Something’s Brewing

The sun peeks through a brewing storm cloud over Brian Head Utah. Two mountain bikers look on from a rocky cliff over the forest.

Re Wikstrom and Shaun Raskin take in the view over Brian Head, Utah. Mountain bikes got us there and mountain bikes got us back… but not before the storm hit. Muddy rides are worth enjoying.

The Location in Brian Head

This overlook is a classic stop on this particular ride. Some days it’s overcast, some days it’s sunny, and some days you get a powerful mix of weather. Re and Shaun provide the perfect amount of scale for this photo.

Stormy Singletrack

Skiers Shaun Raskin and Weston Deutschlander ride mountain bikes in Brian Head, Utah on a stormy day. This all-mountain and cross country trail is called Bunker creek.

And down came the rain. Sometimes you get lucky in Brian Head, and sometimes it just pours. According to the locals it had been raining since the first week in July, and this was simply a continuation. Shaun Raskin, Weston D, Re Wikstrom, and I rode for three days, through mud, cow turds, and across wet, slippery roots. Singletrack had turned to rutty ditches and fast, technical downhills turned into a two-wheel slip’n slide punctuated by trees.

The Location: Bunker Creek

Here Shaun and Weston pedal up a hill during a Bunker Creek shuttle ride. Later in the day we were treated to sun, just enough to turn the mud on our bikes to cement.

Want some beta on the area? Leave a comment.

Forest for the Trees

Trees against the sky on an overcast day in the forest in Brian Head, Utah

Trees along the side of the Dark Hollow mountain bike trail in Brian Head, Utah

|| The Dark Hollow and Bunker Creek trails ribbon through the forest above Brian Head, Utah. Drive to the top of the mountain, unload your bikes, pedal a few hundred vertical, and you’re treated to an hour of screaming-fast riding across well-traveled single track, rock gardens and roots that bite at your feet, and views that give you more than a moment of pause. Mud was the order of the day for this particular ride with photographer Re Wikstrom and riders Shaun Raskin and Weston Deutschlander. Our grins caked with mud and our bikes soaked, we skidded up to the shuttle truck at the bottom well after darkness fell. Two more days of riding to go, and it only rained more. ||

Powered by Pedals

Looking down at the trail below the bikes, shoes, and muddy tires of three mountain bikers in Utah.

|| A Yeti, a Genius, a Jekyll, and a Kona went for a ride at Brian Head. Pictured here are the feet, bikes, and tires of Weston Deutschlander and Shaun Raskin on the trails outside Brian Head, Utah. Although you can’t see the mud in this particular photo, it was omnipresent during our trip. Once you’ve driven four hours and put in the time to park to trucks there’s no turning back, so we rode regardless of the weather. Fast, slick, and fun, it’s like playing in puddles for no good reason when you’re a kid. The best part is that it makes for some amazing photos.||

Headed to Brian

Professional telemark skiers Shaun Raskin and Weston D. standing on a redrock ridge overlooking Brian Head, Utah.

A vast and sweeping view of the redrock cliffs just off the side of a mountain bike ride in Brian Head

Ridges like this make the mountain biking in Brian Head, Utah truly amazing. Re Wikstrom, Shaun Raskin, Weston D., and I shuttled our bikes to the peak intersection of trails in Brian Head, and made lap after lap over a long weekend. Muddy mountain biking is fun (although we try to avoid it) but sunny moments like this are always nice when you’re shooting photos outside.

Unspoiled Singletrack

The singletrack in and around Brian Head is some of the best in Utah and also some of the least crowded. Places like Moab and Virgin get much more attention and far more coverage in statewide tourist marketing and venue selection but Brian Head has its own gems—not the least of which is a stop on the Utah Gravity Series of DH races.

Special thanks to the all of the locals and trail builders in the area who put in countless hours to make these trails so we all can ride them.


The End

|| Hitching a ride home in the back of a truck happens year round. Rarely comfortable and often cramped, this ritual of riders or skiers making their way home en-masse is one for the ages. Out in Brian Head, where this shot was taken, you have to worry less about the police taking interest, and more about freezing your face off before you hit the campfire. During the winter in Big Cottonwood, you discover the fine art of duck-and-cover in order to avoid highway patrol, but that’s for lust of snow, not dirt. In this particular shot we were three deep in the bed and countless deep in the cab, with six filthy, muddy bikes across the back after riding Dark Hollow in Brian Head. You can see my foot in the lower right of the frame, jammed between the wheels in a desperate attempt to stretch out as we made our way home. Hardly the most technically impressive, this photo captured for me what that trip was all about: community and dirt. ||

Nights in Brian Head

|| Flip it over, spin the wheel, listen for the noise; the grind, click or clink that leads to the demon in your bike. From muddy ride to hot campfire, the day progress until you’re leaning over the fork, headlamp burning to light up the dark and reveal your ride. The midnight mechanic doesn’t sleep until the work is done, and even then it’s hard to sleep without a ride. ||

Art and Steve prep their kit for the morning’s festivities. Shot with a Canon 5D Mkii and a steady hand.

Riding it Out

|| Mountain bikers Ben Thomas and Steve Sramek look out over the hills of Brian Head, Utah. This was my first trip to Brian Head, and a wet one to say the least. This photograph was shot mid-ride on the Bunker Creek, the bottom of which we soon discovered chalk full of mud and cow paddies. Bunker Creek is a longer, multi-hour ride which requires shuttling with two vehicles from top to bottom. Brian Head is packed with riding options, some a little loose and rocky, others loamy or potentially buffed by group after group of riders. By the end of the trip we had ridden for three days, run into rain storms, countless mechanicals and flats, sheep herders, and wide skies full of stars at night. I look forward to going back. ||