This loop is great because it's well-maintained, the climbs (although they can be sustained) were built at a really manageable incline, there are some fun descents, great views along the way, and it's part of a great trail system.
This is also a great loop for anyone training for long distance trail events.
This is a popular mountain biking trail, so watch out for mountain bikers. Also, there isn't a ton of shade along the route. When I went (in late September) there were no water sources along the route, so I would plan on bringing all of your water with you.
This trail is mostly designed for runners or mountain bikers who can complete the loop in a few hours. I did an overnight backpacking trip in early April, and carried over 6 lbs of water. Know that there are absolutely NO water sources after the snow melts (taking into account you are melting snow to drink.) If you're not melting snow, the water sources have long dried up by April. Assume that you MUST bring every drop of water you'll need. On my April 09, 2021 trip, I ran into between 3 and 4 miles of snow-covered trail. It wasn't super deep (a foot or two) but made for very slow going.
This loop, starting from the Coyote Trailhead starts by ascending slowly on the Coyote Trail
. In the beginning, it seems like it's ascending almost too slowly because there are so many switchbacks, but at the same time these switchbacks keep the climbing grade nice and easy, so resist the temptation to cut the switchbacks.
Eventually, the trail starts turning into a series of longer switchbacks, and after about 1,500 feet of climbing, the trail hits the main ridge, and then climbs a few more hundred feet before reaching the top of the main climb. This high point comes about eight miles from the trailhead.
From this point, the trail starts to weave in and out of a series of aspen groves and other small forests, which provide the first real shade along the trail. This point also starts a nice, fun descent that heads down to the northern end of the loop. At about 12.5 miles in, there is another small climb that tops out on the western side of the ridge. Along this northern section is where you get the best views of Jordanelle Reservoir.
After about 14 miles, the trail reaches the top of the second notable climb, and opens up for some great views of the Wasatch Back foothills, which in the fall can be covered in beautiful crimson leaves. This section also has the longest descent of the loop, which can be rocky at times but is generally pretty fun.
The descent ends at about 17 miles in, and along this section you start to get some great views of Mount Timpanogos and the other southerly Wasatch mountains, which can be especially stunning in the shoulder seasons when they're capped in snow. There is also a fork in the trails at about 16.5 miles in, with an option to either go on the Sheep Bones Trail or the Riverview Trail
. Either option could end up back at the Coyote Trailhead, but this loop chooses the Riverview Trail
, because it stays up a little bit higher and allows you to get some better views of the Provo River as it winds through the valley below.
After getting onto the Riverview Trail
, the loop has a couple more small ascents, but is mostly pretty level until it runs back into the Coyote Trail
at about 22 miles. From there it is a steady descent back to the trailhead along the same switchbacks you came up on at the beginning.
Though there are several junctions along this trail, at most of them, there is a small sign with a map on it which makes it pretty hard to get lost or onto the wrong trail along this loop.
Aspen groves, great views of fall colors along the Wasatch Back during fall, deer, etc.