Skill Level: Intermediate to Difficult
Ride Type: 18.8-mile out and back; 3,130 vertical foot elevation gain
Looking across valley at Lewis Peak from Powder Mountain Ski Resort
Lewis Peak is possibly the signature ride of the Ogden region, offering views of the Ogden Valley, the Salt Lake Valley, Ben Lomond Mountain and Mount Ogden in a consistently pitched, 3,000-plus-vertical foot climb. As reviewed here, the ride is an almost 20-mile out-and-back, but can also be ridden as a spur (two miles each way) off the 10-mile, point-to-point Skyline trail.
The ride starts at Windsurfer Beach, just northeast of the Pineview Dam. The parking lot has bathrooms and there’s a topo map of the trail posted on a Forest Service kiosk. Consider bringing an extra pair of shorts or swim suit; a swim in the lake is a great way to cap the ride on Utah’s hot summer days.
The bottom switchbacks on the Lewis Peak climb get a lot of sun and can be loose and dusty
From here, get in climbing mode, because that’s what you’ll be doing for the next seven miles or so. It’s a steady pitch, though, and rideable the whole way. Get in a low gear and enjoy the views of Pineview Reservoir and the Ogden Valley. At about mile five, the trail will fork. The sign is gone, but the post is still there. The right will take you on the Skyline trail to North Ogden Divide. Stay left. The climb will follow the hillside for another mile or so and about 500 vertical feet, and end at another sign and a fork. The right again goes to North Odgen Divide; the left goes to Lewis Peak.
The first crossroads. Right goes to the Skyline Trail. Left leads to Lewis Peak.
The next two miles are rolling single track with two descents and two climbs, including the final push to the summit at 8,031 feet. After the first downhill and climb, there is one more fork before the summit, and again the sign has been knocked down (but was still mostly intact and onthe ground when I rode it in 2012). The right goes to Lewis; the left is a dead end spur. Enjoy the views of Ogden, the Great Salt Lake, and the surrounding peaks, then turn around and enjoy the fruits of you labor, back down to the reservoir at 4,900 feet.
The summit of Lewis Peak, looking down on the city of Ogden
The upsides to the Lewis Peak ride are that much of it is in the trees for alpine-style single track, stellar views, and great wildlife viewing, especially for bird-watchers. It’s not uncommon to be looking down on red tail hawks as they hunt on the hillside. You also may see waterfowl from the Great Salt Lake or Pineview circling above.
A flock of white pelicans from the Great Salt Lake circle around Lewis Peak
The downside is that much of it is through low scrub oak and exposed to constant sunlight. In these spots, the trail can be dusty and covered with loose rock. The route also gets a fair amount of dirt bike traffic, which contributes to the looseness. Don’t be discouraged, though; during the week, the dirt bikers may be the only people you see.
For post-ride eats, hit up Chris’s near the Snowbasin road, or the Shooting Star, Utah’s oldest bar. Skyline Cycles posts occasional trail conditions reports on their website, and is the best place in Odgen for repairs.
More photos after this video:
The County Survey marker on Lewis Peak’s summit.
The second crossroads, looking down on North Ogden with Ben Lomond peak obscured by clouds
Looking down on Pineview Reservoir and the town of Huntsville during the descent.