8: Going the wrong way?

Rocky Ridge, Mona, 6 miles, 3.5 miles unofficial trail

It is great to back in the swing of State of the BST again! We look forward to a great season on the trail. Our goal is to complete Salt Lake and Davis Counties this year, saving the northern end for Season 3. This year we are going to try releasing shorter episodes (10 minutes) more regularly (about every 2 weeks). We’ll see how it goes.

For our first outing, we decided to make a detour and go back to where we started, at the south end of Santaquin, and explore the possibility of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail continuing south toward Nephi. There is not a continuous trail extending through Juab County, but there are some short stretches, mostly ATV doubletrack, that could be used. We tried out two short segments today, both of which are part of the state-owned Santaquin Wildlife Management Area.

First we hiked south from Santaquin on a track that crosses into Juab County. The WMA has designated it as an open ORV route (except in winter when the big game are there), but it doesn’t have an official name; I put it into Trailforks as the Santaquin Pass Trail. It is an enjoyable gradual climb and drop, with some great views of Juab Valley and Rocky Ridge, the small town built by the Apostolic United Brethren group.

For our second segment, we followed a faint double track from Mona Pole Canyon (a rough road that connects up to the Nebo Loop Road) that follows the base of Bald Mountain to North Creek. It wasn’t a great BST candidate trail, too much up and down, but North Creek is a beautiful canyon that we never notice as we drive by on I-15 focused on the traffic. The trail up the canyon is not maintained, but the Creek and the cliffs were incredible.

Will the BST ever be built through Juab County? Here are a few factors: 1) unlike most of the rest of the route along the Wasatch Front, this is a rural area without lots of urban neighbors wanting recreation in their backyard. 2) Nephi City is thinking about building a stretch around town, but there isn’t any usable trail there yet. 3) Most of the upper parts of the foothills are either WMA or National Forest land, and it is usually easier to get permanent trails on public land. 4) On the flipside much of the land between there and I-15 is private, which limits access to the foothills. Personally, I don’t expect to see this trail completed in the foreseeable future; we have a lot of more pressing needs.

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