Friday, September 25, 2015

Mill Canyon/Tibble Fork Loop

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Trailhead Elevation: 6420 ft
Trail Open To:   Hike, Horse, Mountain Bike, and Motorcycle
Elevation Gain: 900
Trailhead Outhouse: Yes
Distance:3.8 miles
Time: 2 hours
Driving Directions: Take exit 284 in Utah County. Travel east on the Timpanogos Highway (SR 92) to American Fork Canyon USFS fee station. From the Fee Station, travel 4.6 miles to North Fork Rd (SR-144), turn left and continue another 2.4 miles to the Tibble Fork Reservoir restrooms continue straight on the dirt road (FS 85) for .4 miles. Park at the Little Mill Trailhead.

Entrance: Cross the bridge and follow the trail to the trail marker (40) The right fork takes you to Mill Canyon (This is the one you want) The Left fork takes you around the reservoir to the Tibble Fork traihead (41) This route will be your exit
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Middle: 1 mile into the hike you will reach the trail marker for Mill Canyon and Holman Cabin Flats. If you continue straight you can hike to the summit of Mill Canyon Peak, elevation 10,349. Your trail is to the left and unmarked, This is the Mud Springs Connector Trail. Follow this trail for ½ to the Trail Marker for Tibble Fork and Mud Springs.

Exit: At the Mud Springs/ Tibble Fork trail marker, turn right and begin your descent 2 miles to the Tibble Fork Reservoir Dam. near the end of the trail you will see cabins to your left. as you begin down the switchbacks look to your right for a faint trail leading into the pines towards the reservoir. Hike the reservoir bank back to the bridge.
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Alternate Exit: Follow the trail to the Tibble Fork Reservoir dam. Walk across the dam, turn right and follow the road .7 miles around the reservoir back to your car,

The Business:
         There are trailheads for this loop hike. Both trails access other loop hikes in the area such as Pine Hollow, Mud Springs and Holman Cabin Flats. These are popular mountain bike trails and are also used by motorcyclists. Summers can be quite crowded with these type of users, but in the spring most of these trails are only accessible to hikers due to muddy sections of trail. The autumn is also a great time, I have only seen hikers on the trail in Autumn (but I don’t hike on weekends) this does not mean that bikes are not on the trail so keep your eyes and ears open.  I have been told that bikers are wearing bells on their helmets so you can hear them coming….clever!

           The most rewarding part of this hike for me is that it begins at Tibble Fork Reservoir. Tibble Fork is
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Tibble Fork Reservoir
beautiful and I am not the only one who thinks so, therefore in the Summer the crowds can be ridiculous. Other times of the year the crowds die down and it’s a great place to paddle or fish. This is by far one of the most scenic trailheads in Northern Utah.

           Both Trailheads have a moderately steep climb. I prefer hiking from the east side of the reservoir (Mill Canyon Trailhead) as the slope is more gradual, about 300’ in a half mile. If you choose to snowshoe this trail in the Winter I highly suggest using the Little Mill trailhead.

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