Sardine Peak, as seen from the Needles Trail on Snowbasin Resort.
Skill Level: Intermediate
Ride Type: 7.5 miles (8.7 with Overlook Spur) loop. About 1,000 feet elevation gain.
With views of Ogden and the Great Salt Lake, Odgen Canyon, Pineview Reservoir, and Snowbasin, the Sardine Peak Loop, built in 2010, is quickly becoming a favorite of the Ogden Region mountain biking community. With a gentle 2.5 mile climb gaining almost 1,000 vertical feet, and a buff, ripping singletrack descent, Sardine Peak isn’t going to score you gnar points with your friends. It’s not a gut buster to get up, and there are no ramps or technical drops on the down. Straight up, this trail is just a fun, alpine forest, singletrack riding experience.
Park at Snowbasin’s Nordic skiing lot, and hop on a jeep road in the Northeast corner. You’ll pass a trail signed Wheeler Creek (some maps call it Maples) on your right. This is where you’ll come out. Bear left, and follow the singletrack past the Forest Service gate. It will be signed Ogden Canyon Overlook to Sardine Peak trail.
Check it out on Skidmap
The first half of the climb, ascending about 650 feet in just under a mile and a half, is one of the most pleasant (and yes, that word applies here) singletrack climbs I’ve ever ridden. It’s an even, fairly mellow grade that switches back a couple of times. At the top you’ll hit a fork, with the left signed for Ogden Canyon Overlook and the Sardine Peak Trail starting to the right.
The view to the south from the Ogden Canyon Overlook and Sardine Peak trail junction.
The out-and-back Overlook trail is worth the half-mile, 350 vertical foot climb for views into Coldwater Canyon and down into the city of Ogden.
The next push is a little steeper and looser, but still in the moderate range, and ascends about 400 feet in a mile, taking you around the north side of Sardine Peak for views of Pineview Reservoir and Huntsville, and the start of an 1100-vertical-foot, three-mile buff, fast descent back down to the Wheeler Creek trail. Take a right, and climb for a half mile back to the jeep road, and another half-mile back to the trailhead.
Looking out at Pineview from the top of the Sardine Peak Trail.
Starting at the Wheeler Creek trailhead (across from the Pineview dam) will add 10 miles to the route. Climb the Wheeler Creek trail to the Art Nord parking lot, and then follow it to the right. You’ll pass the bottom of the Sardine Peak trail on your right after about two miles. Or you could park at Art Nord and make a loop using the East Fork Trail to Green Pond (in the Snowbasin Resort system) to Needles to Maples, which also adds about 10 miles to the Sardine loop.
Don’t leave the area without visiting the oldest bar in Utah, the Shooting Star in Huntsville. This former trading post turned into a saloon in 1879, and has been slinging beers and burgers ever since. Snowbasin often hosts live music on Sundays. For your bike needs, hit up Skyline in Odgen.
A rider descends near the bottom of the the Sardine Peak Trail