Ever get that notion you want to see something from the other side? The Wasatch Range lets you poke around from different directions. The ski resorts clustered here give great access. Sundance, Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, Brighton, The Canyons, Park City Mountain and Deer Valley are great riding destinations and offer great views, especially if you're into walking.
Snake Creek leads into the same area surrounded by these resorts, from a different angle. The fun route from the Salt Lake Valley is up Big Cottonwood Canyon, over Guardsman Pass and down to Midway. Afternoon rain rides seem to be the norm here this year. Out and over the hill to the left lies Park City, around to the right, Midway and Snake Creek.
There was an hour's worth of ugly black that followed me over the mountain so I visited with a friend until this scene lured me into Snake Creek.
The road becomes graded gravel/dirt up a couple of miles, then climbs out of the canyon over a ridge to the south (left). Before that this little 421 (5.5 miles from the Wasatch State Park Visitor Center) mine road spurs off up the right side of the canyon. Here's the map:
Initially it's not too steep but demands good tires and rock riding skills. Perfect opportunity to test my brandy new Kenda K270. Soon there's a 3-way fork and one leads up to this mine dump.
Here you'll find heavy equipment, old and new.
It's a decent climb to this point.
An upper spur off this fork leads into a narrows of the canyon and an old structure emitting the sound of big, rushing water. In the early 1900's there was a tunnel punched back 2 or 3 miles to drain water from the Ontario and Daily mines in Park City.
Back to the 3-way fork and up a couple of switch-back pitches led to this deceptively simple cruise through the quakies.
That didn't last. It got super steep, super rocky and you won't see any of it because that Kenda 270, the DR650 and my own self got tested to the limit. There was no stopping until about 9,500 feet where I cycled through second thoughts, misgivings and other doubts about my judgement. At one point I was climbing full power, wheel spinning alongside a rut so deep I wouldn't have been able to get the bike out had I slipped in it. No exaggeration, this is KTM/Husaberg type country, DR's, KLR's etc. don't belong here.
So I made it to a sort of pedestal where I could recoup. This ridge (Alta on the other side), across a very deep chasm at the head of the canyon, is about 10,300 ft. Midway's about 5,600 ft.
Not only was I scared by the steep, rocky reality of it all. It started looking like more rain. I pointed er down and started gittin. This is way steep but the easy part. I lose all interest in pictures when it gets gnarly. (for clarity, I do not consider the picture below even remotely rocky. The gnarly stuff was wall to wall rocks and boulders that kept bouncing me out of line going up and were rolling under the locked up rear going down. I only share this to show how adventurous, and stupid, I am, and to caution anyone to think twice if you get started up this track. When I finally bailed on the climb I had to walk the bike backwards down about 100ft of loose, rocky, rutted steepness to a point where I dared turn it around).
Here's a view of this section of road from below, near the start point. Look just left of center for the lazy brown "S" on the green slope near the top.
Once I got down maybe 1,500 ft and reunited with my wits, I was able to resume gawking at the beauty of it all. As usual, this year's the best ever for wild flowers.
This little excursion had more than a bit of Oz to it and this definitely looks like home.
I can recommend the Kenda K270. I really expected it to be torn up from this ride but it's not. No chunking or even ragged edges on the knobs. Next ride I'm doing something easier. Here's a few pictures from this morning on the other side at Alta.