OverviewThe summit of View Benchmark is a central highpoint above Utah County to the north, and Salt Lake County to the south. It is the highest point in the Traverse Mountain range at 6,682 feet. While this little summit doesn't boast the altitude of it's surrounding Wasatch juggernauts, it does provide some of the most compelling views of the Wasatch Front and provides an excellent conditioner run in a couple hours for the bigger rides on the agenda.
It has been an excellent conditioner summit during all four seasons. Snowshoeing in the winter, quick hikes in Spring and Fall, and is an excellent mountain bike summit objective during late spring, summer, and early fall.
An orange triangulation structure and concrete pad mark the summit area, put in place some time back by the USGS. (United States Geological Survey) There is an actual benchmark summit marker in place up there, though it has been placed under a protective metal cap bolted down into the concrete.
View Benchmark likely earned it's name from, well, the "View's" provided from the summit. During a clear day one can see nearly 50 miles north all the way to the summit of Ben Lomond Peak, towering over the city of Ogden, and south all the way to Mt. Nebo, the highest summit in the Wasatch Range at 11,928 feet. To the west the Bingham Canyon mine takes up much of the east side of the Oquirrh Range. To the east is the incredibly impressive summit of Lone Peak's granite spires, topping out at 11,253 feet. Yes, the views are incredible.
Video Content!This section is dedicated to video footage for this run! In these videos you'll see a couple of the tech sections, and three different downhill portions. The downhill incorporates most all of the ride down from the summit with the exception of the paved portion through Suncrest. In the videos are captions at times showing key pieces of information about the route.
For those unfamiliar with you-tube: Also note that in all these videos you can upscale up to 1080p or whatever resolution you'd like, by clicking on the "480p" icon in the lower right of the frame. You see this number after the video starts playing.(They look a lot better in 1080p or 720p)
This first video shows some of the first tech you'll encounter on the ride up. This section is between upper Corner Canyon road, and the Haddington trail head area, and is labeled "The Rock Garden."
This next video show the last climb to the summit of View. Don't let the video fool you, this is the hardest part of the climb up. In the video from start to finish about 250 vertical feet will have been climbed on loose gravelly conditions. Out of 40 rides up there in the 2011 season, I've only been able to clean this portion 12 times. When this video was show marks #12.
This video show the descent off the summit, showing the angle of the upper run better all the way down to the gate at the end of Deer Ridge road. It may also give an idea of the route better.
This portion is after the paved section through Suncrest, starting at the Haddington trail head, descending the cutoff to upper Corner Canyon road to the Jacob's Ladder trailhead.
And finally last but not least, the portion from Jacob's Ladder trail head on Corner Canyon road to the starting point of the run at the Orson Smith trail head. There is an interesting portion at about 3:50 to 4:10 on an erosion ramp, and a very short video tour of the Orson Smith area below at the end.
Trail DescriptionThere are several way to access this peak, though this description will be mainly dedicated to starting from the valley floor, in Draper, Utah.
You will get to use every gear on your crank and cassette for this ride!
Riding distance one way: 6.5 miles.
Elevation gain: 2,000 feet.
Tech levels: 1-5.
Aerobic difficulty: Moderate to Anerobic.
The main access trail head for this route description starts at the Orson Smith Trail head, off Highland Drive in Draper. The starting altitude here is approximately 4,850 feet. Corner Canyon Road starts just directly south of the Orson Trail head area. Orson has all the amenities needed, running water, restrooms, covered picnic tables and even a climbing boulder for the little ones.
Begin biking up the Corner Canyon Road for 3 miles to the Jacob's Ladder Trail head. This portion of road is improved dirt, though it is prone to water erosion and very well used vehicular traffic. The tread here has a sandy gravelly base and isn't difficult. Grade averages about 6-8 degrees.
Once reaching the Jacobs Ladder trail head, you will have access to a restroom, a kiosk showing maps and information of the Corner Canyon area. This trail head also marks the top of Ghost Falls.
Continue on the Corner Canyon Road east past the trail head, and it will soon reach the head of Corner Canyon, turning south west. Continue up the road to a gate and another staging area for about .5 miles. This area marks the top of Clarks Trail, and also the upper cutoff to access the top of the Jacob's Ladder downhill route.
Continue past the gate, as there is an opening allowing bikes, hikers and equestrian access. Follow the road for about .25 miles, keeping an eye out for single track cutting off south west on your right. If you miss this single track, the double track it heads to is just about 75 yards further up the road. If you pass these and start heading down hill, you've gone too far. Following the single track will connect you with an old, eroded double track which begins climbing and heading west. This portion of the ride can be really bad when wet, as most of the soil composition is clay. (I rode this just after a large rain storm and had muddy "snowball effect" on my tires so badly that the wheels stopped turning) This double track climbs the high point of the ridge separating Hog Hollow to the south and Corner Canyon to the north. After just under a half mile on this, the road turns south west, where you will be greeted to a nice, though solid rock garden. Find you best line of ascent on this an hammer down. It climbs about 50 vertical feet in 100 yards. Once at the top, the double track smooths out, and twists and turns in a general south west heading. Once reaching the top, you will arrive at Haddington Court, another un-official trailhead in the area. Also you will begin the paved section of the ride here.
Once reaching Haddington, drop down briefly past the condos to the Traverse Ridge road and fork right, west. Very shortly you will be at a 4 way intersection. Continue west through the intersection. Enjoy the brief downhill, then prepare to crank it down for another paved climb of about 250 vertical feet up Deer Ridge Road. After just under half a mile you'll top out, and the road bends and follows the ridge west. Head downhill on Deer Ridge, then the road starts gaining again briefly turning south west. You will be greeted to a "chain" gate. This marks the end of the paved run through Suncrest.
Lift your bike over the chain, walk it over a bunch of large rocks for about 30 feet, then start cranking uphill. This portion of the route is on gravelly tread, some larger fist sized rock. For the most part it is easily climbed. Follow the road as it makes it's way to the lower ridge area, where it turns west. Coast along on a level surface for a bit, then continue slightly down hill as the road curves to the south. At the lowest portion here use caution as you'll encounter gravelly sandbars after a brisk descent. These don't last long however, and soon you'll be gearing back down for a nice steep climb as the road continues uphill, slowly bending south east. Climb! This section lasts about a third of a mile, and several washouts add some nice tech to your climbing effort. Once the road levels out up higher you will be traveling due east. Continue east a short distance. Keep you eyes peeled for a really rough jeep trail heading directly south up here as the road begins turning north. You'll need to gear down quickly and hit this jeep trail, forking south, right. Keep it geared low and start the tech! Shortly there is a nasty, steep rut laden track section for about 100 vertical feet to the ridge above. Do your best to keep your tires centered on the middle rib, if you drop into the ruts on either side you'll have a hike a bike on your hands. Once reaching the top, enjoy a brief level section on the ridge traveling south east. This next portion is the hardest part of this ride. The road twists and turns on the ridge at an average angle of about 12-15 degrees on extremely loose gravelly sand. Good bike handling skills on this section are a must if you want to clean it! Crank your way up, the road generally heads east though several short turns abide. Once you reach the uppermost portion of this, a level section, about 100 yards long, will help you climb another 100 vertical feet to the summit on loose washed out gravel and sand. Once reaching the summit, the triangulation structure makes for a great place to lean on while getting your heart rate back down.
** There are other route options available for this area, they will be posted progressively here forward. **
Click on the pic just below this for a 360 degree video from the summit area. Video taken October 2, 2011 after another ride up from the Orson Smith Trail Head.