Touring Northern Utah on a Motorcycle.
I love to get on my motorcycle and ride. If I have a week or just a couple of hours I can't seem to get enough of the wind, the sun, the sound's, the smells, and the bugs. Utah offers many different opportunities from the steep windy mountain roads, to the flat open desert highways, to the scenic beauty of our many national parks. The terrain is vast and varied, and the highways plentiful.
The Mountains of northern Utah are some of my favorite places to ride. The Wasatch mountain range runs north to south covering almost all of the northern and eastern sections of Utah. From Salt Lake city there are many small canyon roads that lead out of the city and into the mountains. These allow you to climb from the valley floor of 4500 feet above sea level to 9,000 feet above sea level in as few as 30 miles. The roads wind up and out of the valley floor and through the mountains in almost all directions.
Here I will describe a few of my favorite places to get away from Salt Lake City for a day ride. Most of these rides are short enough for a good day trip. The 2 ride that pass through Bear Lake are longer stretching past the 300 miles in a day rule I like to follow.
East Canyon Highway 65, and 66 is a nice little ride. To get to highway 65 take the Mountain Dell exit off I-80 about 10 miles east of Salt Lake City, the road then winds north and east about 50 miles up and over the top of the mountain range and drops back down toward Morgan Utah. Highway 65 climbs up and over the mountain range following the ridge for a while then dropping down past East canyon state park and past the reservoir. Here you can take either Highway 66, or 65 to I-84. Highway 66 leads to Morgan, Utah. From Morgan you can loop back to Salt lake going east and back west down Parleys canyon on I-80 or you can go west down the canyon on I-84 into Ogden Utah and follow I-15 south to Salt Lake city.
Monte Cristoe Road.
This a yet another very nice ride. This ride is longer and can be combined with two or three other rides to make a full day of touring. Monte Cristoe Road is Highway 39 and starts at the east end of the Huntsville Utah valley. To get there you have three options, from the south take Highway 167 over trappers loop, which is very close to the top of east canyon as described in the previous section, take highway 39 up Ogden canyon, or take highway 162 up over north Ogden canyon. As a side note Highway, 162, 39, and 167 can also be combined for a nice shorter day ride to get out of the valleys and make a few turns. Once you get to the Highway 39 an head east on the Monte Cristoe road you are ion for a treat. This is a long slow windy climb that lasts for miles and miles. The road eventually ends in Woodruff UT. Which is a tiny little one gas station town near the border of Utah and Wyoming. From here you can go south on Highway 16, to Evanston, WY and then south and west on I-80 towards Salt Lake City. The longer and more scenic ride is to go North on Highway 16 to Highway 30 and then West into the Bear Lake valley. Once you get to Garden city a raspberry milkshake and a big burger are a mandatory part of the trip. From Garden city go west on Highway 89, through Logan canyon. Once again this is a nice windy canyon full of flowers, tree, wildlife and is worth taking the extra time to just tour along. Return to Salt Lake by either 1-15 or if you want to try highway 89 it's a bit more relaxed north of Ogden.
As I mentioned above Highway 89 from Logan to Bear Lake is a very nice ride. One of my absolute favorites, I have probably driven this road a 1000 or more times, each one brings back a flood of memories, or I happen to notice some new or a subtle change to the landscape or road. To make a loop out of this ride, when you get to Garden City, and after you have had the mandatory raspberry shake and burger, head north a to Ovid Idaho and then go left on Highway 36. This road will wind west and south back over the mountain pass and down into Preston, Idaho. From here follow highway 91 south back into Logan and you have successfully enjoyed two canyon passes and a nice lunch to top it all off.
That sums up a few of the nice canyon turning rides around Salt Lake City. It certainly is not all the roads available, It is basically all the fun roads north of I-80 in Northern Utah. For more nice day rides in southern and central Utah stay tuned or check my website for more information. as always Ride-safe
Park Valley is in the top north western section of Utah. A longer ride we took one day was to leave Salt Lake City on a friday night as the sun was setting, we went west on I-80 to the border of Utah and Nevada to Wendover. We spent the night at the casinos and having a good time, trying to win gas money for the ride home. We must not have won much because I don't remember us winning. From Wendover the morning we headed west on I-80 for about 30 miles to Oasis, which is an old ghost town. turn north on Highway 233. and head into the Park Valley Valley. this is some seriously wide open country. There doesn seem like there is an life or trees for miles and miles. The wide open valley contains large farm and by large I mean 1000's of acres. with a few fram houses spread around. A set of Train tracks crosses the valley in a wide sweeping track. At one place the train tracks cross, the road I was lucky enough to see a train and was forced to stop and wait. This was totally amazing I was miles from any life and saw no other traffic, yet we still topeed for the train. If you take this same route we did be absolutely sure to stop and get gas at the one and only place along the way, the tiny little gas station store in Montello. this stop was about 120 miles from Wendover and knowing the range on my Harley Davidson Fatbot is only about 130-150 miles per tank, I would not make to the next gas station. The northern park of this valley turn a lot greener and the popularion increases a bit, but the area is still wide open country. Past the city of Park Valley the the road turns east and joins I-84. We returned to Salt Lake via I-84 and made it home as the sun was starting to set. This journey was over 400 miles.
Ian Parish is an avid motorcyclists and jeeper and has been for the past 20 years. He has jumped into building a custom chopper full force and is assembling the parts and the plan, on his website MyChopperBlog.com. Check out the website to learn about building a chopper or to lend a hand. He needs all the help he can get. He is the owner of www.RedJeepClub.com and www.MyChopperBlog.com