OverviewOkay, I admit it - I just came up with the name "Baldy Bench Trail." Officially, it's just Trail 051 and the Forest Service trail map (SW Timp Trails) doesn't even show the whole thing (it only shows from Dry Canyon north to Battle Creek, and not south of Dry Canyon).
It's a gorgeous area with fantastic valley views, and plenty of wildlife. I've counted 200+ deer and 50+ elk, including three big bulls, in a single day after a snow storm.
The most common approach is to begin at the water tower (take Cascade Road east and UP from 800 East just before it reaches 1600 North in Orem).
- Park below the OPD shooting range and head up the dirt road.
- Follow the road till you reach the high point as the dirt road turns northeast into Provo Canyon.
- Continue until the dirt road turns east, then take the first trail that climbs to the north (your right). This is the easiest approach.
- Continue along this trail and just keep climbing in a northeast direction till you reach a large pile of rocks, then turn north (left).
- From this point forward, head in a generally northwest direction.
- The trail eventually descends into Dry Canyon and continues north (don't drop down) around the Dry Canyon bowl and along the bench top to Battle Creek Canyon (Pleasant Grove 200 South).
- Keep going straight as you drop down the last little dip before Battle Creek to get a nice view from an 80' cliff, or turn east (right) into the brush at the base of this big dip to follow a nice trail to the Battle Creek trail. DO NOT TAKE SHORTCUTS because they're full of cliffs and loose rock.
Battle Creek would also be a nice place to start though there are some push spots on that approach as well. The north end of the trail is marked better.
There are plenty of spots to take a wrong turn along the Dry Canyon South part of this trail. Even the two of the four trail markers at trail intersections are completely ambiguous as to which trail they refer to. It's easier to stay on the trail when traveling north. In most cases, stick to the predominant trail. Just remember: if you hit something really, really steep - that's the wrong way. Not necessarily a bad way, but not the lovely 051 you read about!
Now while this is fresh in my mind, here are directions that might get you from Dry Canyon South without losing the trail.
- Park at the Dry Canyon parking lot (Orem 2000 North to the top, the Dry Canyon Drive, which turns to dirt).
- Push and peddle your bike up through the impressive cliffs (try the trail that stays low rather than going up the wood "steps" and then switches back for possibly better riding, though it's only 150').
- Continue up through the meadow area, ignoring the trails and roads that go north (left).
- Take the right turn that crosses the gully bottom and starts up and south (right).
- Do your best to ride for a quarter mile till you top out. A few sorta steeps and places to catch your pedal.
- Now you reach the meadows and hollows. Keep left in most cases, especially avoiding steep downhills. These are more worn that the alternatives.
- Go ahead and take a smaller trail to the left after loosing some elevation which is just a shortcut around a steeper, looser portion.
- On a curve with a pile of rocks, go the opposite way that I did and leave the main-looking trail. Turn right, that is. Or go my way and cut back down some night, tight ravines. If you don't turn down, though, you'll be heading up the Great Western which crosses over Little Baldy and Baldy to Sagebrush Flats.
- When you reach another fork with a big cairn (rock pile) and a trail sign reading 33 (I think - Great Western), either continue straight for a steeper, looser descent into Provo Canyon, or go right down the Great Western.
- Stay mostly left when given the option in order to avoid the "stone forest", a really rocky section cut through the scrub oak.
- After your trail joins up again with one on the left, stay right for the best ride, which takes you over the big ridge ahead and left, or take the second right for the easiest way down to the dirt road leading to the water tower, or just ignore my advice and take the old trail, the steep, loose one by not taking these turns.
How about if someone carries their GPS along this and uploads the image overlaid on a topo?
When to Bike
Other than that, if the snow's gone, the trail is yours.