Skill Level: Intermediate
Trail Type: 7 mile loop, Singletrack with some road. 900 feet elevation gain.
For most skiers and mountain bikers, the City of Ogden is best known as the gate way to Powder Mountain and Snowbasin ski areas, and to the networks of singletrack in the Ogden Valley (which, somewhat confusingly, sits above the city). In the spring, however, the City of Ogden is also home to the areas most reliable mountain bike rides. While the Ogden Valley trails will go in and out of condition with the weather, the trails east of the City stay relatively dry.
The Mount Ogden Bench, which forms the eastern border of this city of 80,000 people is a veritable spider web of singletrack, which means there are a number of kick-off points for this ride. The 29th Street trailhead, located just north of Weber State University, has bathrooms and ample parking, so that's as good a place as any to start, though you can extend the ride by starting at Rainbow Gardens at the mouth of Ogden Canyon.
From 29th, ride up for .2 miles, and you'll come to a signpost. The right eventually turns into the Waterfall Canyon trail. You can hit the Bonneville Shoreline Trail this way, but it's steep, loose, and you'll see a lot of hikers.
The left is a better option on a mountain bike (signed for Taylor Canyon South). Hop on the first well-traveled singletrack on your right. This will climb for a half-mile and about 100 vertical feet until it meets the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Take a right and start climbing. This is a nice, steady ascent to a cool vista overlooking the City of Ogden. From here, the trail will traverse and eventually cross Waterfall Canyon and Strong Canyon, and you'll emerge on a flat singletrack on the bench above Weber State University. Watch for a singletrack forking off to the left, signed for Beus Canyon.
After switching back a couple of times above Weber State, trail will split. Pick your poison here. The left is higher, a little rougher and more difficult to ride. The right is smoother. They both meet again after about a half-mile. Another half-mile or so more will take you to the Beus Canyon Trail. There's good riding to the left up the canyon as a spur. The right will drop you down the canyon for 400 vertical feel of descending in a half mile. This section is more technical than the rest of the ride.
From here, take a right on Taylor Ave. to Country Hills Dr., and get back on dirt behind Weber State's football stadium. Follow the rolling singletrack for about two miles back to 29th Street.
The best time to ride is early spring and late fall, to avoid both Ogden's desert heat, and the rattlesnakes. "That trail is chock full of 'em," says local photographer Chad Spector. "Can't recall the last time I was up there without running into one."
For eats, Slackwater Pub has great pizza and calzones, a large beer selection, live music, and has been known to feature mountain bike flicks on the TV screen. If table service doesn't fit your schedule, hit up Lucky Slice on 25th street for slices and beer. The best shop for bike work in Ogden is Skyline Cycles. On weekends, Alleged offers a good atmosphere for cocktails, including a rooftop deck.