As a snowmobiler driving south down Interstate 15 in Utah
you can’t help but gaze off to the east and think about the riding to be had in
the Wasatch Mountains.
As you get closer to Salt
Lake City the thoughts of riding are turned to
concentrating on the road in front of you and the race-like atmosphere. The
concentration of houses and businesses as you approach Salt Lake City almost erases the thought that
riding even remotely close to I-15 was ever an option.
Perhaps, though, there are times we should just slow down, take
in the surrounding area and realize that past the hurry of everyday life there great
things to be had and they can be right out the back door of some people’s back
door—even in the big city.
So, 10 minutes off I-15 in Bountiful, a city immediately to
the north of Salt Lake City, you head up the hill and through some quaint neighborhoods
to a large trailhead that sits up the at about the height of the highest homes.
From the trailhead a great view of the valley below can be seen.
As you leave the trailhead, which sits at the bottom of Skyline Drive, you
are on a one-lane road traveling directly behind several houses. This is one of
the few trails that we know of that leave straight from suburbia. The road
itself is cut into the mountain side and wanders in a northerly direction
through the scrub oak for several miles while you catch views of the valley
below, courtesy of several switchbacks.
Hang A Right
At an unmarked place in the road you will take a hard right
traveling up a steep hill to the top of the ridge. As a side note, the road
continues on for a ways and makes for a nice trail ride.
Once on the ridge you ride the ridge line to the south riding
with the Wasatch Front on one side and the Morgan and Ogden canyons on the
other side (east). One thing that will really catch your eye is the Great Salt Lake off to the west—especially when the sun
hits it just right and it seems to glitter in every direction.
While on the ridge line caution needs to be exercised so that
you stay on the ridge top and not venture too far off the ridge one way or the
other. A lot of the canyons that go to the east and west cannot be followed out
and cannot be climbed out of, which means stay on the main ridge while
traveling to the south.
The day we rode the ridgeline above Bountiful the snow got deeper and deeper the
farther south we went. When we got onto the ridge top there was about six
inches of new snow but by the time we got back there a ways we were into four
feet of new snow.
The ridge itself starts out pretty bare with the exception
of a few patches of quakies to ride through. Riding deeper into the area you
start to get into a thicker stands of trees consisting of pines and quakies.
The terrain starts to vary a little and you start to lose the defined ridge line.
The area turns hilly with technical tight climbs, open bowls to play in and
tight trees to boondock through.
The Next Great Spot
This area is not as big as some other areas you might be
used to so riding here usually consists of playing in an area for a little
while and then moving on, working your way farther south each time.
While traveling from one area to the next there is a lot of
sidehilling that you have to negotiate, along with areas where you have to
travel along ridge lines that must be followed because there isn’t any option
of leaving the ridge on one side or the other. A lot of the ridges flow into
canyon bottoms which can make for dangerous terrain traps if you were to get
stuck in the bottom. Just take a look at a topo map of the Wasatch Mountains
above Bountiful and Salt Lake City and you’ll see dozens and
dozens of canyons.
One of the riders in our group, Mike from Tri-City Performance
in Centerville, UT, told us that although there has never been a fatality in
this area due to avalanches, it is an area that is very prone to them and the
terrain can lead to bad situations. The boys at Tri-City ought to know as this
is their backyard and they ride here regularly.
The mountains and ridges above Bountiful
and the Salt Lake Valley
can be challenging and dropping into one of the many bowls means you are committed.
This is an area where towing out is not an option and having your sled run in
top condition is a must.
We were told by a rider that frequents the area that there
is a community tool box just in case someone needs an extra tool.
Further back in this stretch of the Wasatch Mountains
you will find every type of terrain and riding condition. You will find open
bowls without a tree on it, open meadows and trees to boondock in. The only
type of riding you won’t find is a groomed trail. That’s fine by us, especially
when the snow conditions are like what we experienced in the Wasatch Mountains.
The thing that we think makes this area so interesting is
the fact that the area is so close to the hustle and bustle of a major city yet
it seems unreal that you are even where you are.
Riding here allows you to get above it all.
to 8,600 feet
Miles of Groomed
Nearest Airport Salt Lake City (14 miles)
Getting Started Davis Area Convention and
Visitors Bureau (888) 777-9771
Getting There Off
Interstate 15, take the Bountiful 400 North exit. Head east to 1300 East then
on to 600 North (continues east) to Skyline Drive and continue on to Eagle Ridge Drive
(1500 East) then south for 1/4 mile to the large trailhead parking area.
Getting Around BYOS—bring
your own snowmobile. There are snowmobile dealerships in Centerville and Woods Cross.
Bedding Down There
is a variety of lodging options all over the valley. Contact the Davis Area CVB
at the number listed above.
Eating Out Just
as with lodging, there are numerous eating establishments scattered across the
valley. Contact the Davis