BOUNTIFUL — Construction started this week on a major extension of one of Northern Utah’s most popular trails.
On Wednesday, Davis County began work on what will ultimately be a 55-mile expansion of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail as it runs through the Northern Utah county. The first phase of construction involves a 16-mile extension, all through U.S. Forest Service land, from Mueller Park Canyon in Bountiful all the way south to a point meeting the trail as it runs through Salt Lake City.
The extension, which is being constructed by trail design contractor Avid Trails LLC, will traverse land inside of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest boundary. A full National Environmental Policy Act environmental analysis was completed and approved by the USFS prior to the start of construction.
A single-track, backcountry trail, the extension will average 3 to 4 feet in width and be consistent with USFS standard trail plans and specifications. The new trail will be relatively flat and easy to travel, with average grades between 5% and 10%. A 10% grade means the trail would rise or fall about 10 feet for every 100 feet hiked horizontally.
The new route would be open for hiking, running, cycling and equestrian usage where appropriate.
“We want the expansion ... to benefit the community and visitors in Davis,” said Jessica Merrill, director of Discover Davis, which serves as the county’s visitor’s bureau.
Davis County plans to complete 55 miles of the BST through the foothills of the county over the next three to five years, finishing the county’s section of the trail. The ultimate plan for the trail, which has been spelled out in federal legislation introduced by Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, involves connecting the trail from its southern terminus in Nephi to the Utah/Idaho border in Cache County. A fully connected and completed trail would span 280 miles through Utah.
Currently, the trail has just over 100 miles completed, which runs near the high watermark of ancient Lake Bonneville at about 5,200-feet of elevation, according to a press release from Discover Davis. The Davis County BST Master Plan calls for a trail connection from Salt Lake City to the Weber River, near the Davis/Weber county border.
“With the growth of Davis County, we have needed to expand this trail for quite some time,” said Davis County Commissioner Randy Elliott. “This new portion of the ... trail will bring connectivity to the community and expand access to the beautiful outdoors of Davis County.”
The current phase of the project will also include the construction of two bridges, one on Mill Creek in Mueller Canyon and another on North Canyon Creek in North Canyon. The county received a $150,000 Utah Outdoor Recreation Grant in 2020 to help fund the current phase.