Salt Lake Valley’s roads are dry most of the year, making it a year-round road-cyclists’ city. Head for the mountains for a challenging climb, but even when some mountain roads are impassable, a properly dressed road biker can crank out mile after mile in the valley in relative comfort, even in winter. Of course, summer is the best time to head for the hills, and we’re surrounded by them. Higher altitude means cooler temperatures and, generally, better views.
Just 6.5 miles from downtown Salt Lake City, Emigration Canyon is without a doubt the most popular road ride, offering a challenging climb and mind-blowing views at the top.
There are plenty of things to see along the way, as well: Utah’s Hogle Zoo, trailheads, and a couple of Utah’s famous diners (including Ruth’s). But crowd-averse cyclists should skip this classic ride, especially on weekends, which see countless Lycra-clad adventurers.
When John Cougar wrote “Hurts So Good”, he might have been talking about riding a road bike up Little Cottonwood Canyon. The road climbs 2500 vertical feet in about 7 miles, and you’ll feel every one of them. But the views are amazing all the way up, the ride back down is a blast, and the bragging rights are priceless.
For low-altitude riding, Wasatch Boulevard fits the bill with gentle, rolling terrain, long flat stretches, and awesome views of the Wasatch Mountains. It’s a recommended route for beginner/intermediate cyclists as well as racers-in-training, as you can zip along the foot of the mountains at a good clip in both directions.
Races: East Canyon-Echo Road Race
Groups: Bonneville Cycling Club
Retailers: Guthrie Bicycle