- Spanish Fork Canyon
- 16 mile roundtrip
- Trailhead Elevation:
- 1900 feet
- Elevation Change:
- 1900 feet
DescriptionThe Three Forks Loop is a strong-intermediate to advanced trail in Diamond Fork (near Spanish Fork Canyon). The trail climbs Cottonwood Canyon as a single-track, traverses over a couple of canyons on Ray's Valley Road, then drops down Lower Fifth Water to Sixth Water and back to the Three Forks parking area. This is a surprisingly pretty trail, with twists and turns, quick up and downs, creek crossings, rock-dodging and root hopping. Length is 16 miles, with 1900 vertical feet of elevation change.
The single-track trail up Cottonwood Creek passes through box elder, oak, cedar, and maple. This canyon "feels" very different from other northern Utah trails.
The trail has some quick technical uphills, a few tricky creek crossings, and a lot of twisting trail. Nothing too tough, though.
At 4.7 miles, the trail comes onto a dirt road. Hop onto the dirt road and grind 1.2 miles up to the paved Ray''s Valley Road. Turn left and bike 5 miles to the Fifth Water Trail. (Look for a prominent double-track crossing the road on the far side of a creek, note the sign that says "Fifth Water," and turn left downhill.)
At the end of the Cottonwood Creek single-track, the trail appears to turn left uphill. This trail gets steadily worse, and meanders hopelessly into a thousand cow trails. Stick to the gravel road.
The first mile of Fifth Water is double-track. The next two miles of single-track have some tricky sections, then the trail widens and runs quickly down to Sixth Water (a larger creek), then to the Three Forks trailhead. You''ll come out of the woods next to the bridge you crossed to reach Cottonwood Creek. The Falls are about 2.5 miles up the Fifth Water Trail. This is a popular attraction, but if it''s not too crowded, you might want to stop and play a while.