Welcome to the trail!
Today’s hike from the Maples Trailhead is a short and sweet little walk along a wide old road (it used to lead to the Maples Campground, which no longer exists). A small but scenic beaver pond (I have seen a beaver swimming here, but it has been a few years - maybe you’ll get lucky!) is the perfect destination for even the tiniest tykes.
How to get there
Drive to Snowbasin Resort and follow the road past the main parking lots and lodges, past the roadside parking where you park for the Moose Loop Trails, and around to the bottom of the parking lot here. Parking is plentiful and bathrooms are available in the learning center in the base area of the resort (when it is open).
Trail at a glance
Total distance: 0.45 miles one way (0.9 miles round trip out and back)
Elevation gain (loss): ~80 feet (you start hiking slightly downhill, so it’s slightly uphill on the way back to the car)
Destination: beaver pond on the side of the trail
Tyke perks: shady and sunny, stream/marsh, mud, beaver pond, wide trail, downhill start, nearby playground, Olympics sculpture
Notable flora: aster, larkspur, goldenrod, yellow sweet clover, lupine, geranium, aspen, maple, sagebrush, cattail
Fascinating fauna: moose (maybe?), dragonflies, butterflies, beaver (cross your fingers!)
Watch out for: bikes (the trail is wide enough for everyone, but it is a popular biking trail, so be aware), dogs, flies, sun (there is some shade, but it can be sunny, too, so have your sunscreen handy!)
While you’re hiking
The trail starts at a gate in the northwest corner of this parking lot/road. There is a large trailhead sign just past the gate. A single track biking trail goes up to the left of the sign, but we’re going to follow the wide old road straight ahead as it gradually drops into a meadowy marshy area.
It’s hard to get lost on this one. Just stick to the road and you’ll get to the pond before you know it! About a third of a mile from the gate you’ll see a sign and a small trail leading toward Chicken Spring Creek, but you don’t really need to worry about it because you’ll just stay on the road.
In about a half mile from the start, you’ll see the pond to your left, right next to the trail. My kids love to splash rocks and poke the mud in the bottom with sticks while we eat our hiking snacks in the shade.
You can continue on further if you’re feeling like a half mile is just not enough - the trail eventually leads to the Ogden Canyon Overlook and Sardine Peak Loop (just know those add a lot more elevation and mileage that may not be the best option for smaller tykes.)
When you get back to the car, don’t miss the playground back at the top of the hill near the main parking lots. (This may be the biggest tyke perk of any hike here!)
As always, let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or concerns. Happy trails!