Waiting in Provo for a set of new skins, but enough to still have a bit of fun, I found myself looking at the map of the surrounding area last night. One area caught my eye - Provo Canyon. US-189 between Heber City and Provo is an excellent road in its own right, but there is a significant amount of construction along the southern end of the reservoir that makes up part of the Wasatch Mountain State Park. Significant enough, I reckon the construction project isn't any different than all the others - your tax money will be at work for years to come.
Just south of the reservoir is SR-92 also known as the Alpine Loop. On a map of the proper scale this road is riddled with switchback after switchback going both up and down the Uinta mountains between US-189 and Timpanogos Cave National Monument. Another side road along this route is the Cascade Scenic Drive which meanders back to Cascade Springs. On the map these two roads appeared to be a couple of spectacularly fun and scenic roads. After the trip to Bruneau's Overlook the other day and given the thinness of the Strom's skins, I was just hoping these roads were paved, but knew I'd run it anyway. What the hell!
Turning onto Alpine Loop from US-189 you begin an immediate ascent along the north fork of the Provo River. There are a few houses tucked into the woods along the southern stretch, but the area is mainly a day-use area of the Uinta National Forest which means the houses stop and the trails and pull-outs begin. The road gets extremely narrow as it winds through the mountains and, expectedly, trucks and trailers greater than 30-feet long are prohibited. In places the road is extremely narrow and two opposing cars have a difficult time staying on the pavement.
The scenery is amazing. At this time of year, snow still exists on the mountain tops and all the creeks, streams, rivers and waterfalls throughout the region are flowing.
The higher you ascend, the narrower the road becomes. There are groves upon groves of aspen trees. I'm not sure why, but aspens make me feel part of the mountain. As far as I can recollect, it stems from watching Grizzly Adams as a child. He lived in and built his cabin out of aspen trees. Or at least I think he did. What the hell, this is the internet. If I say he did and put it on the internet, it must be true.
The descent down the other side of the mountains takes you right into the Timpanogos Cave National Monument. I didn't stop, but used it as a turn-around point to run the Alpine Loop again.
On the way back I wanted to run the Cascade Scenic Drive to Cascade Springs. Wasn't too sure what I'd find at the end of the road, but then I reckon that's part of why we ride - to see and experience for ourselves just what is on the other side or over the hill or at the end or to see if the road even ends. The Cascade Scenic Drive is a nicely paved two lane with a double yellow stripe all the way to the springs. Feel free to wick it up a bit on this one and enjoy the ride back.
If you're ever in the Salt Lake or Provo area, you'd be remiss to not run this road. There are several others in the immediate region that I'd like to run. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not. Either way, life is good.