Ever since I moved to Farmington, UT, about a year ago, I have eying the “Farmington Spine” on maps and as I drive around every day. It is a ridge that runs from the mouth of Farmington Canyon, southeast, and all the way up to the road that connects with Bountiful Peak. I love running ridges, and this one looks like it would be easy to follow to the top. The trail maps show it, and people said it is fairly easy to follow going up, though a bit overgrown at the top. This is a chronic problem for all of our Farmington Trails. From the valley floor, most are pretty clear for miles 0-3 on the way up. Then, mile 3-4 is generally overgrown with scrub oak and the like, and difficult to follow at times. Then, the last mile – 4-5, is often above the tree line and much easier to bushwhack.
In any case, I decided to tackle it today, hitting the trail around 6AM. Besides wanting to hike it myself, the Farmington 50 Challenge that I put together sends runners DOWN the Spine. Fellow runners said that there are popcan markers nailed to trees that make going UP the trail pretty easy to follow. However, you can’t see those on your way down. So, I got a roll of pink ribbon and planned to flag the upper portions so it would be clear and easy to follow on the way down as well.
The trail is a climb! Wow. Unfortunately, the ridge wasn’t as spectacular as I had hoped. For much of it, you are either in a deep rut (5-20 ft. wide, 10 feet deep) flanked with trees, or up in the forest itself – so you don’t really get consistent views that some ridge-lines offer.
Towards the top, the trail was easy to follow – but overgrown. My legs got fairly scratched up. At about mile 4, you break out of the trees. To the right there is a small valley thick with trees – and other the other side, the western most flanking ridge that I wanted to follow up to the top. I flagged the path of least resistance up the open meadow until the trees to the right faded out and you can traverse over to and up to the top of the ridge easily. That ridge climbed and then dropped down to an old jeep trail that had a wrecked and shot out old 70s car at its terminus.
From there, I just followed it to the intersection with the road that goes SE around the Steed Creek basin and up to Bountiful Peak. It was getting hot at this point, but the views were worth it. I turned west, and followed the road to an overlook (the point above the Steed Creek cliffs).
I considered going down to the cliffs, and then following the Steed Creek trail to the BST and back to my car. I decided, however, that it would be best to run back down the Spine to make sure that my flagging was sufficient. It is a good thing I did, because at various points I need to add or move flags to aid trail identification on the descent. My left IT band, as usual, was hurting by the end. It was great though.