Park City Scenic Drives
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Park City Scenic Drives
Mirror Lake Byway
Mirror Lake Highway, one of Utah's most scenic mountain roads, begins in the town of Kamas, about 15 miles from Park City. This byway snakes through the Uinta Mountains, past numerous lakes and streams, over Bald Mountain Pass (elevation 10,700 ft), through beautiful forest, and ends in Evanston Wyoming.
Numerous campgrounds and hiking trails are found along this route. Wildlife is also commonly seen from the roadway and the trails.
Guardsman Pass Scenic Backway
If you're looking for beautiful mountain scenery, you can't beat this backcountry drive, which connects Park City to Brighton (and thus the Salt Lake Valley) or to Midway (in Heber Valley). The road surface is paved much of the way, but the middle portion is maintained gravel. You can drive the route in a family car. Be aware that it is steep, has washboards in areas, and can become treacherous during major storms, even during summer.
This road is not plowed during winter - this is a summer/fall outing. During summer it takes you past fields of wildflowers, flanked by evergreens, aspen trees and other lush mountain foliage. The scenery is most spectacular during fall, when the aspens turn orange/yellow and oaks radiate hues of red.
Road signs are posted at all key junctions and so it's easy to follow the route. Bring your camera because there are scenic turnouts around almost every bend. You'll be able to see out over the Brighton Ski Resort area, Park City/Snyderville Basin, or Heber Valley (depending on which fork you follow).
To get on the road from Park City, just follow Prospect Street through the old part of town and then continue south into the mountains. Prospect turns into Hwy 224 - the Guardsman Pass Road. You'll quickly climb into the mountaintops, past ski lifts and condo developments.
On top the mountains the country opens up and you'll have majestic views in all directions. At the pass the elevation is about 9,700 feet above sea level.
A few miles down the road you'll come to a fork. Go right if you want to get to Brighton (Salt Lake Valley), or left if you want to get to Midway) Heber Valley.
On the Brighton side the road connects with Hwy 190 at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, just below Brighton Ski Resort.
On the Midway side the road comes passes through upper areas of Wasatch Mountain State Park and then continues down into town.
Total drive time (one way) is about one hour. You'll probably want to take longer, to stop for photos and perhaps a picnic along the route.
There are facilities and services in Park City, Brighton and Midway, but none along the route.
People travel the road frequently, and is patrolled by the local sheriffs' deputies.
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