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Utah

Quality, Not Quantity

Published online: Nov 18, 2007 Feature
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Utah isn't the biggest state in the West (it ranks 10th overall among the 12 western states) nor does it have the most miles of groomed trails (dead last in that category in states where there is a grooming program).

Utah is going for the quality, not quantity thing when it comes to snowmobiling.

While the Beehive State may not have the biggest or most when it comes to some things pertaining to snowmobiling, it does beat other states in one all important category: snow.

Here Utah is all about quantity and quality. It's light, dry and deep. There isn't much to tarnish Utah's image of the Greatest Snow On Earth.

That's just one of the reasons you'd be hard pressed to find any better snowmobiling in the West.

You can find varying amounts of snow (upwards of 500-plus inches just minutes from Salt Lake City) all across Utah as the state's snowbelt stretches from the Utah/Idaho border in the north nearly all the way (within 40 miles) to the Arizona/Utah border in the south. The western edge is about the only place in the state where snowmobilers might turn up their noses-and that's only because when they look to the east, there's mountains galore, including the Wasatch Range and High Uintas.

Most mountain ranges run north and south through Utah and can be accessed by nearly, 1,200 miles of state-groomed trails. Riding starts out at about 6,000 feet and tops out between 12,000-13,000 feet.

The State of Utah has labeled its riding areas complexes and there are nine separate systems to explore in the state. Those complexes include (starting in the north): Hardware Ranch/Monte Cristo/Logan Canyon or Cache Valley; Mirror Lake/Currant Creek; Uinta Basin; Wasatch Mountain State Park; Strawberry; Skyline Drive; Ephraim/Manti/Joe's Valley/Ferron; Fishlake; and Cedar Mountain/East Fork (also known as Duck Creek).

Those are the well defined snowmobile trail systems. Excellent trail maps help you figure out where you are. But if you don't want to ride the established trail systems, then use the trails to get to Utah's excellent backcountry riding, which can be had from any of the nine complexes.

The state's backcountry riding is another feature that sets it apart from others-lots and lots of boondocking and wide open country riding.

There are also a handful of other riding areas that aren't as well publicized, but offer just as much fun. One of those areas includes the Stansbury Mountain Range, west of Salt Lake City, near Tooele. There are more than a half-dozen trails/roads here sledders can ride on. Then, in Davis County, north of Salt Lake City, there are roads near Bountiful, Centerville and Farmington where snowmobilers can access great backcountry riding. Another area is in southwestern Utah, south of Interstate 70 on the Utah/Colorado border in La Sal Mountains in the Manti-La Sal National Forest.

Further to the south and a little to the west of the La Sal Mountains is another popular area for riding, near Dark Canyon Lake, as well as Gold Basin, although snowmobiles aren't allowed to leave the road in Gold Basin. Farther south are the Abajo Mountains, where some snowmobiling takes place.

This is mentioned in the Wyoming state section, but another great riding area in Utah is accessed via Evanston, WY, where you head south on the Mirror Lake Highway and ride the Uintas. You can get there from the south, like from the Kamas area, but gas would get pretty low (or bone dry) by the time you went up and over the pass on Mirror Lake Highway. This is high elevation riding in awesome powder.

One nice perk of riding the Duck Creek area is that you can sled (stay on the road) through Cedar Breaks National Monument. Cedar Breaks is a smaller national park (about 6,154 acres and only about six miles across), but is famous for its' huge natural amphitheater which extends 2,000 feet deep and over three miles in diameter. There is one trail available for snowmobilers. The ungroomed snowmobile trails follow highways 148 and 143 through the monument. On the way to the monument, snowmobilers will pass the impressive Point Supreme (10,350 feet).

 

Guide             

Utah Travel Council www.Utah.com

Road Conditions 866-511-8824

Utah Snowmobile Association www.snowut.com

Groomed Trails 1,200

Number of Registered Snowmobiles 27,894

Highest Point Kings Peak (13,528 ft)

Greatest Average Annual Snowfall Alta 516.3 in.

Record Winter Snowfall Alta 846.8 in.

Coldest Recorded Temperature Peter's Sink minus-69 degrees F

 

Cache Valley

Elevation 6,500-10,000

Snowfall 400 inches

Groomed Trails 185 miles

Full-Service Town Logan, Smithfield, Garden City, Hyrum

Nearest Airport Salt Lake City (45 miles)

Information Cache Valley Visitors Bureau 800-882-4433

 

Mirror Lake Snowmobile Complex

Elevation 7,000-13,500

Snowfall 67-150 inches

Groomed Trails 150 miles

Full-Service Town Kamas, Heber City

Nearest Airport Salt Lake City (45 miles)

Information Mountainland Travel Region 801-229-3800

 

Uinta Basin Snowmobile Complex

Elevation 6,000-10,000

Snowfall 150-200 inches

Groomed Trails 92 miles

Full-Service Town Vernal

Nearest Airport Vernal

Information Dinosaurland Travel Region 800-477-5558

 

Wasatch Mountain Snowmobile Complex

Elevation 7,000-9,000

Snowfall 150 inches

Groomed Trails 60 miles

Full-Service Town Midway, Heber City

Nearest Airport Salt Lake City (45 miles)

Information Mountainland Travel Region 801-229-3800

 

Strawberry Valley

Elevation 7,000-9,000

Snowfall 100-150 inches

Groomed Trails 207 miles

Full-Service Town Heber City

Nearest Airport Salt Lake City (45 miles)

Information Mountainland Travel Region 801-229-3800

 

Scofield/Skyline Drive Snowmobile Complex

Elevation 6,000-12,000

Snowfall 100-150 inches

Groomed Trails 89 miles

Full-Service Town Price, Fairview

Nearest Airport Salt Lake City (95 miles)

Information Castle Country Travel Region 800-842-0789

 

Ephraim/Manti/Ferron/Joe's Valley Snowmobile Complex

Elevation 6,000-10,000

Snowfall 150 inches

Groomed Trails 61 miles

Full-Service Town Ephraim, Manti

Nearest Airport Salt Lake City (117 miles)

Information Castle Country Travel Region 800-842-0789

 

Fishlake Snowmobile Complex

Elevation 6,000-11,500

Snowfall 150-175 inches

Groomed Trails 135 miles

Full-Service Town Richfield, Salina, Beaver

Nearest Airport Cedar City (111 miles)

Information Panoramaland Travel Region 800-748-4361

 

Duck Creek/Cedar Mountain/East Fork

Elevation 8,000-11,000

Snowfall 150-250 inches

Groomed Trails 97 miles

Full-Service Town Duck Creek, Cedar City, Ruby's Inn

Nearest Airport Cedar City (25 miles)

Information Color Country Travel Region 800-233-8824