WEST HAVEN -- Those who love Utah's wilderness, and a step back into history to go along with it, may want to explore Weber County's best-kept secret.
The portion of the Centennial Trail through West Haven and Marriott-Slaterville is a 31/2-mile stretch between the two cities. With the recent paving of the final mile, the trail is nearly completed.
The Centennial Trail is a 27-mile trail in Weber County that follows the Ogden and Weber rivers and the Bonneville Shoreline Trail connecting Ogden and Weber canyons.
"The trail system is a wonderful asset to so many county and city residents," said Brock Randall, director of Parks and Recreation for West Haven.
"With the addition of the new section in West Haven and Marriott-Slaterville, folks in all of Weber County are now connected via bridges across the river to trails east and west of I-15."
This portion of the trail is unique to Weber County, as it has three sections. The first section runs east and west from the 21st Street pond along the Ogden River north to where the two rivers meet or south to Fort Buenaventura.
The trail winds and curves through a natural landscape of trees and bushes that are home to many species of wildlife that can be seen by people on the path.
"The scenery is spectacular year round," Randall said.
Tucked just off the trail are shaded picnic areas complete with tables and benches. There also is a bowery that can be used for parties and school activities.
This section of the trail is where a lot of history took place, and markers describing the events have been placed along the trail. The confluence of the two rivers was the location of the winter camps for both the Shoshone and the Ute Indian tribes.
The spot also marks where a trapper's lodge and trading post once stood.
"Every day, there are fishermen fishing from the shore of the rivers or off the bridges, couples are walking, families are riding bikes, and joggers are jogging on the trail," Randall said. "Some people are even kayaking on the river."
Marriott-Slaterville resident Chad Meyerhoffer said the trail has been convenient because he lives close to it.
"I like to ride my bike to work when I can, and since the trail is so close, I can jump on it and enjoy the scenery as I go," he said. "I've seen deer out there and just recently saw three big bucks."
Randall said the trail system has created many opportunities for Eagle Scouts to perform such projects as sportsman access points, tree removals, parking lot updates and cleanups.
Bill Morris, Marriott-Slaterville city administrator and city attorney, said the two cities have combined their efforts to make the trail a reality.
"We have been in charge of the financing of the project, and West Haven has been in charge of the engineering," he said.
Marriott-Slaterville and West Haven obtained a RAMP grant in the amount of $450,000 from Weber County to install the new bridges on 17th Street and near Interstate 15, as well as complete approximately one mile of new trail that will extend the trail system to 1900 West.
Both cities matched the project grant, funding that comes from a tax approved by Weber County voters in 2004 that allows the county to impose a local sales tax of one-tenth of 1 percent, which is 1 cent on a $10 sale, to improve recreation, arts, museums and parks.
The trail provides a continuous pathway that begins at a point on the northwest side of 1900 West then lazily curves its way along the Weber River, crossing over the Charles McFarland Bridge near the confluence with the Ogden River.
The trail continues around the 21st Street pond, where it intersects with Ogden city and connects back to the Ogden River.
Dedication of the trail is planned for mid-November.