Saturday, March 4, 2017

Jump-off Canyon


Jump-off Canyon is a beautiful, steep canyon located in Ogden. It starts out pretty mellow and then quickly changes to a steep scramble along a boulder strewn dry creek bed. It slowly climbs the Bonneville Bench in a nice desert climate and then switches to some scrub oak and pines all culminating into a deep canyon surrounded by high cliff walls. There is a seasonal waterfall as well. I was hoping since it had been so warm the past couple days we might get to see that, but not today. It was still a great adventure though. I can’t really find why it is called Jump-off Canyon. My best guess is probably something similar to Suicide Rock, that there might be an old story of someone jumping off the high cliffs. I don’t know though, it could just be due to popularity with bikes.

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Quick Details:

Length: 2.94 mile loop
Difficulty: DR3 if you just do the loop. DR5 if you decide to climb the canyon.
Elevation Gain: 1046 ft
Restroom: No. The closest one we found was a little ways south down Harrison Blvd.
Dogs? Yes, however Ogden has a leash law.
Other Info: This is probably not a good summer trail due to not having much shelter from the sun.

To get here: Take i15 towards Ogden. take exit 344 for 12th St. and head east. Turn left on Harrison Blvd. Almost 2 miles later, keep your eyes open for the very small, unmarked parking lot on the right at about 425 N Harrison Blvd.

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The mountains above the trail head. I was a little concerned this one might be a little too much in terms of steepness, but it actually wasn’t too bad.

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One of the handy Ogden trail markers. This trail network is a little confusing, but they have adequate signage so I never felt lost for very long. Ogden might be giving Farmington a run for it’s money on it’s trail network!

I actually just noticed that middle sign there, it is actually talking about the Ogden Trail Network Signage! Wow! Basically the Ogden trail network, the city, RAMP and other donors help fund it. Between 2013 and 2014 volunteers helped to install them all. This is fantastic. I also enjoy that they are keep a general theme so you know it’s legit. The only thing I would like to see them add is mileage.

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The trail starts out between some houses.

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And then slowly starts climbing the Bonneville Bench.

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Very quickly offering a great view of the valley below.

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At the top of the first hill you will come to the first trail split. You will want to stay left here.

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And then you get to enjoy some level trail for a little bit, as well as a nice view of Ben Lomond.

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First view into Jump-off Canyon.

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The next trail split for the alternate north trail. Not sure where that goes, but we stayed on the north trail.

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Surprisingly I didn’t get a picture of the 3rd trail split on the way up but here it is on the way down. The other side shows the alternate trail info. Anyway, this significant split is about .27 miles up and just beyond the North Alternate split. I don’t know which is easier. I only started paying attention to mileage on the way down, but by my calculations it is about .6 miles via the north loop and about .3 miles via the south to get to the actual canyon spur trail. So, if up the canyon is your destination you can probably save a little time skipping the north loop. Anyway, we took the North loop up today.

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Continuing along the north loop. A little thin through here but not bad.

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Jump-off canyon. No matter which loop you take, it is going to take you beyond the canyon, and then switchback towards the canyon again.

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A little bridge. This was the first sign we probably weren’t going to be seeing the waterfall today.

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Better view into the canyon.

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Lovely view of Ben Lomond.

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Unmarked trail split. They both get you where you need to go. i think the lower one is the main trail and would probably be a little less confusing, but the upper one (which is what we took) does get you there as well.

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Passing under the power lines. You can hear the buzz of electricity.

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The mountains above.

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The trail we took brought us to this canal road. We were a little confused as to where to go for a minute but I noticed the trail below keep heading north, so we went that way.

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No Swimming… uh… I don’t think I would even consider it. Even if it did have water.

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More of the mountains above.

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Some interesting looking caves.

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View of the valley below.

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And we hit another trail marker. okay great I know we are still going the right way. We have also hit the elbow of our big switchback and will swing from traveling north, to south.

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The caves almost make a face.

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The trail is even more thin through this section.

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Some of these trails that climb the Bonneville Benches with almost no trees can freak me out sometimes, but this trail was just fine. the slope is not too steep.

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The caves again.

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Panoramic of the view below.

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Oi, another trail split. Again we pondered which way we should go. I ultimately decided the direction to Jump-off Canyon also says Alternate Loop, so we continued along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail to the right. Reviewing google maps, I wouldn’t bother with the alternate loop at all. Looks like extra mileage to end up at the same location.

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Looking up towards the canyon again.

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The mountains again.

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Nearing where the stream would come down. We found this odd boulder sitting on another one.

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And a weird hole.

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And after about .92 miles we made it to the Jump-off Canyon Spur! If you want to keep things easy, skip this and enjoy the 2 mile loop back to the trailhead. This spur is a little bit more difficult.

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The trail is a little bit more thin.

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Looking into the canyon.

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Looking down at the valley below. You can see Antelope Island to the left there.

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View of the cliffs.

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Starting to enter the canyon proper and getting surrounded by rock.

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Rock climbers above.

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Sheer cliffs above.

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The mountain again.

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Eventually the trail just kind of becomes the creek bed.

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More cliffs. And a little ice falls.

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A hawk hunting along the cliffs.

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Closer view of the ice falls.

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Looking into the canyon again.

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And the ‘trail’. Lots of rocks and boulders to get around. Keep a good eye on your path.

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The cliff walls are amazing!

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Fun cloud spirals.

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I am really enjoying the scenery up here.

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Looking ahead again. I was pushing to get at least around the next bend.

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Another little cave.

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Looking down again.

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The faint trail I was following lead us into a thick clump of trees. We eventually found our way out of it.

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Getting closer.

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Fun little peak. It is starting to remind me of the nearby Waterfall Canyon (Summer).

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Starting to round the bend, and I do believe I see a thin icefall!

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Success! We made it and even though I was certain we wouldn’t see the waterfall, I was still holding onto perhaps seeing a frozen waterfall and we did! Although, smaller than I had hoped.

A couple months ago we saw a really excellent frozen waterfall at Waterfall Canyon (winter).

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Another shot.

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View back down. Holy crap we are seriously up there!

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It looks like it’s maybe another what.. quarter of a mile or so to get to the end of the canyon/base of the falls. But, we were both tuckered, didn’t want to tromp through snow, and we had somewhere to be. Besides, I was pretty happy with the end view we got today. I might have to try it again during runoff and see if I can actually see the waterfall. My pedometer app put this at 1.42 miles.

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I did think to pull out the telephoto lens for a minute before we left though.

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It almost looks like some of it is coming out of a cave.

Okay, we had our fun, but it was definitely time to head back.

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Fun canyon walls.

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Heading back down. Have to be mindful and go slower than gravity wants you to go due to all the boulders and rocks.

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View down again.

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Looks like there might be a cave or mine up there.

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Oh look, I found a faint trail again.

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Fun rock outcropping with a teeny tiny window.

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Panoramic of the canyon above.

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One last view before we leave.

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Interesting crack, or layer in the rock.

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A little closer.

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The trail has started leveling out, phew! I was starting to worry my knees were going to give out.

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Fun rocks.

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Getting back down to the loop.

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We decided to complete the loop instead of returning the way we came up.

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I think these are juniper trees.

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You have better views of the canyon from this side.

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Ben Lomond.

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And the peaks above. I’m not sure if this one has a name.

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This section of trail seems to be pretty mellow.

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Another fun rock outcropping.

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Looking out across the valley again.

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Another helpful sign directing us back to the trailhead.

One of the downfalls of doing a loop, versus doing an out and back trail is that on an out and back trail things look familiar on the way back. A loop, well, if it is your first time you are just as blind on the return as you are on the way in.

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The valley again.

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Through the trees.

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Weird colored cactus.

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band of red rock.

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Hit the canal again, thought we were back to the same place as before for a minute, but nope, definitely not.

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Oh, good to know. I guess this further explains the no swimming signs.

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There are no trail signs, but the trail continues directly across the canal road.

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In case you decide to come up this way, here is where it picks back up coming up.

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Still a lovely trail. As I am putting this together, the south loop might be a little steeper, but it is wider, and probably a little less confusing.

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The canyon again.

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A small mess of switchbacks.

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Ah! Now I know where we are! Almost back to the main trail.

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Another shot of Ben Lomond. One of these days I will actually do a trail on it.

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Back on the main trail.

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And back down to the trailhead with the small parking lot.

Whew! That was a little tougher than we are used to, but then again we have spent the last couple months staying out of the mountains due to unusually high avalanche conditions this year. I really enjoyed this trail though. But again, that might be due to avoiding the mountains for so long and being back in them. Going with a 9 out of 10 squirrels. Losing one due to slightly confusing mess of trails, and being a little tougher.

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As for difficulty, If you stay on the loop trail, it is pretty easy and I would rate it as a DR3. If you decide to continue up the canyon, I am going to bump that up to a DR5. Due to faint trails, and boulder scrambling.

Dogs are allowed, on leash. Please clean up after your furry friend.

Copy of Copy of dogsyes

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