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Ogden section of Bonneville Trail is perfect for exercisers with an attitude

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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 northernmost portion is reviewed.

The northern end of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail upholds Ogden's reputation as a tough town. It's a trail for amateurs with an attitude.

Starting at the eastern end of 22nd Street, it offers two options: a narrow ribbon of track that girdles the mountain at a dizzying elevation or a labyrinth of intersecting rocky paths lower on the foothills, where you can easily lose the main trail and end up handlebars first in a gully.

OK. If you're 20 years old (or wish you were) and a true mountain biker, the lower trail is probably no challenge. Head uphill. Those cyclists who might be wondering what all that tread on their tires is for can find a few thrills and plenty of hills without taking the high road.

Either way, there is no paving in sight. The trail — or trails if you have a tendency to get lost — meanders uphill and down through loose rock piles and mini-boulders, crosses a couple of streams and drops you off above Weber State University. You can go farther, but this appeared to be a good spot to turn around to get a substantial two-hour workout.

I have three words for the trails committee: Signs. Signs. Signs.

There is a lovely parking area at the trailhead at the top of 22nd Street. One path heads left and becomes Indian Trail, which takes bikers and hikers toward Ogden Canyon. The Shoreline Trail portion is the righthand fork and takes you south.

But once you leave the parking area, you're on your own. A few strategically placed signs would help keep cyclists on the right trail and eliminate encounters with a few dead ends and impassable ravines.

Farther south the trail is better marked, and in that area the ride is pleasant. It has enough sun to necessitate a good sunscreen and enough shade to prevent overexposure. You're likely to encounter a good number of hikers and walkers, so caution is a must, especially on hilly or narrow sections.

A hikable fork along the trail will take you to Waterfall Canyon and a high, cascading waterfall. A map on the Shoreline Trail Web site (www.bonneville-trail.org) indicates there are also trailheads at the eastern ends of 27th Street, 29th Street, 36th Street and 46th Street, but I didn't check those out.

This portion of the Shoreline Trail is great for older kids and adults, but small children should be accompanied by adults and shouldn't try to ride their bikes here.

The same trailhead leads to several other trails in the Ogden area. From the 22nd Street parking lot, you can make your way north to Indian Trail, which is for hikers only; bicycles are not allowed. The Indian Trail takes hikers about 5.5 miles through the foothills and then another 2.5 miles back to town through Ogden Canyon.

From the Indian Trail trailhead at the top of 22nd Street, you can connect to the Rainbow Garden Trail and Ogden River Parkway. Follow the Indian Trail signs to the end of Ogden River Parkway behind Rainbow Gardens at the mouth of Ogden Canyon. The Ogden River Parkway heads west at Rainbow Gardens.

The Rainbow Garden Trail is 3.1 miles of single track, mostly packed with a few technical switchbacks. The Ogden River Parkway is a perfect ride or walk for the whole family. It is a paved path through natural vegetation along the Ogden River.

E-MAIL: karras@desnews.com