When riding a new trail, I like to go with someone who is familiar with it. It allows me to enjoy the trail without worrying about finding my way back. I have been the leader who doesn't know where he is going often enough to know that I would rather follow when the ride is new to me. I heard about the Whitney ATV Trail last year, but didn't get to ride it until late this summer.
The trailhead is about 23 miles east of Coalville on the Chalk Creek Road. I have driven by Coalville many times on my way to someplace else not knowing what a pleasant drive existed up the Chalk Creek Valley. The road extends east to a gas plant and then makes an S-curve past an old stone marker. We stopped to read the plaque at the base. It indicates our state boundary with Wyoming where a chunk is taken out of Utah.
We pulled off the pavement to unload just a little farther east of the marker. The land is fenced and private on both sides of the road but it is permissible to park as long as none of the gates are blocked. The trailhead parking area is small and we wanted to make sure there was room for all the riders.
From our trailer, the road followed the line of a ridge that turns south. At the trailhead the road turned to dirt and narrowed a little. We enjoyed a great view west from the top of the ridge into Chalk Creek Valley before climbing into the trees toward Whitney Reservoir.
The trail crosses a section of the Thousand Peaks Ranch, which is privately owned. Permits are available to hunt trophy deer, elk, and moose in this area and while there are no fences, the road is patrolled to maintain compliance. We met two such patrols on our ride who reminded us to stay on the trail. We were delighted to see two moose; a bull and a cow.
I have learned to use some of the features of my GPS and now I won't leave home to ride a trail without it. It came in handy on this ride. Otherwise, I would have never known that I had just crossed Humpy Creek at the base of Humpy Peak.
We continued on to Whitney Reservoir but stopped at the Whitney Guard Station en route. This quaint little house had a sign prohibiting overnight stays. We chose to take a break and enjoy some trail snacks while others lined up for the little house beside the house. I learned that it is hard to pack pears in the cargo box of an ATV. After some gentle jostling on the trail, they just don't have that fresh look.
We continued on to the lake, but only took time for a quick look before reversing our track to a junction where we turned west along Meadow Creek. Our intent was to take a loop around the lake and back to the staging area. We climbed to about 9,900 feet before we turned south along the ridge above Carrot Hollow.
We turned east as we crossed over Moffitt Pass. Continuing down by Beaver Lake and the south end of Whitney Reservoir, we climbed over Gold Hill Pass and worked our way around to the north side of the lake, reaching the point where our route closed the loop we started. From there, we turned north and followed our original course back to the trucks.
This route is a great choice for viewing fall colors. The woods are thick with quaking aspen and the trail winds in tunnels through the foliage. The elevation of the trail does not drop below 9,000 feet. We traveled about 55 miles on an easy track that is suitable for side-by-side vehicles.
When I looked at the GPS track, it looked like a child's picture of a flower with the reservoir in the middle. It is OK; I also find shapes in the clouds. When you go, stay on the trails, keep the rubber side down, and take time to enjoy the autumn colors.
You may contact Lynn Blamires at firstname.lastname@example.org