The NUATV club responded when the call went out from the Public Lands Equal Access Alliance (PLEAA) in conjunction with the Forest Service to help sign trails on the Shoshone Trail System. It was a chance to give back service in providing assistance to maintain trails we like to ride.
The Shoshone Trail System is one of Utah’s premier systems available to riders in Northern Utah. It is accessed from Millville and Blacksmith’s Fork on the west side and Temple Fork from Logan Canyon. Peter Sinks is a popular trail head on the north side while Randolph provides access from the east. Hardware Ranch and Curtis Creek feature trail heads on the south end of the system.
Funded by a grant from the Recreational Trails Program arranged by Utah State Parks and Recreation, and awarded to PLEAA, the purpose of the project is to mark the trails in the Shoshone System. Brown carsonite signs with trail numbers make it easy to orient the trail map to the tracks on the ground.
While the name “carsonite,” may not be familiar, they are easily recognized because of their universal use in marking all kinds of trails throughout the country. Made from a flat flexible fiberglass material, the signs have proven durable against wind, weather and everything but bullets and bumpers.
Riders were met at the Hardware Ranch trail head Saturday morning by Glen Olsen, President of PLEAA, and Forest Service representatives Kolby White and Zack Maughan. Members of the NUATV club and the Wasatch Outlaw Wheelers responded to the call for help.
After a brief orientation, we headed out on the Laketown Road toward Elk Valley. Those new to the Shoshone Trails need to understand how to read the new map. I have a copy of an older map that has the Shoshone Trail numbers clearly marked. However, the newer maps have the Shoshone Trail numbers and the Forest Service numbers, both on the same map.
To help clear up any confusion encountered, the small numbers outlined with a black line in a white box are the Forest Service numbers while the large black numbers are the Shoshone numbers. When you come to a trail marker you will see large white numbers on a brown background. At the top of the marker will be a sticker with the Shoshone Trails symbol. In the upper right corner is a Shoshone Trail number. It is important to remember that the large numbers on the map correspond to the small Shoshone numbers on the signs and the small numbers on the map will match the large Forest Service numbers on the signs. It doesn’t have to make sense, it just is.
Arriving in Elk Valley, our purpose was to set signs to mark the Elk Valley Loop — a 50-inch restricted trail. It is a beautiful, narrow trail that winds through the woods, looping back at several points onto the main trail.
I have spent time on the Shoshone Trails, but I was not aware of some of the narrow trails available to ride like this one. I am looking forward to spending more time exploring this system.
There have been four of these signing projects set up. According to Glen Olsen, it will take another four projects to finish the job.
With plenty of volunteers to set the posts, I took a supply of maps and headed up a group to go out on the trail to talk to other riders, pass out maps and assist anyone who might need help.
It was a good time to ride these trails. The fall colors were still bright and temperatures were just right. I think fall is the best time to explore this system. The trails are less likely to be muddy and riding temperatures are more pleasant.
The fall riding season will extend into November. The size of this system and the fact that is located so close makes it feasible to explore on a series of day rides. Amenities are available in some of the towns located near the trail heads to make two and three day trips an attractive option. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and take some time to explore the Shoshone system.
ATV Adventures columnist Lynn Blamires can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.