Four Canyons, 264 Miles, Five Hours, and One Bike = One Fun Saturday
Sometimes you just need some “alone time” to peel of a little mileage under your feet. Saturday was one of those days. I have some friends I like to ride with, but today I headed out on my own and spent a great few hours in the saddle.
Normally climbing over Parley’s Canyon (1) is a crowded free-for-all that is necessary to get eastbound out of the city and into the mountain passes of the Uintah Mountains. It’s not my favorite stretch of highway and is usually just a part of the ride that is better over with, but it wasn’t very crowded Saturday morning so I could enjoy the climb with the cool morning breeze in my face as I headed out of the heat (and the chores) that would be waiting for me when I rolled back into the garage. Normally I see several bikes either coming or going into the Salt Lake Valley, but this particular morning I was the only one.
At the junction with Highway 40 I decided I’d catch 32 at the Jordanelle Dam and head over Wolf Creek Pass (2) into Duchesne. The temperature noticeably dropped as I climbed into Francis—it was just about the perfect day for a ride. With the exception of an occasional bow hunter, I pretty much had the road to myself over the pass; and couldn’t help but notice there were a few patches of color warning of the approaching change in the seasons. It won’t be long before it will be time to hit the Nebo loop (one of the prettiest fall rides) and brace for the cold and rides in the west desert for the winter.
Dropping into Hanna, I decided to go the rest of the way into Duchesne via Highway 35 (a little stretch of the highway I hadn’t been on before). It was a great little road with red cliffs on the left, fields of alp alpha on either side of the road, and the river crossing underneath. I gassed up in Duchesne, took a pull on my water bottle, and decided to take 191—or Indian Canyon (3)—to Highway 6 and points beyond.
I’ve driven past this canyon many times, but discovered it for myself last year with some friends. It’s a great ride, and I’ve ridden both ways but prefer climbing out of Duchesne. I was alone on the road until just before the summit when I caught up to a tanker pulling doubles crawling over the top.
This scenic byway follows an old Indian trail from Price to Duchesne peaking at the 9100-foot summit of Indian Creek Pass. If you’d like to add some miles to a ride over Wolf Creek, this is definitely a great little addition.
Instead of going all the way into Helper, I took Emma Park Road west to the junction with Highway 6 going through Spanish Fork Canyon (4). The road doesn’t look too bad, but it’s not a very pleasant few miles as Emma Park morphs into Kyune Pass Road. I don’t know when it was last paved, but be prepared to slow down and dodge asphalt patches for a few miles.
Once I hit Spanish Fork Canyon, I thought it might be fun to add another pass and take Highway 96 past Scofield Reservoir and climb up and over Farmington Canyon, but the DOT warning of up to five hour delays dissuaded me—so I got back on 6 and headed down the canyon.
The temperature had been perfect until I started to descend and temperatures started to rise. By the time I was out of the canyon and back on I-15 headed for home it was downright hot. Despite my better judgment, I decided to stay on 15 and found myself in about 45 minutes of horrible traffic going over the Point of the Mountain before I bailed at the prison and took surface streets the rest of the way home. That’s still a terrible stretch of I-15 that they can’t get finished soon enough for me.
We’re headed into a couple of months of what I consider the best riding time of the year. The temperatures are cooler, the traffic is a little lighter (with the exception of a few leaf peepers), and the scenery is spectacular. Where did you ride this weekend?