PERFECT DAY OF RIDING #1
Mirror Lake & Bald Mountain
For our friends who like a little less technical and a more family friendly ride you'll get to enjoy the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway. This Scenic Byway is on the federal registry and is known as one of the most beautiful in the West. It stretches approximately 80 miles from Kamas, Utah to Evanston, Wyoming. It is named after the incredible Mirror Lake.
From The Cabins at Bear River Lodge take the groomed highway south for 15 miles before arriving at your first stop – the Highline Trail and Butterfly Lake. From this vantage point you see the tops of literally millions of tall pines and spruce covered in snow. If there is a more beautiful winter site, we are not aware of it.
Next, descend off the highway to Mirror Lake. It is fun to ride out on the frozen lake. Our mountain lakes freeze in layers. The ice builds up several inches thick and then the water gets on top of the ice and freezes again, and again. Eventually the ice on these mountain lakes will be several feet thick.
We have taken several television crews ice fishing to some of these high mountain lakes. They have made several episodes of winter ice fishing, showing off the trout in these lakes.
From Mirror Lake continue your journey on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway to Bald Mountain. Sitting at over 10,000 feet above sea level, the Bald Mountain overlook is the highest point on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway. Snow level at this point can be significant. In 2019, we rode snowmobiles to this point of the Highway on June 28. You will notice from the photo below, one of us wore shorts. It is the latest we have snowmobiled the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway in our 22-year history. Generally, the snow melts off in early June and aided by snow plows the Highway is usually open for the Memorial Day Holiday.
PERFECT DAY OF RIDING #2
Boy Scout Mountain, Mill Creek and Elizabeth Ridge
This incredible ride is one of our more technically difficult rides. It requires a lot of getting up on your feet, leaning from side to side, and maneuvering your machine through the dense trees, side hills, and short mountain climbs.
Your first challenge is the climb up Boy Scout Mountain. As the winter progresses and the snow piles up, the riding on the side hills becomes more and more challenging. Some days it takes most several tries and a few hours to conquer this mountain. However, you arrive at the top and get to survey the views, it is worth the effort.
Descending off this mountain you arrive at the old Tie Hack Cabin from our summer rides. This old cabin reminds us that this area was home to many mountain men workers about a century ago.
Now get to practice your technical riding as you wind your way down the Millcreek Valley through rolling hills and lots of trees. The only way to describe this ride is pure fun. This is where you get to learn to carve your snowmobile through the deep snow and thick trees.
Continue the technical riding as you cross Elizabeth Ridge heading south. Again, this is as much fun as you can have on a snowmobile. Arriving at the far south end of Elizabeth Ridge you get to see one of the greatest views in the forest. Stop here year-round on our summer and winter rides. You are looking down into the West Fork of the Blacks Fork River Wilderness Area. It looks like Jurassic Park. This valley has not changed since the world was formed. It is absolutely stunning. You are not allowed to ride machines or even take a bicycle into this incredible wilderness area. It remains the way it was created.
You do, however, get to play around in the large open meadows on Elizabeth Ridge before you descend on the southwest corner. Hang on and trust us. You actually have to drop off this ridge without being able to see what is below. You descend quickly for about 75 feet before the bottom of the canyon opens up to our view. It is an incredible rush. Trust us and give it the gas.
PERFECT DAY OF RIDING #3
Gold Hill, Whitney Reservoir, and Double Hill
This is by far our most popular ride. It offers everything to the snowmobiler who likes to get off trail and experience the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains.
To start this ride, we like to quote Sandra Bullock from the movie the Bird Box. We don’t get it exactly right, but our speech goes something like this.
“We are going on a journey. It is going to be very, very difficult and sometimes it is going to get scary. You must listen to everything we say. You must do exactly as we say, or we will not make it. Do you understand? Do you understand?”
Warm up by riding down the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway for about 6 miles. From here you leave the groomed trail for the rest of the day. Heading west up a draw between two hills follow a stream bed and work your way through the willows and over the beaver dams until we come to your first hill climb. This short steep hill seems nearly vertical to the beginner but soon everyone gains the confidence to make it over. If not, no worries, we have a work around that is a little less steep and can accommodate even beginners.
Now find yourself at the top of the Mill City Creek valley and the base of Gold Hill. Again, the views from this hilltop are stunning. Continue west as you climb higher and higher. Winding your way through trees and over hills we find ourselves looking over Whitney Reservoir. We then descend a very steep hill through lots of spruce and pines until we reach the reservoir. From here we cross over Beaver Lake and arrive at the base of Double Hill. Double Hill is the largest snowmobile climbing hill in our area. The experienced and brave of heart will try to top this incredible hill. The rest of us will circle around to the north and climb the much easier north slope.
Arriving at the top of Double Hill provides one of the most all-encompassing views in the forest. To the west you can see the ski runs of Park City, Utah. To the east you'll see another one of our favorite rides – Elizabeth Ridge. To the north is Moffit Basin and to the southeast is the tallest peak in Utah – King’s Peak.
From this majestic mountaintop you descend to the Whitney Ranger Station where you can sit down by a fire and enjoy your sack lunches. You spend the rest of the day, backtracking through these incredible sites and playing in the open meadows and practicing your climbing skills on the many hills.