|Typically Open:||05/15 - 11/15|
|Highest Elevation:||10356 feet|
|Duration:||About 2 hours 30 minutes|
|Shape of Trail:||Out & Back|
|Best Direction to Travel:||North|
|Nearest Town w/ Services:||Alpine|
|Official Road Name:||111|
|Management Agency:||Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest|
|District:||Pleasant Grove Ranger District|
Located about an hour southeast of Salt Lake City in the majestic Wasatch Mountain range is an offroad trail that offers a lot of adventure for any outdoor enthusiast. From the bottom, you get to experience some of the amazing scenery in the Wasatch National Forest and work your way up the old mining road to some of the abandoned gold and silver mines. If you look hard enough you can find iron pyrite or fools gold laying around! If you are more extreme, there have been rumors that you can get lucky panning in some of the streams. There is a story of a Jeeper who panned in one of these canyons and found just enough gold to pay for his expenses from his journey up, so who knows what you may find! All the mines you find in this area were very active gold and silver mines in the late 1800's. As you finish the trail you will also get to take in some great views of the surrounding mountains and overlook the Mineral Basin ski lift.
Dirt road. Rutted, washes, or gulches. Water crossings up to 6" depth. Passable mud. Grades up to 10 degrees. Small rocks or holes. 4WD recommended but 2WD possible under good conditions and with adequate ground clearance and skill. No width problems for any normal vehicle. Vehicle passing spots frequently available if less than two vehicles wide.Read more about our rating system
|Spring:||Trail remains closed until snowmelt is mostly gone and trail is dry.|
|Summer:||Trail is usually dry. This is the best time of year to run this trail and escape the heat of the city.|
|Fall:||This is also a good time of year to run this trail. It may be less busy.|
|Winter:||Trail closes sometime around November when the snow starts sticking.|
The trailhead is a big dirt parking lot with multiple roads branching off of it. The trailhead to Mary Ellen Gulch is the road farthest west and is marked by a white sign.
Go left! Going right will lead you to a dead end.
Changing every year, this really looks a lot scarier than it is. Stay straight and get a little off camber over the side of the hill to continue the trail. In some years, this will tilt you a lot to the downhill side, and some years it is wide enough to not even have to worry.
About half a mile into the trail you get away from the dirt road and start rolling on nothing but loose rocks. The trail also narrows quite a bit. There are places where passing another vehicle is possible but most of the time it will require you to drive on a rock or off the side of the trail a little. Be very cautious where you do this, you never know how loose rock is going to react!
From the relaxing stream running down the canyon to the stunning rock cliffs topped with beautiful pines and quaking aspen, you will not be disappointed with the sights this trail has to offer. Often you will find yourself traveling at a slower pace to take it all in and snap some great pictures.
As you work your way up the trail you will come to this fork in the road at which you can choose to go right and continue up FR 111 or go left and climb a steeper trail with no big rocks or boulders leading you to the Yankee Mines. Either way, you can get to the upper mine as these two roads connect at Waypoint 9. It is recommended to run this trail on the way back down so you get to explore all the mines along this trail.
Here you will have one of the hardest obstacles on this trail. The rock pile has boulders the size of the cooler you're packing in the back and they can change places depending on how busy the trail has been and how much runoff there is. It's not too extreme but you can still have some fun depending on your lines.
This can be another tricky obstacle if you are not careful. Choose your line carefully on this obstacle. Without the right approach and proper ground clearance, you're more than likely to get a touch on the diff from one of these fins causing you to get hung up.
At this fork, you turn right to head up to the upper mine. Coming down you can go right to explore the Yankee Mines and loop back to FR 111 at Waypoint 6.
Many people refer to this mine as Siller Bell Mine, however, there are multiple sources that label it differently. This mine is very large and travels deep into the mountain. The parking area also makes for a good photo spot looking down over the canyon below. **Please Note: Walking into old mines is very dangerous. Please do so at your own risk!**
The end of this trail used to be blocked off by large boulders. Just on the other side of the boulders is an area where you can overlook the Mineral Basin ski lift. Currently, Snowbird has purchased the entire Mary Ellen Gulch and it is unknown as to what their plans are. As of now, there are signs welcoming you into the Snowbird property as long as you are respectful and stay on the trail. For the purpose of this guide, the GPX track will end here.
Starting Point: Alpine, Utah