Sanpete building new trail in Palisade State Park and up Ephraim Canyon
By Dyna Folkersen
STERLING— Hikers and bikers in Sanpete County will soon have new trails to explore in both Palisade State Park and Ephraim Canyon.
The Palisade State Park will expand its settings with a .82 mile bike-and-hike trail. And a whopping 10.5 miles of bike-and-hike trails will be renovated or created up Ephraim Canyon.
“I think we have lots of opportunity to bring more visitors to the area by having more bike trails,” said Kevin Christensen, Sanpete County economic development director.
“We already have a lot of ATV trails and I think this will bring a whole different crowd,” Christensen said.
Palisade State Park will increase their recreation site by putting in a .82 mile bike-and-hike trail on the southwest side of the lake.
“We will improve the existing trail on the west side of the lake, extend it and create a loop to the southwest,” Christensen said.
The three-foot-wide trail will run on the west side of the lake and make a lollypop loop around the old dance hall.
“The plan is to revamp the trail that goes around the west side of the lake and make it a little safer and easier to those who come and visit the park,” said Andy Adamson of the Manti Trail Builders (MTB) and partner organization The Manti Mountain Bike Team, which is a nonprofit that started last year.
“We organized to build and maintain trails. Palisade will be our first project combined with the state park and the county,” Adamson said.
The State Park will use its trail cat to make “in-kind” improvements and MTB will finesse the trail with fine grading. Construction will begin this spring.
The Park is awaiting a cultural survey to be completed so they can begin.
“As soon as that’s done the trail crew can start working on it,” Christensen said.
Funding for the $20,000 trail comes from the Sanpete Travel Council and the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area.
The Forest Service has also approved plans for 10.5 miles of bike trail up Ephraim Canyon for both biking and hiking.
“There are currently two or three user created bike trails in the canyon,” Christensen said.
However the trails were not known to the Forest Service or considered on any Forest Service maps.
“I guess you could consider them illegal trails,” Christensen said.
But with many mountain bikers and locals familiar with the trails, Sanpete County wanted to make both the Maple Syrup and Pioneer trails formal and give them the renovation they needed.
“We wanted to make them legal trails and add some more trails,” Christensen said.
There will be a total of eight trails built.
“The familiar Maple Syrup and Pioneer trails, being the existing user-made routes, will be renovated, improved and possible rerouted,” he said.
The Forest Service will use heavy equipment—like their trail cat—to grade and construct both the existing trails and the new trails. Construction will begin around June or July.
The MTB will then come in and complete the fine grading with shovels and rakes.
Funding for these trails will come from the Sanpete travel Council, Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area and Ephraim City has applied for a Utah Outdoor Recreation Grant.
“Depending on how much money we get will depend on if we get it done this year or have to wait until next year,” Christensen said.
“Ten miles is a lot of trail.”
With Palisade State Park being their first formal trail the MTB has also created three trails at Gunnison Reservoir: the Fruitloop Trail, Milk-and-Cookies and Prolific.
The Fruitloop trail runs for approximately 1.5 miles and is two feet wide.
“We’re going to have a busy summer,” Adamson said.
The MTB was created because when Andy and Natalie Adamson volunteered as coaches to the Manti Mountain Bike Team they noticed that they were lacking places to ride with the kids.
“We decided to do something about it; so this is our attempt,” Adamson said.
The team had 62 kids on the team last year and a little over 70 this year. For information on the MTB go to mantimtb.com (you must be in 7-12 grade).
The Birch Creek Trailhead up 12-mile canyon, in Mayfield, will also be getting a makeover. The Forest Service will expand the parking lot beginning this spring.
“With increased use there, and a lot of people using side-by-sides, it’s not big enough,” said Bill Broadbear, Forest Service Recreation Director.
“We are going to double, more like triple the parking that there is now,” Broadbear said.
The whole project will cost an estimated $35,000 with $2,200 going towards equipment rental and $15-16,000 to purchase the gravel.
The renovation will consist of both the north and the south side of the canyon road.
“There will be much more room for people to pull in with their trailers,” Broadbear said.
The Forest Service will also be relocating three restrooms. Two up 12-mile canyon: one at Spring Hill and one at the Birch Creek Trailhead.