Utah is one of the most popular places to off road in the US. With so much to offer, it can be hard to decide where to ride. There is desert, rock crawling, and even dunes. Recently we had the opportunity to ride in American Fork canyon which is part of Utah’s Uinta National Forest. AF canyon is located just 7.7 miles off the I-15 exit 284. There is a reasonable entry fee of $6 for 1-3 days, $12 for 7 days, or $45 for an annual pass. These fees ensure that the area and facilities are well maintained.
American Fork Canyon offers lots of off road trails, spots for camping, mines to explore, and more than a few lakes to enjoy. If you don’t plan on pulling up to a camping spot, then you can park at Tibble Fork Reservoir lot just 2.2 miles up American Fork Canyon. It is beautifully paved, perfect for unloading toys, and sits right at the edge of a gorgeous snow melt reservoir lake that welcomes swimmers, paddle boarders, and other nonmotorized watercraft.
If you head east on the dirt and gravel trail at the end of the lot and continue for about 5 miles you will come across Baker Fork Trail that winds its way over Sandy Baker pass and connects to SR 220. From there you can head North to Midway or South to Deer Creek Reservoir in Park City. If you’re rig is street legal then you can cruise around town before heading back.
Alpine Loop is one of the most widely known trails of the canyon. It is 8.5 miles round trip and allows access to everything from dogs and hikers to side by sides and even snowmobiles in the winter. The road goes from American Fork Canyon over the pass to Sundance Ski Resort in Park City, and connects to Provo Canyon.
Forrest Lake Road is a great place to test your suspension and a bit of your rock crawling skills. The lake at the top of the trail offers lots of opportunities to spot wildlife such as deer, moose, salamanders, and tons of butterflies. On our ride, we caught a baby water snake at the edge of the lake where we stopped for a break. We of course let him go after taking a picture.
American Fork Canyon is more crowded on afternoons and weekends, especially in the summer months, however the trails and awesome views are worth the trip. Plus, with an elevation range of 5,000-8,000 feet the pleasant summer weather and good snow in the winter make this a versatile place to ride. If you want to do more than just ride and camp, there is plenty of hiking, fishing, swimming, and mines to explore. We absolutely recommend this destination if you find yourself in Utah.
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