Butterfield Canyon (Copper Mine Overlook)
Let's get to the bad news first: Butterfield Canyon is a
road ride, half dirt and half pavement. If it's beneath your dignity to
ride anything but singletrack, read no further. If you're looking for a
scenic ride that gives a great workout, this is your trail.
View down Butterfield Canyon, looking
towards the Wasatch Front. Photos June 16, 2002 by Bruce.
|What Butterfield Canyon offers is a steady climb from the valley floor
(5500 ft) to a peak in the Oquirrh Mountains at 9200 feet elevation,
overlooking the Bingham Canyon copper mine. The paved road rises only 1000
feet in the first 4 miles. Once you hit the dirt at mile 4.7, the climb is
over 500 vertical feet per mile. That's 3700 feet of elevation change.
Round trip, you're looking at 20 miles, but you can shorten the ride by
driving up the road and finding a spot to park.
|On the pavement, you'll rise above the typical dry oak and
brush into douglas fir, maple, and aspen. The dirt road is mostly
sun-exposed, but there are a few forested stretches. There are almost
constant views over the canyon and back down towards Salt Lake. And once
you reach Butterfield Pass, you can see into the Tooele Valley as well.
View up the road, as we ride through
aspen and fir.
||To shorten the ride, you can park at a fork in the road at
mile 4.1, GPS N 40° 29.161' W 112° 09.058'. As an alternative to the
main road, you can head up the dirt road in the bottom of the canyon.
After a couple of miles, it turns into an ATC track that leads up to a
short singletrack to Butterfield Pass. There are a few forks - just keep heading straight up
the main canyon.
View across the canyon on the ascent,
showing scrub oak, maples, aspen, and fir.
|The view over the Bingham Canyon mine is impressive. Of
course, you can drive your car up there. But you're a biker. And frankly,
you've been putting on a little weight lately, so you could use a good
hill-climbing grind-it-out bike ride like this one.
At Butterfield Pass, there are ATV tracks heading southeast
and southwest through the trees. Go ahead and explore.
View of the world's biggest hole.
||Getting there: From I-15, take the Bangerter Highway and
head west. After the highway curves north, turn left on 126th south
(traffic light and big pedestrian overpass) at mile 6.0. 126th becomes
131st. At the fire station and church in Herriman, set your odometer. At
mile 1.7 keep right as the road curves north at a fork.
| At mile 3.0, turn
left at a sign saying "Wild Horse Center." (At this point, the
road turns north - right.) Keep right at the
road fork at mile 3.1, and find a place to park on the left side of the
road just past the fork. GPS N 40° 30.803' W 112° 05.794'