Editor's note: In concept, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail is a 90-mile-long trail that, when complete, will take cyclists, hikers and walkers along the Wasatch Front from Spanish Fork to Ogden. In reality, only parts of the trail are usable, but work is continuing and more is added each year. During this summer, Deseret News staffers will travel all new passable sections of the trail and report on conditions and highlights of each in a Shoreline Trail series. This week the Layton portion is reviewed.
A recently developed portion of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in Davis County offers some areas of challenging cycling, lots of easy walking or jogging and some great views of the valley and the Great Salt Lake.
The north end of the trail is easily accessed above East Layton at Fernwood Park, a small county picnic area. It meanders south from there to the Davis County animal shelter in Fruit Heights, a distance of about four miles one way. Turn east off U.S. 89 at 1400 North, East Layton, drive north along Valley View Drive to Fernwood Park Drive and follow that east.
This trail is best ridden or run early in the morning or in the late evening, since much of it is exposed to the hot summer sun most of the day. I arrived at about 7:30 p.m. for a run on July 1 and was glad I hadn't tried to start any earlier. Frequent users say the trail is very pleasant before 8 a.m. in the hottest months.
From Fernwood Park, the trail takes you over a bridge, then crosses another creek without benefit of bridge, so bikers have to do some lifting here through the rocky creek bed. The trail includes a few steep hills where I would have to take my bike for a walk, but I passed several cyclists having no trouble at all.
It is a very narrow track in places and has some very loose gravel and deep dust in spots, but generally the trail is in good shape and easily navigable.
Probably the highlight of this section of the Bonneville Shoreline system are spectacular views of the valley, Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake. An evening trek should include time for watching the setting sun color the western horizon and the lake in scarlet and gold.
The immediate views are less appealing where the trail skirts the edge of a gravel pit or foothills being cleared for a new subdivision.
About halfway, the trail meets another old, established trail heading east into Adams Canyon. Follow that trail for about 10 minutes east, then take the southbound path across the canyon. From Adams Canyon south, the trail is well-marked to its end in Fruit Heights. Those who want to start at the south end of the trail will find a kiosk, ample parking and a sign reading Kaysville Wilderness Park.
As I was jogging back to my car last week, a cyclist riding the other direction stopped to warn me he had hit a rattlesnake on the trail ahead. I never saw the rattler, but Jeff Oyler, Davis County economic development manager, said there are snakes in the area, although he's never heard of anyone being bitten.
He advised staying on the track, since a snake would be easy to spot if it were on the trail, and it wouldn't be likely to be aggressive enough to leave the brush to bite someone.
Oyler, who is helping with development of the shoreline trail in that part of the Wasatch Front, says the county plans to eventually develop 25 miles of trail, hooking into the shoreline trails in Weber and Salt Lake counties.
He said plans are to extend the Davis portion to Ensign Peak and join the Salt Lake trail at that point. The challenge on the north end is crossing I-84 at Weber Canyon. An undeveloped trail "just beaten out of the mountain" exists across the county, but it will be rebuilt to make it safer and user-friendly.
"There is tremendous support for the trail," Oyler said. "Many people jog, ride bikes and walk on the new portion. We're designing it to be used by everyone — all abilities and ages. Those who want a more strenuous hike can take off up the canyons."