Mere words are not adequate to describe the beauty of Ben Lomond Trail. Pictures will help, but cannot entirely capture what transpired on the mountain today. Mist and swirling clouds playing peek-a-boo with a brilliant blue sky don't exactly translate well to photo. I've been attempting to orchestrate an unforgettable hike with my friends but without much success. Stephanie and I decided we were determined to make this work and if she had to bail, I was going solo. The last time I hiked this route, I was dating my now husband of 14 years. I have since then, ridden a bike in a loop from the N. Skyline T.H. at the North Ogden Divide and down this very trail multiple times, which was treacherous when the trail wasn't being maintained for years. I am pleased to say, that currently, the Ben Lomond Trail is nearly perfect.
The fall colors haven't been this brilliant in years and are at their peak right now. This is when I spend every chance I get in North Fork Park. Even in a dull year, the park never lets me down. The wild life are abundant. We spooked a mother moose and calf today not far from the saddle. Fortunately they trotted away from our route. On the steep, rocky final ascent to the peak, we weaved in and out of the billowing mist. It felt like breathing in a humidifier (except it smelled slightly sulfuric) and passed by a campsite that had just enough of a rock wall to protect from some of the high wind at the peak. For the adventurous backpacker, it'd be a pretty cool place to sleep. We spent enough time at the peak to share a protein bar and admire the clouds spill over the mountain tops. The cool part about hiking down, was that the mist followed us much of the way.
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As our 15 mile trek came to a close, we hobbled to the car with plenty of aches and pains. All the biking has made me wimpy in other areas, which of course means that I have to amp up my cross training. After all, snowshoe season is just around the corner!
To get to the Ben Lomond T.H. enter North Fork Park via the South Gate. Signs will lead you to a left turn, and up to horse corrals. Park and look for a wooden sign at the trailhead. About 5 mi up you will intersect with another trail. Stay left and you'll arrive at a sign that maps out the trails (it's very basic)...then go North to the peak and if you go on a clear day, you will likely see Rocky Mountain Goats. Plan for a 2.5+ hr 4,000 ft. climb plus time to take pix, and a 2 hr descent. Deb
Rating: Long and difficult.
If you climb to the top using the same trail we did it is a 15 mi. round trip. Bring plenty of water and a snack. It took us about 5 1/2 hours but we took pics along the route.