The ride began east of Levan up Chicken Creek. I don’t know why that name makes me smile, but it does. Passing through this sleepy little town, you wouldn’t suspect an ATV adventure even existed close by.
Levan was originally known as the Chicken Creek Settlement. It was moved and renamed Levan by Brigham Young in 1867 due to adverse living conditions. Thought to be the middle of the state, it is of little consequence that Levan is “navel” spelled backwards. It is not the geographic middle of the state, but it is within a few miles.
Following the Chicken Creek road east up the canyon, I was surprised to note the character of this creek. It was fun to watch as we traveled along. The convoluted bed created waterfalls and pools that beckoned us to stop and enjoy its gurgling passage.
Climbing higher, we passed several canyons and hollows. Of particular interest to me was Death Hollow. What happened there to warrant that name? Chicken Creek Canyon features a campground that looked like it would provide a quiet respite as a vacation spot. Our climb topped out just above 7,800 feet and we began our descent to the little town of Wales.
Wales had all of 219 people in the 2000 census and has no services. Originally named Coal Bed, it was settled by Welsh immigrants under the direction of Brigham Young, who renamed it Wales in 1869. Many of the current residents are descendants of the original settlers.
Turning north, we followed SR 30 about five miles to the even smaller town of Freedom. I love these small towns and wonder what it would be like to grow up in one. I imagine the night sky would be spectacular and the sound of quiet would be nice. With no local services, making a trip to “town” must be quite an adventure.
We headed up Maple Canyon, stopping at the entrance to Box Canyon. We took time to walk into the canyon, leaving lush forest and entering a barren rock landscape. The contrast was remarkable. The walls and cliffs in this area are of a composite nature like a bed of river rock held together in a matrix of cement-hard dirt.
Famous among rock climbers, this canyon is the ideal place to learn the art of scaling rock walls. The rocks stick out like handholds on a climbing wall. We could follow the route of one climber up the wall by white chalk marks on the rocks. Nearby Maple Canyon Campground is used as a base camp for the climbing community.
Continuing our climb up Maple Canyon, we passed Hamburger Lake, which made me hungry so we began to look for a shady place to eat our lunch. Tracking the ridge top, we traveled about a half mile past Joe Spring and turned west down to the Moroni Ranger Station. This station is not currently in use, but the small size made me wonder how it was used when it was. It featured a chimney for a fireplace to keep the place warm, but the high altitude would make for harsh winters. It wasn’t even a good place for lunch.
Heading back to the main trail, we found our way down Log Hollow to Cool Spring. Here we took a narrow and twisty two-track route off the Log Hollow trail that took us through the heart of the woods. It was a rider’s dream. We joined the Log Hollow road again at the mouth of Spring Canyon, where we stopped for lunch. The main Log Hollow road travels down to meet SR 132 just north of Fountain Green.
We turned back to Joe Spring, riding the ridge top back to Chicken Creek Canyon. It is a beautiful place to ride and reasonably close to home. Our ride was just over 65 miles long on easy trails. The best time to ride these trails is during the summer months because of the altitude. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber-side down, and smile when you say Chicken Creek.
You may reach Lynn Blamires at firstname.lastname@example.org.