Careful planning, a coordinated effort by many communities and a focused effort to build trails connecting communities along the Wasatch Front have created the longest continuous network of trails west of the Mississippi.
The Golden Spoke trail network, which runs 106 miles from Ogden to Provo and connects communities along the way, officially opened on June 2.
“The Golden Spoke network offers over 100 miles of safe, connected, paved trails from Ogden to Provo, becoming the longest continuous, multi-use urban trail network this side of the Mississippi, cementing Utah as a national leader in outdoor recreation and active transportation,” the Wasatch Front Regional Council said in a press release.
This name is a play on the state’s historic Golden Spike event that took place in May of 1869 at Promontory Point, west of Brigham City, Utah. A ceremonial golden spike, which was the last spike driven into the railroad track there, connected the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads. The connection of those two railroads created the first transcontinental railroad across the United States.
The Golden Spoke trail network, in a similar way, connects cities along the Wasatch Front through paved, user-friendly trails. Residents in those connected cities have easy access to safe trails that can be used for walking, jogging, cycling, skateboarding, longboarding, inline skating and horseback riding. The trail is also wheelchair accessible.
The trail is a popular social gathering spot for some residents as they meet and enjoy neighborly visits.
Jane Rowberry from Highland, Utah, takes advantage of the trail system.
“It’s so beneficial to have such a nice trail run through the community, I think that it helps bring the community together by allowing people to have a nice place to walk, run, bike and ride horses without having to go to a gym or up in the mountains.”
Safe trails in a community offer great places where people of all ages can relax and exercise.
Andrea Johnson from Highland, Utah, and her husband, Jonathan, enjoy using the trail together.
“Jonathan and I use the trail all the time. We love the trail for chill road biking. It’s safe, and we don’t have to worry about cars. We can also go long distance,” Johnson said.
In Utah County, many cities built their cycling trail on top of the Murdock Canal, a waterway that diverts water from the mouth of Provo Canyon to Salt Lake Valley. This 17-mile portion of the Golden Spoke trail network is called the Murdock Trail.
“We moved away from Utah for three years. While we were gone, the Murdock Trail was built. When we returned, I discovered how beautiful the new trail is. I love riding in the morning when everything is fresh,” Karen Smart of Highland, Utah, said.
Utah’s commitment to building safe cycling trails is expected to continue. The state’s goal is to create 1,000 new miles of cycling trails in the next 10 years.