Trail conditions were 90% soft dirt and 10% somewhat rocky.  The only thing I didn't like was that it is open to motor bikes/cycles and we encountered two that had no awareness of trail etiquette. Other than one other non-motorized cycle, we had the trail to ourselves.

This is the trail as shown on All Trails.

(As usual, click on any photo to open enlarged images.)

This is the Jones Ranch trailhead.  It is about a mile past the Payson Lakes Campground if you come up that way.  In a future ride, we'll come up from Payson and park at the "Double Falls" trailhead.

This is a google maps search for Double Falls Trailhead from our place.  The dark blue route is now our preferred way.  Although coming over the Nebo Loop shows 2 miles shorter, it used about 10 more gallons of gas because of the climb and took closer to 1 hour, 50 mins.

This is a view of the Double Falls trailhead from the end of the Jones Ranch trail. No one was parked there.  There is a sign identifying the trail.

The trail sign is in the far background on the opposite side of the road.

The following photos show some of the trail.  It is full of aspen, evergreens, open meadows and a few springs where horses and dogs can get a drink.

This is the turn off to Box Lake. (not recommended)

Sign at the confluence of Rock Springs trail.  Maybe we'll try that another time. It also hooks up with Done Ridge trail with a possible loop.

For more information and photos, search these trail names on All Trails.  I'll keep this blog updated as we ride more in that area.