OGDEN -- While a world-class network of hiking trails can be found along the eastern benches of Weber and Davis counties, another set of trails that aren't so steep are also seeing a lot of use.
The Ogden River Parkway Trail continues to see a high number of joggers and cyclists ever since Ogden city completed a massive restoration project on the trail and the river last summer.
The city secured close to $6 million from a variety of public and private sources to clean up the river, a project that has been part of community master plans for more than 20 years.
As part of the project, city crews removed nearly 13,000 tons of concrete, glass, rusted shopping carts, auto parts, almost 2,500 tires, seven full cars and other trash from the river.
Work was also performed to build interior flood planes, stabilize the river's banks, improve water flow and offer 25 new pedestrian access points.
The 9.6 mile walk through the heart of downtown Ogden begins near Rainbow Gardens at the mouth of Ogden Canyon, and ends at the south end of Fort Buenaventura just west of 24th Street.
The city has also begun construction on a trail that will connect the city's Intermodal Transit Hub on Wall Avenue to the River Parkway trail, just east of Goode Ski Lake.
The trail will run north from the FrontRunner parking lot to 22nd Street, then west to Pacific Avenue, then, following Pacific, it will continue to run north until it connects to the River Parkway trail.
The trail will also provide quicker access to Business Depot Ogden for pedestrians and bikers using FrontRunner, again with much less moving traffic.
In Davis County, the Legacy Parkway trail continues to see heavy use and will likely see some improvements soon.
Davis County recently submitted an application to the Utah State Park's Recreational Trails program for a $40,000 grant to help build a restroom along the 14-mile trail, which would be built on the west side of the trail near the 500 South Legacy Parkway exit in Bountiful.
The 14-mile trail is open to pedestrians, bicyclists, and horseback riding. There is also a 3-mile pedestrian nature walk along the edge of the Legacy Nature Preserve.
Another trail, which spans both counties, is expected to be fully complete in the next month.
Construction on the final portion of the Denver & Rio Grande Western rail trail will be complete by October. When the project is finished, the D&RGW trail will be fully paved from 400 North in West Bountiful to about Hinckley Drive in the Roy/West Haven area, right along the D&RGW corridor, just west of the active Union Pacific rail line.
Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.
Fall hiking and biking
As the long days of summer slowly ebb into fall, Ogden's surrounding mountains burst into color.
With more than 300 miles of outdoor trails readily available for use, residents are afforded the opportunity to immerse themselves in the colorful fall landscapes.
Ogden City Planner Eric Daems, who said he works closely with the nonprofit Ogden Trails Network to further development of the area's trails, said there are many trails in the area prime for hiking and biking in the fall season.
"We see it as branding ourselves as an outdoor recreation mecca," Daems said. "Our trails are a draw and great asset for our residents and also for tourism. They are our number one asset."
The city's prevalent trails are suited for recreationists of all ability levels, Daems said, and can be accessed in a variety of places.
Ogden's east bench is one such place where Daems said miles of world-class trails abound.
Juan Barrientez, a natural resources manager with the Ogden Ranger District of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, said the Bonneville Shoreline Trail -- which runs north and south along more than 100 miles of the Wasatch Front's east bench -- is a popular trail, due to its moderate difficulty and easy access from the city's residential areas.
Barrientez said BST trailheads, equipped with parking areas and "informational boards," are located at the east ends of 22nd Street, 29th Street and 4600 South.
From the BST, which traverses most of Weber County, Barrientez said, many additional trails may be accessed, gaining entry to some of the area's canyons and mountainous regions.
Daems said the Indian Trail, which can be accessed from the BST's 22nd Street trailhead, is a shorter hike of moderate difficulty that offers impressive views as it rises above the mouth of Ogden Canyon.
"You get a very perched view into the canyon there," Daems said. "It takes you up nice and high and really into the fall colors."
Other popular trails with access points from the BST include the Hidden Valley Trail as well as paths leading into Strongs Canyon, Taylor Canyon and Waterfall Canyon.
The Birdsong Trail, which begins near the Rainbow Gardens restaurant at the mouth of Ogden Canyon, is another option Daems said is a good choice for those seeking a shorter-distance hike but who do not wish to forgo the area's scenery.
For those hoping to gain solitude, away from the city, Barrientez said trails deeper into the area's mountainous terrain often offer such an opportunity.
Barrientez said the Beus Trail, which he said is more steep and difficult than many others in the area, ascends the 9,752-foot Mount Ogden.
"The views are great but the trail is steep," he said.
Regardless of what trail is taken, Barrientez said it is important to always carry an adequate supply of water, to always inform somebody of your intended route as well as when you should be expected home and to take along any clothing and equipment necessary to weather a night outdoors, should you become disoriented or lost.