Big Cottonwood Canyon

Looking down Big Cottonwood Canyon

I wasn’t able to spend the day on the bike with Paul today, but did get up early and take a quick ride up Big Cottonwood Canyon to check out the turning leaves. This scenic byway is about 15 miles long and only about 10 or 15 minutes away from home.

The Brighton Ski Resort is at the top of the canyon. The resort started in 1936 with a rope tow. A motorcycle ride in those days would have been aboard a Harley Knucklehead. In 1943, during WWII, Zane Doyle started to expand the resort. It’s been a fun ski and snowboard mountain (popular with the locals) for as long as I can remember. In fact, I remember night-skiing there when I was learning to ski.

Big Cottonwood Aspens

Another popular resort in the canyon is the Solitude Mountain Resort. According to the resort’s website, the origins of Solitude started with a need to visit the restroom, “The development of Solitude as a ski area is a rich anecdote. Robert M. Barrett made his fortune as a Moab uranium miner during the early 1950s, moved to Salt Lake City and took up skiing. While pursuing his passion at Alta, he was denied restroom access. The ski area used sewage tanks and was responsible for transporting waste down the canyon. Restrooms were reserved for guests so he declared he would open his own ski area. Barrett bought every piece of land available in the canyon adjacent to Alta and started construction in 1956.”

Guardsman Pass

It was a beautiful ride up the canyon. Early in the morning traffic was lite, but I did share the road with a number of bicyclists. The quaking aspen have turned to gold and the air was crisp, but shooting up the canyon was a blast. Only minutes away from downtown Salt Lake City, it’s a beautiful ride to Guardsman Pass and back.

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