Reborn from the ashes
The Brian Head fire of 2017 was in many respects a devastating event that left many thousands of acres of high-altitude forest either scorched or completely burned down to ash. Yet change, even if catastrophic in nature, often opens new opportunities; and many species that never stood a chance in a deep dark fir forest suddenly have the sunlight, nutrients and water previously hoarded by the climax forest.
Prior to the fire, the Bunker Creek trails had degraded from fun and popular rides in the early 2000’s, into rutted ditches filled with boulders, overgrown with weeds, and not really the kind of trail that appealed to a very wide range of the mountain biking community. With a gradient just steep enough to really get going, and a boulder filled ditch to restrict your options, the two trails saw more than their share of crashes and accidents.
A cooperative effort between the Dixie National forest, the Dixie Mountain bike association, Brian Head town, and numerous volunteers have rebuilt, re-routed, extended, and modernized Bunker Creek into a trail that any mountain bike community would be proud to call their own.
Beginning at the end of the Sydney valley road at a large cinder parking lot (another new feature of the fire) the trail begins its descent through a remnant of the spruce and fir forest, over a series of bumps that are perfect in offering either the option of staying ground based, or launching skyward, before curving through a series of bermed corners that flow into one another, and shoot out of the forest into the burned area.
Opportunist aspen trees have already covered the ground to chest height just beyond the cleared area of the trail, and will make a fall riding an awesome experience for years to come. The trail snakes and turns through numerous bermed turns, small rock gardens, a couple wet stream crossings, and some fast straight-aways in its descent to the junction with the Bunker Creek road. Previously the other fork of Bunker creek joined in here and riders took the road for 4 miles down to the pavement. This was never anyone’s favorite part of the ride, but there wasn’t an option.
As of September of 2019 an extension of the north (formerly right) fork of Bunker creek, crosses the stream and continues via a new single track for approx. 4 miles to an eventual junction with the Bunker creek road about a mile from highway 143. This is a vast improvement in the value of the riding at Brian head, and once we get some rain and tires on the trail to pack it in this is sure to become one of the most popular shuttle rides in the state.
- Season: Depends on the snowpack/melt and the first snow. Typically June to October
- Quality (1-5) ****
- Wet Weather ride: No
- Kid friendly: yes
- Dogs: yes
- % singletrack: 95%
Note: Since you are shuttling anyway, it is possible to extend the start of this trail from the parking area on Brian head peak and ride the Sydney peaks trail to the overlook parking, adding approx. 4 miles of high elevation riding in alpine meadows above 10,000 feet.