Joy (South Fork Deer Creek)

I first heard about this trail reading Eldon’s blog fatcyclist.com. The way he described it made me really, really, really want to ride it. This area was my backyard back in the mid 90s…but Joy did not exist back then. Our trail was the Ridge trail 157 to Tibble Fork. Joy in it’s own right. But enough about Tibble, this page is all about Joy…


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Six Minutes of Joy from Fat Cyclist on Vimeo.

South Fork Deer Creek is one of the very best reasons to go mountain biking on the Ridge Trail Network in American Fork Canyon, UT. Here’s the whole thing — all six glorious downhill minutes of it.

More from Fatty’s on Joy:

Six Minutes of Joy
That section of trail is officially named “South Fork Deer Creek.” But we — the people I ride with — call it Joy. We call it that, because that’s the feeling it brings. (And also because we like to give trails people names.)

After a difficult climb — three remarkably brutal uphill miles — there’s nothing quite like six perfect minutes of fast, swooping downhill. Trail that is so good that it fills your brain completely. There is no room for anything but pure joy.

Tibble Fork: The Best Place in the World
You’d have to ride this trail to really understand why it’s called Joy. It’s a little like being in that scene in Return of the Jedi where Luke and Leia are being chased through the forest on their motorcycle-esque landspeeders. Except it’s real, and it’s downhill, and the trails are banked to perfection, and you’re threading through the aspen and evergreen trees knowing — but not caring — that if you fall right now you will wrap around one of them, and then there’s a little jump on the side of the trail (you need to know to watch for it), and you’re pedaling in your big ring, not quite spun out but oh-so-close and then you’re suddenly in sagebrush, still flying, and the trail’s banked just where it needs to be so that you can just open it up on your mountain bike like nowhere else in the world.

And then it’s over. It ends at a little campground, where everyone regroups and tries to describe what just happened. But it always comes out just giggles and big sloppy grins to match. Joy is the only trail that has ever brought tears to my eyes. It is perfect.

I second everything Eldon has said about this trail. It is pure Joy. I rode it twice last year — twice in a row. First time was casual with stops and pictures and waiting…the traditional way down the mountain with a group of riders… The second time (immediately following the first) we rode it in 6 minutes 8 seconds. Average speed of 16 mph, max speed of 24, and I was riding conservatively! Speed lovers could really open it up down Joy.

From Utah American Fork Canyon
From Utah American Fork Canyon

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