ATV Adventures: Memories and adventures on the Chicken Creek Trail
I have ridden Chicken Creek before, but I have also ridden Farmington Canyon many times. It seems like even old trails make for new adventures.
The Chicken Creek trailhead is east of Levan. Everyone I have talked to seems to know about the name of this little town, but for the record, here is an account of the origin of the name:
Levan was originally known as the Chicken Creek Settlement. It was moved and renamed Levan by Brigham Young in 1867 due to adverse living conditions at the old site. Thought to be the middle of the state, it is of little consequence that Levan is “navel” spelled backward. It is not the geographic middle of the state, but it is within a few miles.
The last ride I took in this canyon was dramatic and traumatic. At the top of the mountain, it started to rain hard. We were at the furthest point from our staging area at the top of a ridge with no shelter in sight. Lightning and thunder were frequent with no interval between the two. I didn’t want to think about what that meant. Our only plan was to get down off the mountain as fast as possible.
As we made our way back to the Chicken Creek Road, we noticed evidence of water gouging out sections of trail. By the time we started down Chicken Creek, I knew we were in trouble. Large logs and rocks had already washed across the road.
Entering the main part of the canyon, we saw that Chicken Creek by the side of the road was now Chicken Raging River. The air was thick with a strong earthy scent as the water churned up dirt and tore out trees. The roar of the river was deafening. We could find nothing chicken about Chicken Creek and stopped to watch the fury of this scene with fascination.
A little further down, the road was flooded over. Determining the depth of the flow, we dodged rocks and logs to make it through, only to come to a place where the water was cutting the road away. A good section of the road was gone as we hugged the mountainside in our passage. As we cleared this section, I noticed large circular cracks in the road indicating a weakening in the surface. Nothing was more welcome than the end of our ride as we traded our adventure for the warmth of our trucks.
Our ride up the canyon this time showed no evidence of this past experience. Chicken Creek was the little babbling brook it is supposed to be and it was a pleasure to ride up this beautifully shaded trail.
This trail is marked by many hollows – Green Grove, Burnt Ground, Maple, Trough Spring and Jackson. We could not think of a reason to go up Death Hollow. Then there are the side canyons – Reddick, Chris and Saul’s Canyons, all in the ride to the top of Chicken Creek.
Just after reaching the top, we turned north on the first trail we could take. It was fun to ride as it took us across the tops of the high ridges. We could see mountains all around us and the temperatures were perfect for a ride.
We passed Chris Ridge and Marble Hill. From the ridge on which we were riding, we could see down into Hog Gulch and Buck Hollow. This trail would have taken us a lot further north, but we wanted to drop down off the ridges into Maple Canyon. When we found the sign indicating the trail we wanted, we knew we were headed in the right direction.
We dropped down onto Dutchman’s Flat near Hamburger Lake and then into Maple Canyon. The outstanding characteristic of this canyon is that the walls are not smooth. They are a conglomerate of round river rocks. This is a place that rock climbers like to come and practice because there are so many natural hand holds.
We wound our way down the canyon and came out into the little town of Freedom. We took the highway south to Wales and then turned west up Wales Canyon. This trail took us back up to the top of Chicken Creek Canyon, which we followed back to our starting point, finishing a ride of 49 miles. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and enjoy riding high on the ridges above Chicken Creek.
Contact Lynn R. Blamires at email@example.com