7a: A Smoky Cedar Hills

August 10 2021: 7 miles total, 6.3 miles official trail, 0.7 miles unofficial route

As the fires rage on the west coast, the Wasatch Front is full of smoke. We delayed this hike a few days trying to wait it out, but decided to go today when the air quality was slightly better than the weekend. Episode 7 is going to cover a lot of territory to finish off Utah County; today’s route traversed the base of Mahogany Mountain.

The first few miles, from Grove Creek Trailhead to the Cedar Hills city limit, is one of the newest segments of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (at least it’s the newest in Utah County). The Utah Valley Trails Alliance worked with Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in 2019 to develop an official trail network in the Pleasant Grove area, designating about 20 new miles of trail. That said, all of the “new” trails were actually existing social trails that were legalized, including this 2.5 miles of BST. We like this route, which gets up in the hills a bit for some great views and more solitude then the “Bench Road” below along the Salt Lake Aqueduct pipeline, it does have some sections that are too steep and need some rerouting.

Eventually, however, the alternative routes end, so through southern Cedar Hills, the trail follows the pipeline utility road. This pipeline, which is mostly underground but occasionally exposed where it crosses a draw, has carried a significant part of the Provo River to the Salt Lake Valley since 1951. The road here is nice and level, if somewhat dull. Perhaps when “Phase I” of the BST is completely connected, a new route could be developed here further up in the hills.

The last mile is a paved pathway, part of the extensive paved trail system built by Cedar Hills (thanks to development fees from its large developers in the early 2000s). We took this opportunity to experiment with filming by bicycle. It was a good change of pace!