Springtime on the Shoreline

Nik Benko

Spring could not have come at better time in Utah. With ski resorts shuttered for the season, the prospect of waiting out the COVID-19 outbreak with minimal access to outdoor activities that so many Utahn’s thrive on seemed pretty grim. Lucky for us, the valley and benches are mostly clear of snow and the Bonneville Shoreline Trail has emerged from the winter, it is dry and ready to support some much-needed respite from the confines of home isolation. The Shoreline Trail which runs from Bountiful to Draper and beyond is almost uniquely suited for accommodating a multitude of trail users in the present circumstances due to its long length, numerous access points, and an endless supply of side trails which help spread out parking and allow users to choose a path apart from their fellow recreators.

For myself, mountain biking on the Shoreline Trails has emerged as an almost ideal way to get outside during the week while still maintaining a healthy amount of social distancing. Unlike hiking, riding a bike on single track trails practically mandates that you maintain 6 feet of person-to-person distance at all times with people traveling in the same direction. Passing oncoming traffic or overtaking slower riders on a bike also requires a bit more distance compared to walking or running, resulting in no less distance than you might have passing someone in a grocery store aisle.

The main Shoreline Trail is great for beginners as it is almost never very steep, but it also offers access to a wide variety of side trails and riding areas for more experienced riders looking for a little more excitement. My personal favorites are Bobsled, a trail that starts to the north of the University of Utah and winds through a canyon into the upper Avenues, ending just above the cemetery. It begins with a bit of a steep rocky shoot through some trees that can be a little rough depending on recent rains and then continues into its namesake section where the trail carves back and forth along the walls of a narrow canyon — just like a bobsled track. Following the flowy turns, the trail enters a section with optional jumps and drops just off of the main path that allow for a little airtime to break things up.

Speaking of airtime, the bike park at I-street is currently still open. The community-maintained park offers jump trails for intermediate, advanced, and extremely skilled riders looking to spend some more time in the unusually clean spring air. No matter their skill level, riders should keep in mind that now is not a good time for a visit to the emergency room as it puts them at a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 and adds an extra burden to the healthcare system. While mountain biking is a great way to get out of the house for some exercise, it is inherently risky, those that choose to partake should do so wisely and not push their own personal limits at this time.