26: Coldwater Canyon, North Ogden

24 June 2023, 6.5 miles, 6.1 miles official BST. Trailforks hike log.

Today’s hike was along the most recent major section of BST built in Weber County. Weber Pathways (now TFNU) built the Coldwater Canyon segment in 2015, mostly by hand I believe, and I had heard that it was a challenging build, so I was excited to see what they did. And I wasn’t disappointed.

This is one of those stretches that is far higher than the actual lake shore; we climbed about 1,200ft from from our starting point at Ogden Nature Center. If I remember correctly, Weber Pathways worked for years to negotiate a lower route through private property, but eventually resorted to this route that stays on Forest Service and State land. It may seem higher than it needs to be, but the private property goes fairly far up; there are a couple of the high spots that are literally a few feet behind the property line. Fortunately, it is a trail of modern design, with (mostly) very reasonable grades so that you hardly notice you’re climbing. Of course the downside of that is that it takes 6.5 miles to cover a distance of less than 3 miles as the crow flies.

Yet, what a beautiful 6.5 miles it is. Coldwater Canyon (pictured here) is amazing; the trail passes through a spruce-fir forest that is rare on the BST and probably more here than anywhere else we’ve been. The trail is perched above several cliffs, giving great views. In many ways, it didn’t seem very “BST-like,” but we didn’t mind. Unfortunately, Coldwater Creek is a bit of dud; the little spring along the trail a mile or two earlier was more interesting, and North Ogden Creek further north had a lot more water.

The superb trail engineering was evident in many places. Most notable were some crossings of talus boulder fields, and retaining walls built on very steep slopes. I’m impressed.

The only downside of this hike was that near the end, we got caught in some kind of bike race or riding activity. Of course, the bikes are just as welcome to the trail as I am, but our filming was frequently interrupted. That said, it was all in all a great day.

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