By: Tara Warren
Hey guys. You may have heard of my little mountain town before… Ogden, Utah? It’s about 45 minutes north of Salt Lake City and over the past several years has turned into a thriving mecca for outdoors enthusiasts. From indoor wave riding to outdoor fat biking, raw, established rock climbing to SUP reservoir adventures; there’s a little bit here for everyone.
Ogden rests in an elbow of the northern Wasatch mountain range. We have all four seasons here with fall and spring being the quicker, wetter seasons. Summer is hot and super dry. Wintertime is cold and snowy due to the storms rolling in off the Great Salt Lake and stalling out over the mountains.
We are slowly creeping out of winter time here, and while writing this article, I can’t help but think about of all these trails and currently unaccessible areas to explore. We host over 200 miles of dirt ribbons to explore. Writing this has been fun and has me dreaming and scheming about this coming season’s adventures. I’m gonna focus on three areas: the shoreline, ski resort running and the peaks.
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST) is a pathway on the west slopes or shoreline bench of the Wasatch Range that was formed by the ancient Lake Bonneville. In some form or another, this trail has the potential to reach over 280 miles in Utah stretching from Cache County to Juab County. The best part of the BST is in the Ogden area, of course. We host a generous 30ish mile section of this trail in our county which contains multiple trailhead options and vertical feet for climbing. It is well maintained, but still offers a rugged experience while running. Even during the snowy winters, one can get out on the BST and be surprised by how packed down the trails are because of the enthusiasm for the trail use in our area. And, even though you may be just a mile or less from residential areas, there is plenty of wildlife all around: raccoon, deer, moose, bobcat, fox, coyotes, mountain lion, and the occasional hobo. I put the majority of my training miles on the BST and feel super lucky to have this beautiful mountain pathway surrounding our community.
Some of the last areas to melt off are the trails at two of the larger Mountain Resorts in the area: Powder Mountain and Snowbasin. Both of these ski areas have well established trail systems that would meet anyone’s needs.
I like running at Snowbasin to get out of the desert heat in the summer months. It faces east so it receives light earlier than other areas, although you may have to share the trail with some sleeping moose. There are a few great lookout climbs where you can see the the reservoir, the city or out into the mountainous valley. You can also take a short-cut gondola ride that will put you close to Mount Ogden.
Power Mountain’s advantage to me is its starting elevation. Starting anywhere on its numerous trail system at 8000’ will give you an awesome workout. There are always wildflowers galore and extensive trail building projects that area currently in the mix.
Winter turns into Spring, things start melting off and its time to climb! There are several peaks within my area where the trailheads are less than a 30 minute drive. Some of these peaks are accessible from the BST (if you’re ok with adding few miles) and adventures are super easy from any part of town. Here are my favorites along with a little interpretation:
Everyone should have a Malans. It tops out at 6980’ and the main vein of the trail will take you about 2140’ up in about 2.5 miles. It’s a local favorite to hike, but when I’m in better running shape, it’s a great one to push a good, steady shuffle up to the top.
You can get to the top of Mount Ogden from the west or east sides and pretty much a north or south trail as well. Be sure and take a local (call me) if you are looking to get up to this 9570’ peak. Several of the up routes are a moderate technical climb where others will take you there on a smooth dirt ribbon. This mountain appears to be the tallest in our range because of the radio and weather towers parked on top.
At 9304’, this peak is probably my favorite. When starting from what we call the “divide lot,” an out and back to see ‘ole Lewis is around 10.5 miles with about 3000’ climbing. The climbs are tough and the ridge-line running is just outstanding. I’ve sacrificed so much sleep to catch sunrises during this run, but those early solo mornings are experiences I’ll never trade.
Every local loves Benny. It’s the tallest of the peaks in my area. Undocumented sources claim that Paramount Pictures founder and Ogden native, William Hopkinson, sketched out the companies famous Majestic Mountain on a napkin after his beloved Ben Lomond. It stands tall at 9716’ and has 5 or 6 different start points. Each of which add a varying degree of difficulty and landscape. My regular route is 15.5 miles with about 3500’ in gains. It’s a smooth steady climb that meanders though open space, pines and gorgeous ridges.
The peak stands at 9421’ tall and is at the northern border of Powder Mountain Ski Resort. It takes a little more effort to get out and run out to the Peak, but the incredible panoramic summertime views of Cache and Ogden valleys make it worth the drive. My first times going running here were last year. I enjoyed the solitude in the wildflowers meadows, the ruggedness of the climbing and the open ridge-line running.
There’s always something good going on in downtown Ogden. Our revitalized 25th street has the charm and character of the old west with the modern flair of a new generation. There’s quite a variety of sit-down food options ranging from local coffee or boba drink shops to craft burgers or pup food with local craft beer. (Made by one of our own TrailSisters, @jackalope801!)
This coffee house offers a menu of familiar expresso drinks and java made from locally roasted beans. The historic building will draw your attention, but the cozy window and loft seating will keep you there for a bit. Enjoy the in-house baked treats including GF and Vegan options.
Celebrates “infusing diversity, bringing in the far east and steeping into the community.” Located on the west end of the area, this staple adds specialty drinks, salads as well as unique food and treats. Some popular options include: coconut taro boba, vietnamese iced coffee and even honeydew milk tea.
Located mid-way on 25th Street, this 119 yr old building has seen a little bit of everything. The buildings restoration includes an awesome outdoor dining setting where you can find folks who have just jumped off the trails dining alongside others who may be having a business meeting. The menu is diverse as its patrons. There really is something for everyone – ribeye steaks to crusted lamb, or even some light flatbread pizzas to their famous house dressing on the salads.
The Brewmasters create and brew over 26 unique beers that are not only served on location, but throughout the west. The owners have done a fabulous job creating a true community atmosphere and are very active in our trail community.
How about some chips and salsa? Just a block or so off from downtown, you’ll find (my favorite) Mexican restaurant.
The atmosphere is fantastic. Great lighting which will inspire you to order the tableside guacamole – do it! The menu is short and sweet with familiar dishes that they have mastered over time. I love the avocado and black bean tostada or the chicken flautas. Try the coconut rice if you get a chance. The sopapillas or fried ice cream will close out your dinner will a happy tummy.
Located right on the Ogden River Trail, Slackwater is a local’s favorite. You’ll find live music, beer tasting, a gracious meet up locale and the FOOD!!! Get the char-tipped smoked pork chili-verde nachos as an appetizer. It’s about a foot high of deliciousness. You’ll also be happy with any of the homemade pizzas and their light crusts. The salads and sandwiches are always a fav as well.
Ogden is a relatively small town, but with three great running/gear stores. And, they’re conveniently located with in the same block. Striders, Peak Performance and Gear 30. Each has it’s strength and caters uniquely to the community with various running groups and events. From camping items, to running packs or new running kicks, any of these three stores will be able to re-stock you with your favorite items.
I’m sure you’re already making mental plans to come out to Ogden and do some adventuring. Remember, you can run AND train hear year round. Please put me on your short list of people to contact when you get out here! (firstname.lastname@example.org). There are plenty of online resources that will help make your visit more personalized and specific for what you may be looking for.
Check out on the web:
I never would have imagined that I would be raising a family in Ogden, Utah and absolutely loving it. This little mountain town really has it all. Our trail community has such a wonderful group of people who are just as obsessive about our dirt ribbons and mountains as I am. I love where I live and it has been great being able to share it with you! Come run with me ANYTIME.
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