Located about three hours southwest of Salt Lake City in central Utah, Beaver County is one of the state’s best undiscovered mountain-bike areas. You’ll find two things that all riders like to discover: Lots of great trails and few other riders. The towering Tushar Mountains form the county’s best mountain bike playground in summer with miles of trails at Eagle Point Resort, with rides below the snow-capped peaks and hidden trails through forests and valleys. When snow blankets the high mountains, bikers head to the drier desert ranges in the western part of Beaver County. Old jeep trails and ATV tracks explore these remote ranges, including the Mineral Mountains and San Francisco Mountains, and give spectacular rides and plenty of solitude to hardy mountain bikers. Here’s a quick guide to some of the best rides.
Three Trails at Eagle Point Resort
Eagle Point Resort, a four-season ski resort tucked into a high valley below the crest of the rugged Tushar Mountains, Utah’s third highest range. While skiers come in winter to slide down 40 runs on 350 inches of powder, mountain bikers visit Eagle Point in summer to sample Beaver County’s best selection of mountain bike trails. The resort offers a starting point for 41 miles of riding on 12 trails, including 11 miles of singletrack that cross flower-strewn meadows and glide through aspen and evergreen forests. Riders from beginner to expert will find plenty to enjoy. The area offers a shuttle service can bring riders to the top of the mountain to start, so most of your riding is downhill. The full-service Eagle Point Mountain Bike Shop offers repairs and bike rentals, so you can enjoy the trails even if you don’t have a bike of your own. Eagle Point’s trails are perfect for summer bike adventures, with plenty of shade, sun, and cool temperatures at 10,000 feet. Three of your best options include:
Observation Point Trail is a fun, kid-friendly 1.1-mile ride that begins by Skyline Lodge. The trail descends down a road before turning into good singletrack through forest. It then heads up an old ATV track that climbs open slopes to great views from the 10,325-foot Observation Point above Puffer Lake. Return to the trailhead by reversing the route for a 2.2-mile round-trip ride or continue down to Puffer Lake on the Puffer Lake Trail and be picked up from the highway by the shuttle. The Tushar Ridge Trail, which branches off from the Observation Point, is another local favorite.
Monarch Mountain Loop is a great intermediate ride that makes a 3.2-mile loop from Skyline Lodge to the high point of Eagle Point Resort on a low shoulder of 11,985-foot Mount Holly. The route, best done by riding counterclockwise, follows both double track ski runs and fabulous singletrack through woods. Start down Big Horn and Crescent Moon trails, and then cut east along the North Fork of Three Creeks. Higher, the trail climbs a sun-dappled trail lined with aspens to the top of Monarch Lift, the resort’s high point. Finish down a fast singletrack through woods and across ski runs to the lodge.
The 1.8-mile Swoop Trail is a super fun, downhill run that starts at Skyline Lodge and ends below on Elk Meadows Road. The intermediate, singletrack ride, losing almost 400 feet of elevation, twists through bermed corners, crosses a couple wide ski runs, and dashes through forest to the road below. Ride a mile up the paved road to the start or take a shuttle.
The Tushar Mountains form a wall of high peaks topped by 12,169-foot Delano Peak, the high point of Beaver County. Spectacular twists along the western edge of the range crest, passing beneath snow-capped mountains, fording streams, and traversing meadows filled with wildflowers. The 12-mile section of singletrack trail from Big Flat Trailhead on the south to Big John Flat Trailhead on the north is one of Beaver County’s most challenging but most beautiful mountain bike rides. The ride is rated intermediate to expert depending on how much walking you do on rocky trail sections. Begin the adventure at the trailhead east of Big Flat Ranger Station and route 153. The trail climbs along the scenic range crest to an 11,053-foot saddle and then contours below Mount Holly and Delano Peak, dipping across shallow valleys and ducking through dense evergreen forest to Big John Flat Trailhead on Forest Road 123. It’s best to leave a vehicle at each trailhead, otherwise ride the trail back or coast down road 123 to Eagle Point Resort, and then ride up route 153 for a 26-mile day.
Duncan Creek Trail
For a less-extreme ride in the region, consider the Duncan Creek Trail. You can access the west fork of the trail from Big John Flat (see below), and shuttle service is also available if you’d rather avoid the miles going up. Begin your ride on Tanner Hollow-Big John #058, then head south on the the Bosman Trail (#064) before reaching the West Fork of Duncan Creek (#222). You’ll end just off the highway, a short ride from the Jimmy Reed Parking area. The West Fork Duncan Creek Trail is less than three miles long, but it’s a very rewarding ride for intermediate and advanced mountain bikers.
Riding Around Big John Flat
Big John Flat, a spacious meadow west of Delano Peak, makes a great base camp for mountain bikers at Fishlake National Forest dispersed camping area. Besides riding the Skyline Trail from Big John Trailhead, lots of fun rides thread through wooded valleys and over ridges west of the Flat. One of the best rides pieces together four forest trails for a 6.9-mile loop with open downhills and gradual uphill grades. Start at a trailhead on the west side of the camping area and follow trails 58, 223, and 64. The Sawmill Ridge Trail descends a long ridge south of the campground, with an easy return up Forest Road 123.
Mineral Mountain Rides
When the Tushar Mountains are encased in snow, mountain bikers head west to Beaver County’s lower elevation ranges. The southern end of the Mineral Mountains offers over 40 miles of ATV trails from cruiser bike rides to technical rockfests. Note that these are ATV trails and county roads, not dedicated mountain bike trails. Watch for occasional ATVs or four-wheel-drive vehicles on weekends. An easy ride with great scenery is the dirt Soldier Pass Trail between Adamsville and Milford. A harder ride is the nine-mile Lincoln Mine Trail, running from Minersville to Granite Spring on Soldier Pass Trail through the heart of the range’s mining district. It passes the historic Lincoln Mine, one of the oldest mines in the United States.
Written by Stewart Green for RootsRated Media in partnership with Utah Office of Tourism.