The Union Pacific Rail Trail brought us to this part of Utah, and we got the perfect day to ride it. This 28-mile, mostly unpaved rail-trail follows the route of a historical railroad line that transported coal and silver ore during the region's mining heyday in the 1860s. The trail runs from Echo Reservoir, a few miles north of where we were staying in Coalville, to Park City.
On this weekday, we had the trail practically to ourselves and pedaled from Coalville to Park City and back. Including riding around in Park City, this was a 47-mile bike ride.
The morning started off bright and sunny but a bit chilly, so extra layers were in order. as we headed south out of Coalville.
But it didn't take long for the sun to warm us up, and a stop to peel off the extra layers was in order. The trail gradually rises in elevation on the way to Park City, so riding from Coalville is a nice workout without being too strenuous.
The first trailhead we arrived at was Wanship, a small dot on the map now that used to be the county seat.
Continuing on, the trail runs between the two sides of the interstate highway through Silver Creek Canyon. The scenery was gorgeous on this part of the trail with wildflowers and early fall foliage all around us.
The next trailhead is in Promontory. By the time we reached this point, the wind had really picked up and would be a factor for the rest of the ride (sometimes in our favor, sometimes not). But we couldn't worry about that now as Park City beckoned in the distance.
We passed by a large field where helicopter drills were being performed. Look closely to see a man being dropped onto the field.
This part of the trail went through farm country, so there were several cattle gates to open and close.
As we approached Park City, the last several miles of the trail were paved. We turned into the wind at this point, so we appreciated the faster surface under our wheels.
We're not in the boonies any more!
There was a huge bike shop right by the trailhead. If you're ever visiting the area and want to rent a bike, here's the place to come!
Park City has a nice network of paved bike paths, so we continued onward to see a bit of the city. Everything was very lush and pretty, with fall foliage in the hills behond. This football field where we stopped to eat a snack was in a city park.
It's a climb into downtown, and the main downtown street goes up up up steeply for several blocks. It was very charming and colorful but obviously a tourist mecca, as everything was so clean and tidy that it almost looked like a Disney set. It was almost too perfect in a way, like it had just been constructed in the last year.
Maybe I was just cranky from all the climbing, but for whatever reason, Park City didn't appeal to me quite the way some other western cities have (like Jackson, Wyoming, for instance). It is, however, very appealing to many, especially during ski season. I bet with white snow all around, these cheerful colors really liven up the landscape.
There's a free downtown trolley -- a nice touch.
We stopped in at Java Cow for a treat. Barry went for ice cream, while I chose a cold coffee drink. I figured I could use the caffeine for the return trip.
Fortified, we headed back through town and this colorful tunnel on the bike path.
Along the way, I particularly liked these metal fish sculptures. Very creative!
On the way back, the downhill section through the canyon was fast and fun. All in all, this was a great trail and so much fun to ride, with beautiful Utah scenery to boot.
Stay tuned as next we head east to Dinosaur National Monument, a very special spot!
After spending a good long time in beautiful Wyoming, after Labor Day, Pearl finally took us to a new state (for her): Utah! We had made reservations a couple of days ahead of time at Holiday Hills RV Park, solely so that we could ride the historic Union Pacific Rail Trail, and we're so glad we did. It was amazing!
But first, a little about the park. It was actually behind a motel in the small town of Coalville and nicer than I expected. The park offers full hookup sites for $29.10 per night with the Good Sam discount. We took advantage of their inexpensive laundry facilities, which at $1.25 for a wash and $1.00 for a dry were a great deal. They only have two of each machine, but the washers were huge!.
The park is right off the interstate for easy in and out, but there was some road noise, which is really our only "ding" on this park. There's a small convenience store where we checked in, and the town of Coalville and the rail trail are only about 1/4 mile away, on the other side of the interstate.
Someone does need Spellcheck, though!
All the sites are pull-through but are basically just parking places alongside the road, We got lucky, as some sites had full sun and very small grassy areas alongside. Our site was nicely shaded and backed up to a beautiful grassy "back yard" right along Holiday Creek. With plenty of shade trees and cows in the field behind, it was serene and peaceful, just the type of rural setting that we love.
Here's the view from our site.
There were lots of birds around, especially the Magpies that are so common in this part of the country (but still a bit exotic to us). And this massive platform nest, which might be an Osprey nest. There is plenty of water around, so that wouldn't be too surprising, though we never saw one.
Although we hated to leave, we needed to be moving along, so finally bid Grand Teton National Park a fond farewell. Our next stop would be a short one, just one night, as we already had reservations for the two nights after that in a spot where we wanted to ride a particular rail-trail. For our one night, we drove south to a small but very nice national forest campground, Allred Flat.
On the way, the foliage was really getting nice. This was just the day after Labor Day so quite early by our standards, coming from the east and midwest.
Allred Flat Campground is in the Bridger National Forest off Highway 89, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It is a lovely spot, though, very peaceful and quiet. When we arrived, we were surprised to see that there was not another soul there. This is one of the only times we've had this experience in a campground, and we love it when it happens. Since this campground doesn't take reservations, we could choose from all the sites!
This campground is rustic and has no hookups. There are vault toilets and old timey hand-crank water pumps. Driving around the gravel loop, it was fairly tight, and there were a few overhanging trees, so it wouldn't be suitable for rigs much larger than ours (32'9" Class A).
Our night cost us just $5 (half price) with Barry's Senior Pass.. We chose site 28 and pulled in facing the front, rather than backing in, which put the picnic table and "patio" area on the correct side of Pearl. It was such a nice spot to sit outside, with nothing but woods and birds around us.
Here I am at the very old timey water pump. It was actually hard to crank and took far more than the 25 turns the sign purports (more like 100!), so this photo was just for laughs -- Barry did the actual pumping!
A bit later, another motorhome did come into the campground. They didn't even drive around the loop but took the very first site. They probably didn't want to risk the overhanging branches and tight road. There were only the two of us there for the night!
Oh, but there was wildlife keeping us company as well. We saw mule deer when we first arrived, and then later in the evening. Barry actually saw a whole herd!
There were also plenty of birds, of course, including this one that Barry caught crossing the road, probably a Ruffed Grouse.
There wasn't much in the way of cycling here, since the campground is right off the highway, but Barry rode his mountain bike around the gravel campground road. The road is quite hilly, making for a good workout for heart, lungs, and legs.
We enjoyed our brief stay here in this hidden gem of a campground and wished we could have stayed longer. But the next morning, we were Utah bound!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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