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Northern Utah Gravel Options

1871 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  johno_slc
After an 9-year absence, I’ve been bit by the bug again and am planning to ride the Crusher in the Tushars in July ‘22. Unfortunately the past 8 years have included massive stress, so I’m 40 pounds overweight and have probably lost half my cycling power. So I have already started training, and I’ve just built out a gravel bike. With that, I’m keen on finding some good, long gravel rides at lower elevation in the Northern Utah area. Given my conditioning, I definitely need to start out flat, so rides like Farmington to Bountiful via Skyline, or up and over Butterfield into Tooele aren’t an option right yet.

So… suggestions for good, relatively level gravel rides on the longer side (20 miles or more) within an hour of Salt Lake City or Ogden?

There are shorter gravel rides, like the flatter loop around Antelope or the East side trail from Fielding Garr Ranch to the southern tip of Antelope, but I’m looking for options I can ride where I can just put my head down and churn the cranks for an extended period, easpecially late fall and early spring. Looking forward to your suggestions!

And yes, I’m planning on visiting the STG area monthly for a long weekend. I need options more north for the other three weekends.

I can think of a few to get us started:
  • Delle: the Wild Horse does a nice 35 mile loop out to the west and back, lightly trafficked. Some elevation gain but I can prob grind away at it.
  • Plenty of flat gravel out by Simpson Springs on the Pony Express Trail—anything west of Five Mile Pass (bonus: the West Desert is often snow-free during winter)
  • East side of Promontory Point (road dead ends just around the southern tip), although there is occasional heavy truck traffic.
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Up by Park city there's the East Canyon road out and back from Jeremy ranch to East Canyon Reservoir. About 15 miles out and back, a couple very low hills.
Also, the rail trail from Park City to Echo Canyon out and back 46 miles. Low steady climb from reservoir to Park City
A bit further west is the Silver Island scenic byway Silver Island Mountains Backcountry Byway (BCB) | Bureau of Land Management
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And today was officially new bike day! I specced out and built a 1x10 on a Niner RLT frame. The orange is a shout out to my son, who’s beaten leukemia twice now. Microsoft 1x10 with a 34 up front and an 11-48 in back. I climbed a 23% grade today at about 70 rpm.

Other than the leaky “recycled” cross tire, it rides like a dream. Picked up new rim tape today so hopefully I’m not stopping (literally) every two miles to pump up the tire, lol… Amix of new, used, and recycled parts from my parts bin, including a new Microshift Advent X drivetrain I collected over 3 months thanks to supply chain issues.

Hope to see you on the gravel! Thanks for the gravel tips, too.

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Anyone who might be interested, I am riding the Little Wild Horse tomorrow (Thu Nov 10). I'll be parked at the west end of the gas station parking lot (reddish Ford pickup), hit the road at 8 am sharp. No idea what my average speed is but I won't be offended if you take off if I'm too slow.

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Just as a follow-up… I ended up riding he Little Wild Horse route on the 12th of November. It was just as epic as I remember! The route is mostly gravel road, a lot of hard pack. Once you clear the pass, though, the road is really broken. Loads of sharp rocks. I burped my back tire the same place I flatted when I did the race 3-4 years ago. Still it was a fantastic day in spite of the mechanical. I’ll definitely be back, at least until the snow covers the route.
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