Fatbiking at Chicken Creek, UT

Fall color at Chicken Creek

Fall color at Chicken Creek

Last week Doc and his old childhood friend Daryn and I, took a short trip up to Chicken Creek, just east of Levan, UT. I had read about this area in an off-roading guidebook to Utah.  It described a 14 mile forest service road between Levan and Wales crossing the San Pitch Mountain Range. With several side canyons, it looked like a nice place to explore. I was also hoping to see some early Fall colors too.

We drove down on Friday afternoon to a rustic campground about 6 miles up the canyon, simply called Chicken Creek Campground (free, with a pit toilet, picnic tables, and fire rings). Daryn is new to fatbiking having recently purchased a beautiful, fairly high-end Fatback on ksl.com.

Fatback and Salsa Mukluk

Fatback and Salsa Mukluk

Nice camp on the grass

Nice camp on the grass

After setting up camp in a nice grassy area, we went for a ride up the forest service road. After a short time it got quite steep, probably 10% or more in places. It was a narrow canyon and the Fall colors were just beginning. After climbing for about 45 minutes we finally topped out in a meadowy area.

Heading up the forest service road.

Heading up the forest service road.

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Topping out.

Topping out.

We continued on and in short time found a double track heading up a small side canyon on the north side. We rode up this canyon for maybe a couple miles. We chased a few cows along the way and finally the trail began petering out.

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Doc

Darren on his new Fatback

Daryn (aka Smiley) on his new Fatback

Heading back down.

Heading back down.

We were also getting hungry so we turned around and headed back to camp. It was a pretty quick ride back as it was all downhill. Darren was all smiles; it was his first off road outing on his new fatbike.

Heading down the road back to camp.

Heading down the road back to camp.

Fall leaves.

Fall leaves.

For dinner Daryn had prepared good old fashioned foil dinners for all of us. They had a combination of elk and lamb meat, and onions, potatoes, carrots, and probably some other veggies. I also brought a big chunk of a nice coarse ground salami and some Asiago cheese with rosemary and olive oil. I carved off chunks which we ate for an appetizer as our foil dinners cooked in the fire.

Dinner cooking.

Dinner cooking.

Elk and Lamb foil dinners.

Elk and Lamb foil dinners.

Fatbike campfire.

Fatbike campfire.

It was a surprisingly warm night, maybe only getting down into the low 50’s. Surprising because we were camped at about 6500′. We had a leisurely morning eating breakfast and packing things up. We decided to drive the truck up over the top to give us more time to explore.

San Pitch Mountains scenery.

San Pitch Mountains scenery.

Cool rock formations.

Cool rock formations.

We first set off down the forest service road out into a beautiful wide open pasture area. We wanted to follow the road out until we could see down into Sanpete Valley on the other side of the range. Along the way we passed a few cowboys on horses. I suppose they were headed up one of the side canyons looking for cows.

Fatbikers and cowboys.

Fatbikers and cowboys.

Pleasant riding through a beautiful valley.

Pleasant riding through a beautiful valley.

At the far end of the pasture area the road began climbing pretty steeply. We rode (or hiked) on and on much further than we anticipated. We finally got to an overlook area where we could see down into Sanpete Valley. It looked like a long way down.

Sanpete Valley far below.

Sanpete Valley far below.

We turned around here and rode back to the pastured valley and took the first side canyon on the north side. It was fairly wide open and climbed steadily for a couple miles before we turned around. We wanted to hit another side canyon, marked as Trail 1275, before we ran out of gas.

Heading down Trail #1276

Heading down Trail #1276

This was a much prettier trail than the previous one (#1276) winding up along a small stream with high rock walls along both sides.

Trail #1275

Trail #1275

This is the same kind of conglomerate rock that you find in Maple Canyon further north. We rode until we were getting pretty tired and the trail began a steep ascent up into an aspen forest.

Heading up Trail #1275

Heading up Trail #1275

Nice day for a ride in the mountains.

Nice day for a ride in the mountains.

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We found a nice shady spot and had some snacks for lunch, left over salami and cheese, and energy bars. After resting up for a bit, we headed back down the canyon, across the pasture area, and back to the truck. No one bothered measuring our distance with Strava or a GPS App; we were just out exploring and having a good time. We rode for about three hours and forty five minutes.

I’m a still photographer but I figured it was time to try shooting some video. It’s not great, and I had no idea how to use iMovie, so keep that in mind. Hopefully my skills shooting and editing will get better with time.

Chicken Creek is a beautiful area that doesn’t get much traffic. The forest service road provided pretty mellow, non-technical riding, though there were some steep climbs. The side canyons were mostly double-track with occasional singletrack sections and regular creek crossings, though this time of year there was hardly any water. We did see a few four wheelers on the forest service road. The Fall colors were not quite in. The maples were red and falling but the aspens were not yet changing color. I’d like to head back there and explore farther up Trail 1275. We had a really good time and it was nice getting reacquainted with Daryn.

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