22: A winter respite in Farmington

February 11 2023: 7 miles, 5.6 miles official BST, 0.5 miles unofficial route, Trailforks hike log

We had hoped to be hiking all fall and winter and finishing Davis County by the end of 2022, but other work and weather has set us back. We had the wettest January on record, and after our last adventure, we waited until the snowy trails were more packed down. So it was good to finally get out and continue our journey past Farmington.

The trail in the southern part of Farmington, north of Davis Creek is a nice trail for the first mile or so, before it becomes a utility service road. The county BST plan intends to move it from this road further up on the bench. We were able to hike a short section that already exists, but most of it will require new construction, and this is a lower priority than the significant sections in the county with no trail at all.

North of Farmington Canyon, there are generally two trails, the lower utility road that passes through a couple subdivisions (which Farmington City calls the official BST for now), and an upper singletrack trail that the county plans to use as the permanent BST. In fact, the Forest Service and Fruit Heights City already designate parts of the upper trail as the official BST (with some trail markers out there to prove it). However, the upper trail is broken where it crosses Farmington, Shepard, and Bair Canyons, especially the very steep slopes on their northern sides. We saw an old cut across much of the north side of Farmington Canyon which is likely the future rout, but it disappears before it can cross the creek to connect to the large canyon trailhead. At Shepard Canyon, there is a narrow, windy, steep trail that crosses the creek over a small hand-made bridge, but this would need to be completely rerouted to be a good multi-user trail. Bair Canyon has a very good trail on the south side of the creek leading to a nice bridge, but there is a significant gap on the cliffy north side. Fruit Heights City recently got a grant to construct this last crossing, but they have had some difficulty finding a trail builder who can make it work.

We explored the upper route as far as we could. It is generally a nice trail between the canyons, with some parts that could use some work to bring it up to BST standards. To top it all off, when we were in Bair Canyon we saw a bald eagle up on the rim!

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