26 October 2023: 5.8 miles (3.8 miles unofficial BST). Trailforks Hike Log.
After being blocked north of Willard, we skipped ahead a bit to explore the trail above Perry. Today was supposed to be wet and wintry, but fortunately it turned into a very nice day for a hike! Joining me today was Robert Barnhill, the city administrator for Perry who (among his myriad other responsibilities) is leading this small city’s efforts to establish trails for their growing outdoor recreation community. The section we were hiking could possibly be the most likely segment to become the first official BST in Box Elder County, so Rob wanted to explore it with us to see what the trail looked like and what the prospects for designating it might be.
His first task came upon us at the very beginning, at the mouth of Perry Canyon. Geneva Rock owns the entire mouth of the canyon, and has pits on both sides. Fortunately, several years ago when they wanted to expand, they reached an agreement with the city to leave the creek bottom area alone, and allow permanent public motorized and non-motorized access through their property into the canyon. Currently, Robert is working to make this access more secure, including improving the trailhead and signing the trail we followed along the creek. It was surprisingly pretty and shaded, mostly shielded from the gravel operations.
Soon we reached the Brigham Face Wildlife Management Area, through which most of our hike would pass. We talked a lot about the prospects for working with the Division of Wildlife Resources, who own and manage this land. On the good side, they have less regulations governing what they can and can’t do, or requiring a lengthy permitting process. Unfortunately (as we discussed at length in Episode 6 above Orem), outdoor recreation is not part of their mission, except for hunters (given that the land was bought and is managed through funds raised by hunting licenses). It appears that the route we took has been designated a public road, so motorized and non-motorized access is officially allowed, making the job easier. However, he believes it may still take some convincing to designate it as BST and allow for things like signage.
There are a couple options for climbing from the canyon up to the Bonneville Bench. We chose the wrong one, a very steep double track going almost straight up. Apparently, if we had been patient and gone up the canyon a little further, a social trail climbs at a much nicer grade with a lot of switchbacks. Robert said he’ll come back and check that out. Once on the bench, most of our route followed the fire break/utility road, which would make a fine “Version 1” BST. One exception is where we crossed Evans Canyon, the deepest on this segment. The road went down quite a bit to cross, but a single track path has been cut into the side of the canyon that stays almost level, and passes through some nice shady woodland. The only issue is that it is quite narrow in places, and DWR may not like the idea of widening it.
We soon passed right under the iconic “I” on the mountain, which had almost disappeared in the decades the closure of the Intermountain Indian School in 1984, but appears to be freshly whitewashed now by some residents. We could look down on the ongoing effort by Brigham City to redevelop the school property, featuring a golf course, offices, townhomes, and a brand new satellite campus of Utah State University.