City Escape: Salt Lake City, Utah

Text: Florian Neuhauser • Photography: Florian Neuhauser

This route leads through central Wasatch Mountain State Park and offers stunning views of the surrounding valleys and peaks. The best time to travel is in the summer, but even then unpredictable weather can bring snow. Autumn is especially beautiful. The loop is intentionally short to allow riders time to stop and take in the Wasatch Mountains. Clockwise is the best way to follow it. Pay attention to the weather as it can change very quickly.

Length

Approximately 122 miles

Meet-up Spot

Harrison Eurosports, 339 W 9000 S, Sandy, UT, (801) 562-0100 

Lunch Stop

The Forklift offers made-from-scratch breakfast and lunch with a view of the slopes. It’s located in the Snowbird Center (where the tram is) on the plaza deck. 9385 S #094, Snowbird Center Trail, Snowbird Lodge, UT, (801) 933-2440.

Scenery (4 out 5)

Mount Timpanogos towers beautifully above Deer Creek Reservoir. Don’t miss the view of Midway from Guardsman Pass, the Alpine Loop, or the overview of Salt Lake City coming from Highland, either.

Traffic (3 out 5)

Big Cottonwood Canyon Road can be busy with traffic and bicyclists. The stretch between Highland and Sandy goes through suburbia. Pick a weekday and you’ll have the roads almost all to yourself.

Difficulty (3 out 5)

The twisty section up 92 is the most challenging part of this loop. The natural beauty of the area can be a big distraction. Pull over to view the landscape.

Road Conditions (4 out 5)

There’s good pavement except on part of Guardsman Pass. The Alpine Loop (92) is narrow, and the road leading to Alta serves up fast sweepers.

Points of Interest

  1. Café Galleria. If you don’t make it to The Forklift, this cafe offers charming outside seating along with great pizza and good coffee. www.cafegalleriapizza.com
  2. Mount Timpanogos. It’s the mountain you won’t be able to take your eyes off of on the way to Sundance. The summit is 11,749 feet and takes around five hours to reach by foot. Hike it if you’re up for a challenge. www.climb-utah.com/WM/timp.htm
  3. Snowbird. Located just east of Salt Lake City, Snowbird is one of the most famous ski resorts in Utah. In the summer, there’s hiking, mountain biking, fishing, whitewater rafting, plenty of dining options, and a spa. www.snowbird.com
  4. Marmalade Hill Historic District. Apricot Street. Almond Street. Named for the fruit-bearing trees planted by early residents, this neighborhood of pioneer houses is west of Capitol Hill. Walking tours are available but must be scheduled in advance. Call the Utah Heritage Foundation at (801) 533-0858.
  5. Natural History Museum of Utah. Exhibits on dinosaurs, gems and minerals, land, life, and sky, and the future. www.nhmu.utah.edu