Farmington Creek - Rail Trail

excerpted from our book

Salt Lake City's Incredible Hiking and Biking Trails
pages 277-281

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Farmington Creek, D&RGW Rail Trail Farmington Creek, D&RGW Rail Trail

Farmington Creek, D&RGW Rail Trail      Farmington Pond, where this walk or bicycle ride begins, is a popular recreational destination among the residents of Farmington, and on a typical summer day you can count on seeing dozens of people swimming and boating in the reservoir. The Farmington Creek Trail begins at a gravel parking lot 0.2 mile north of Farmington Pond and descends to a lower parking lot beside the reservoir. You can begin your ride or walk at either lot, but most people prefer to start at the lower lakeside parking area where there are nearby restrooms and picnic facilities.
      The route described here is best done as a bicycle ride; it joins parts of three separate paved multiuse paths to form a long loop ride on the south side Farmington. For the first 2.2 miles you will be following the Farmington Creek Trail on the south side of the Lagoon Amusement Park. Then, after crossing over Interstate Highway 15 the route turns south along the D&RGW Rail Trail for a relaxing ride through a sweeping landscape of farmland and wetlands. After 3.0 miles the Rail Trail meets the Legacy Parkway Trail, thus making it possible to complete the loop back to Farmington Creek and return to the starting point.
      After leaving the pond the Farmington Creek Trail heads south along the creek through a lush, well-shaded riparian area; then, 0.3 mile later, it goes through a tunnel under North Main Street and emerges, once again, into a heavily forested area. Although there are houses less than a hundred yards away this segment of the trail feels surprisingly remote. Soon you will begin skirting along the east side of the Lagoon Amusement Park, and looking into the park you can see many of the parks rides as well as fenced enclosures containing horses, bison and elk. This portion of the Farmington Creek Trail was built in cooperation with the amusement park, and it is also known as the Lagoon Trail.
      The Farmington Creek Trail seems to end at 200 West Street, but if you turn left and follow the road east for a hundred yards you will see where it starts again and resumes its southerly meander. Next the trail begins bending around to the west, and after crossing 400 West Street it arrives at State Street on the east side of Interstate Highway 15. Just before reaching State Street you will pass the Ezra T. Clark Trailhead and parking area on the east side of the trail. This trailhead is just 1.3 mile from the Farmington Pond Trailhead, and if you are interested in a shorter walk along the Farmington Creek Trail this might be a good place to begin or end your hike.
      There are two overpass bridges across I-15 at State Street, one for cars and one for bicycles and pedestrians. Riding a bicycle over the narrow I-15 pedestrian overpass is, for me, one of the more exciting parts of this ride. The covered footbridge is 400 feet long, and it is fun to stop half way and look down at the cars and trucks zooming by underneath. Nine lines of traffic as well as the Front Runner commuter train pass under the walkway. After crossing I-15 you will immediately come to a second bridge that crosses the Legacy Highway. There is no separate pedestrian overpass above the Legacy Highway, but the roadbed of the bridge is bordered with wide pedestrian walkways so crossing the bridge is quite safe.

Farmington Creek, D&RGW Rail Trail      Shortly after crossing the Legacy Highway the Farmington Creek Trail comes to a traffic light at the intersection of State Street and 600 West Street. After crossing this intersection the Farmington Creek Trail continues along the south side of State Street for another 200 feet before turning south; then, after another half mile, it merges into the D&RGW Rail Trail.
      The D&RGW Rail Trail is a 23-mile-long paved multiuse trail that runs from West Bountiful to the city of Roy. As the name suggests, the 66-foot-wide corridor that the trail follows was once owned by the Denver & Rio Grand Western Railroad Company. It served as an important rail link between Ogden and Salt Lake City from 1883 until its abandonment in the mid-1980s. For 17 years the future of the abandoned rail line remained in limbo, but in September of 2002 the Utah Transit Authority was able obtain the property rights to the corridor and the idea of a public rail trail was born. The grand opening to the paved D&RGW Rail Trail was celebrated in 2011, but it is still very much a work in progress. The southern end of the rail trail has already been joined to the Farmington Creek Trail and the Legacy Parkway Trail, and now there are plans to extend the northern end of the trail across the Weber River to join the Weber River Parkway Trail.
      Continuing southward from the Farmington Creek Trail one soon begins to realize what a great addition the D&RGW Rail Trail is to northern Utah’s system of paved bicycle trails. The trail is almost perfectly flat and very straight (as you would expect from an old railroad right-of-way), but it is, nevertheless, far from boring. Most of the surrounding countryside along the trail is a combination of farmland and wetland. Initially you will pass near a few residential areas, but as you progress further south of Farmington you will see less and less development. The trail crosses two sleepy country roads at 500 South and 925 South Streets, and after the first 0.9 mile you will cross out of the city limits of Farmington.
      The route follows the D&RGW Rail Trail for 3.0 miles before coming to 1275 North Street in west Centerville where it meets the Legacy Parkway. In order to complete the loop you must turn left here and follow the Legacy Trail east for 0.2 mile to the point where it turns north again and begins paralleling the Legacy Highway. The Legacy Trail runs about a half mile east of the D&RGW Rail Trail, and the terrain is very similar. It crosses two small rivulets along the way and after 2.2 miles it goes under Glovers Lane (925 South Street). 1.1 miles later it goes under State Street in Farmington, where, in order to complete the loop you must leave the Legacy Trail and get back on the Farmington Creek Trail. Just before going under State Street you will see a short spur trail on the left that leaves the Legacy Trail and ends on the west side of the State Street bridge. When you reach the west end of the bridge you will be back on the Farmington Creek Trail. Cross the Legacy Highway on the bridge’s pedestrian walkway, and retrace your route back to Farmington Pond where you began your ride.

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