Monks Hollow vs Lake Fork

November 12, 2007 at 2:11 pm

I've gone riding the last 3 weekends in a row. I have to ask myself why didn't I do this all summer long? These haven't been long rides. We've been back by noon every day. It has been a blast however. Sure I wish I had time every week to camp for a few days on the Arapeen or Paiute trails but I don't. What I do have time for is a few hours of Saturday morning riding at one of the trails close by. I know I couldn't have done it every Saturday, but I could have done it a whole lot more than I did.

mike-lake-grizz We haven't gone anywhere new yet. Just the old standbys Lake Fork and Monks/Long Hollow. Both trails are located just a few miles up Spanish Fork canyon. Monks Hollow and Long Hollow are different entrances to the same trail. Monks Hollow is much more domesticated with a nice parking lot and outhouse. It is located up Diamand Fork canyon about 6 miles or so. Long Hollow is located just off highway 6 as soon as the road goes from 4 lanes to 2. Lake Fork is located just off highway 89 less than a mile off highway 6.

Our first trip was just me and Sam and we went to Monks Hollow. I really hadn't been there for about 10 years and was surprised by how much I liked it. The trail system connects to a bunch of trails up Sheep Creek as well as Benny's mountain. Making the system lots bigger than it used to be. When I rode there 10 years ago there was just the Monks Hollow to Long Hollow trail which is only good for about an hour or two of riding. With the new connections to Sheep Creek and Benny's I'd say you could spend a whole day on this system.

sam-lake-bike We did go to the summit, but instead of going down Long Hollow we turned around and headed up the "Most Difficult" rated trial to the tower and Sheep Creek. It's quite a fun ride although I didn't think it was that difficult. I guess these big 700 4x4's make everything easy. The tower is a good place to enjoy the view and have lunch. However, since we had no lunch we just enjoyed the view. After our non lunch we headed down towards Sheep Creek. That trail was also pretty fun. We rode down to within shouting distance of the Sheep Creek road. I hear you can ride into the cafe off Highway 6, but since we had left our wallets in our trucks we decided turn around and call it a day. I wish I had brought my camera. It's beautiful up there this time of year and there are some really gorgeous views. I really had a blast, and can't wait to go back. Next time we go I think we'll try lunch at the cafe.

Week two Jed, Sam, and I went to Long Hollow. It was freezing cold. Like 19 degrees when we got out of the truck. I had mostly brought warm enough clothes but I forgot warm gloves. Luckily Jed had some leather gloves that I was able to put on over my riding gloves. Still my fingers just about froze solid on the way to the summit. We then headed up to the tower. We had a snack, threw some rocks at beer cans someone had left up there, and then came home. It was a shorter trip, but we still had a lot of fun.

After riding the two trails back to back I'd have to say I prefer the Monks Hollow side to Long Hollow. Long Hollow is chock full of cow crap and loose rocks. Lots and lots of loose rocks. Monks Hollow also has some nice water breaks that make nice jumps. While Long Hollow is closer I'd say its worth the extra 5 minute drive in your truck to go to Monks.

River Crossing This past weekend Sam and I went to Lake Fork. I was able to take the camera this time so we got a few good pictures. It was not as cold as last week, but it still got a bit nippy when you got further up the canyon. This time I brought my snow gloves though, so I was able to stay nice and warm. This ended up being extra beneficial because I ended up riding thru the river several times at high speed and had my gloves not been waterproof I think that would have ended my trip. As you can see from the picture it was a blast.

Lake Fork is quite a bit different from the Hollows. While it has a few branches that go off that are two track only the main road can be done in a car. This leads to more fast riding and a little less enjoying the scenery on the main road. Most of the side roads end up dead ending after a mile or so, but they are still fun to see the end of. One trail we always go on every time we go to Lake Fork is Smiths reservoir.

Smiths Sam The trail to Smiths reservoir used to be a lot rougher. They apparently graded it this summer. So while I didn't find it quite as fun as I have in the past it was still worth the trip. Once we got to the reservoir we had a snack and enjoyed the view. The lake itself is pretty, but I also love looking off the cliff where the reservoir drains. I'd say this is a must stop destination if you go to Lake Fork. Bring a lunch and enjoy it. We were on a bit of a time crunch because my honey-do list was pretty big so after lunch we headed home.

Between Lake Fork and the Hollows I think choosing one or the other really comes down to one thing. Camping. Up Lake Fork you can take your fishing poles, find a nice spot to camp with your truck, and make a nice night out of it. There are plenty of camping spots off the main road with some that can fit a sizable amount of people. I have camped up Monks Hollow, but we only had a few people and we had to haul everything in on 4 wheelers. There are also a lot fewer places to camp. I'd say for camping choose Lake Fork, and for good 2 track riding choose Monks Hollow.

You can see pictures are from our Lake Fork trip here

Posted by Mike |