Six Wasatch Resorts Mountain Bike Ride


An epic ride planned a long time ago, finally materialized. In fact, I have spent considerable time only in three resorts, Snowbird, Alta and Solitude. I touched on Park City and The Canyons while on the Wasatch Crest, and skipped Brighton, since I opted for some nice Solitude singletrack instead.
I decided to dedicate this ride to the 60th anniversary of the nazi Germany attack on Soviet Union, which was the day before, June 22. A thought to this was given to me by an NPR program I listened to while driving to the ride start. For sure self-inflicted pain such as that caused by rides like this is nothing compared to the horrors of wars. Thoughts like this were a mental boost that helped to finish the ride in good spirit.

First some facts:

Distance 85.9 km, Elevation climbed 3020 m, ride time 6 hr. 40 min, total time (including breaks) 9 hr. 40 min., drank 5 l of water and 1.5 l of sports drinks, ate 2 sandwiches and 5 granola bars.
For the non-metric barbarians, distance 53.4 miles, elevation climbed 9908 ft.

Now in more detail:

Place Ride Time Cummulative Cummulative Elevation (m) Time
Distance (km) Vertical (m)
Bottom of Big Cottonwood 0:00 0 0 1500 7:40
Start of Little
Cottonwood Pipeline 0:20 6.5 170
Top of Little
Cottonwood Pipeline 0:50 14.6 370
Start of Hidden
Peak Climb 1:30 20.3 1040 9:30
Hidden Peak 2:35 26.5 1710 3100 11:00
Mineral Basin 2:50 30.5 1710
Sugarloaf Pass 3:15 32.3 2000 12:10
Alta 3:35 38.6 2025 2500 12:35-13:00
Twin Lakes Pass 4:10 42.7 2390 2830 13:50
Solitude 4:50 50.2 2430 2370 14:45-15:10
Guardsman Rd.
Turnoff 5:00 52.5 2560
End of pavement 5:15 55.9 2703
Scotts Pass 2 5:30 57.8 2890 2810 15:50-16:00
Mill D T-head 6:20 71.1 3020 2150 17:00
Bottom of Big
Cottonwood 6:40 85.9 1500 17:20


Morning map (350 kB) - Snowbird and Alta.
Afternoon map (800 kB) - Alta to Solitude to Wasatch Crest and down Mill D fork.


It was already pretty hot when I started. The road climb up Little Cottonwood was uneventful, just spiced up a bit by a ride up Little Cottonwood Pipeline, to save my lungs and stay in shade. Also managed to pass four MT bikers and one roadie chick on the way up the road. I was already feeling my legs when I started climbing up Hidden Peak. That road is vicious, especially the lower and middle part. Several steep pitches and lot of loose rock. The last third was not that bad, more gradual switchbacks. Top of Hidden Peak is flat as a parking lot after the last year Snowbird's overhaul. Construction in Mineral Basin, which I disregarded. Seems that they are expanding towards Alta into the so far undisturbed half of the basin. Looks like there will be a highway from the bottom to Sugarloaf Pass. Trail from Mineral Basin to Sugarloaf is a mess, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood ATV club. I barely rode half of it, the rest was loose gravel that did not give any grip to my tires. Down to Alta on lift service roads, upper Alta was still wet, with water on the roads. After a nice rest at that kiosk in Alta's upper parking lot, up to Grizzly Gulch. Not as bad as Hidden Peak, but the legs were more tired, so I had to make numerous stops to regain strength and breath (surprisingly, with increasing tiredness, it seemed to me that I get out of breath quicker too). Short pitch of singletrack under Honeycomb Cliffs, small portage to the Solitude lift road and on that down to Lake Solitude. I was regretting loosing so much altitude on a messy lift road. From the lake on, singletrack Park City style all the way down to the Solitude Village, where I stopped for another cool drink. Then road climb first Big Cottonwood Road and then Guardsman. Was not as bad on the tired legs, either I was spinning right, or the Solitude drink turbocharged, or both. Passed two wussy bikers on the way to Scott's pass, and then enjoyed Wasatch Crest and Mill D descent. I even got a little shower from a weak thunderstorm on the ride down Big Cottonwood road.
Thanks to no defects and no injuries, overall positive experience. What pleases me the most is that in the whole course, I was not overtaken by a single biker ;-) Final words, one of the best epics so far, now will rest for several months and then see if I can do it again...


Click on the picture to display the original size.

foto View west to Snowbird and out of Little Cottonwood from where the dirt track to Hidden Peak starts.
foto View towards Hidden Peak from the same spot.
foto Panorama with Hidden Peak and its northern ridge from upper Peruvian Gulch.
foto View to the Hidden Peak summit from the snowbanked switchbacks.
foto View down Peruvian Gulch from the pass east of Hidden Peak.
foto View east from Hidden Peak summit.
foto View north from Hidden Peak summit.
foto View west from Hidden Peak summit.
foto Snowbird Square on the Hidden Peak Summit, wait for the mall coming in the near future. American Fork Twins in the background.
foto Mineral Basin panorama from start of the track to Sugarloaf Pass.
foto foto foto foto Several shots of the ATV destructed trail to Sugarloaf Pass.
foto View from Alta east, Albion Basin (where I came from) is on the right, Grizzly Gulch (where I was heading) on the left.
foto Refreshments kiosk in the upper Alta parking lot, where I had lunch.
foto View up to the push section above Michigan-Utah mine.
foto View west from central Grizzly Gulch (above Michigan-Utah mine).
foto View east, to Twin Lakes Pass from the upper Grizzly Gulch basin.
foto View down the canyon from the same spot.
foto View west, down Little Cottonwood, from Twin Lakes Pass.
foto View east from Twin Lakes Pass, Twin Lakes reservoir right below.
foto A little portage to a Solitude lift track.
foto View down the track from the same spot.

At this time, the memory card stopped to cooperate, for some reason, it did not save more images. The three panoramas below are from a Wasatch Crest ride I did a week before, the scenery was identical on this ride.
foto Panorama from Scotts Pass 2 south-west.
foto Panorama from Scotts Pass 2 west-north-east.
foto View down (west) towards Desolation Lake from where the trail hits the red rock.

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