Card Canyon Loop
ElevationAscent: 2,374' 724 m
Descent: -2,382' -726 m
High: 7,816' 2,382 m
Low: 5,440' 1,658 m
GradeAvg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 37% (20°)
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“A beautiful alpine tour with views of cliffs, open meadows and valleys, and cool rock formations.”— Tomsen Reed
From the parking area by the second gate, the road starts to ascend through a sparsely populated conifer forest. After about a half mile, the road ends at the Cache Valley Archery range (which is only open to members of the archery association, not just anyone who wants to go). Instead of going to the range, go to the left where the road crosses a small drainage where there is a sign that points to the left saying "Card Canyon East 064" and to the right saying "Card Canyon West." Take the fork to the right and the trail starts to slowly ascend by a dry creek bed.
It continues through a varying forest with conifers, scrub oak, and some aspens at times. This can be a really gorgeous part in the fall as the colors are changing. Eventually the trail starts to ascend more steeply through some rocky portions, and then it starts to switchback up onto the hillside above the drainage, which allows for some views of the cliff bands on the western side of the canyon, which are impressive.
Eventually, the trail starts to level off as it reaches the meadow that sits above the canyon (which can be filled with beautiful wildflowers in the spring) and eventually meets up with a dirt road, and another sign.
Follow the road as it ascends to the main Adams Corral road, which is the high point of the loop. From here, the descent on the road is enjoyable and easy going, and after less than a mile there is a small clearing to the left and a sign that marks the eastern fork of Card Canyon.
The descent into this fork of card canyon is somewhat steep, but then it quickly levels out as the trail emerges from the aspen/conifer forest into a large meadow with ponds in it (which in the spring is filled with gorgeous bluebells). The trail is somewhat poorly defined in this section, so keep your wits about you so that you can stay on the trail. Use the Trail Run Project mobile app if you need to get your bearings. After leaving this clearing, the trail continues to descend and then switches back and quickly descends to a small fork in the trail where a really cool rock thumb can be seen (the fork to the right just goes up to the rock, and to the left bypasses the rock in favor of the normal trail).
From this point, the trail is very enjoyable, with some short steep uphill sections to break up the descent. Eventually the trail breaks out of the forested area into a small picnic area with several tables and a fire ring, and then back to the original trail fork and archery range. At this point, just follow the road back to the car and the fun loop is finished!
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