Take a trip to the East Side
July 5, 2011
Some people live in the Park City area for decades and never venture to the East Side, except to pass through on the way to somewhere else. For people here on vacation, or locals looking for something fresh to do this week, the East Side offers special events, fun restaurants and loads of natural beauty to explore.
Kamas, Francis and Woodland
Kamas City’s big summer events take place around the July 24 holiday and are called Fiesta Days. This year the festivities run from July 21 to 23, and are expected to be bigger than usual as the city celebrates its centennial this year.
But you’ll find people recreating in Kamas all summer. It is nicknamed, "Gateway to the Uintas."
Kamas is home to several popular and award-winning restaurants can be found along Main Street serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Dori Snyder of Kamas said the drive to the Mirror Lake is a little too far for her liking. The first couple of lakes including Trial, Washington and Lost are her favorites for fishing. Campgrounds are plentiful, but access is limited this month as snowpack continues to melt. Contact the U.S. Forest Service at 435-783-4338 for details.
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Cyclists swarm the Kamas Valley every summer enjoying long, scenic routes on rural roads. State Road 32 through Kamas and Oakley is popular, but there is no shoulder. Democrat Alley on the West side of the valley has less traffic. The route over Wolf Creek Pass that starts in Francis is also popular.
A popular scenic drive is the Wolf Creek Pass through Woodland all the way to Duchesne County. The quaint towns of Tabiona, Hanna and Duschene are great stopping points. The Tabby Mountain Ranch is an elk farm near Tabiona. Instead of turning back, head south to connect with U.S. 40 and return to Summit County through Wasatch County passing Strawberry Reservoir.
Near Francis, the Rock Cliff campground is popular, but the nature center was closed due to state budget cuts.
Francis resident Susan Moses said many people park at the Francis rodeo grounds to take bicycles or motorbikes up S.R. 35 or to access the surrounding hills.
"My son and daughter-in-law do that ride a lot," she said.
There are also campgrounds along that route, but again, call the Forest Service for availability.
Oakley and Peoa
The towns of Oakley and Peoa can be accessed either by driving north from Kamas or traveling through Brown’s Canyon from S.R. 248, which is also a popular route for cyclists.
Woodenshoe Park in Peoa is home to free Mountain Town Music concerts every Friday starting July 8 at 6:30 p.m.
For meals or snacks, visitors and locals often stop by the Oakley Polar King or Ken’s Cash Store. The Road Island Diner at the mouth of the Weber Canyon is the recipient of numerous awards for its historical restoration of an original train-car diner.
The Weber Canyon Road is also popular for cycling and scenic drives. The Smith Moorehouse Reservoir in the canyon has fishing and camping.
Oakley Mayor Blake Frazier estimates the area has over 200 camp sites most accommodating RVs. He enjoys riding ATVs to Mud Lake Flat above the reservoir, or turning east at the Kamas Valley Co-op in Marion and riding up to Hoyt’s Peak.
Most visitors to Oakley take advantage of the community’s excellent equestrian facilities and parks, he said.
"We have a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything," he said.
The Weber River flows through Oakley. River rafting expeditions are available, contact a local Visitors Center for more information.
Wanship and Hoytsville
Rockport State Park lies between Peoa and the tiny community of Wanship.
The reservoir is popular for boating and fishing and there are numerous camping sites.
Hoytsville is the name of the community that spans the North Summit valley from Wanship to Coalville. Its rural roads are also popular for cycling and are dotted with unique ranches raising llamas, alpacas, dairy cows, mink and award-winning horses.
alville, Echo and Henefer
Coalville is the county seat and hasn’t been home to a coal miner in decades. Most of its tourism business comes from people visiting Echo Reservoir and State Park.
Navee Vernon is a long-time North Summit resident and recommends the county’s driving tours through Echo Canyon and into the Uinta Mountains. Call 435-336-3200 for more details.
She also enjoys scenic drives up Chalk Creek Road to the town of Upton and then on to Evanston and back through Echo Canyon.
The Coalville City Super Cruise Car Show is July 9 on Main Street at 1 p.m. and will feature food vendors, live music, fireworks and an anticipated 9,000 visitors. According to the city offices, it is one of the largest car shows in Utah.
Mountain Town Music is also holding free Friday-night concerts on Main Street in a pocket park across from Bunny’s Club starting at 6:30 p.m.
The Courthouse on Main Street is home to the Summit County Historical Museum open normal business hours Monday through Friday.
The town of Echo is located north of the junction between I-80 and I-84 and only accessible from Echo Canyon Road.
The town and canyon are a must-see for history buffs. Echo Canyon was a main transportation corridor for wildlife and American Indians for millennia before the Mormon Pioneers, the Pony Express and later the Union Pacific used it to enter Utah.
The canyon’s orange sandstone walls create the echo that inspired the name. In the 1850s, a standoff with the U.S. Army in the canyon aided a peaceful resolution of the Utah War. A Visitor’s Center halfway up can give more suggestions.
The Echo Church is staffed by a volunteer and is usually open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, but call ahead at 435-336-5642. Two cafes are periodically open for service.
The town of Henefer is a good place to access East Canyon Road to East Canyon Reservoir and State Park. The road also follows the Mormon Trail, eventually leading to Emigration Canyon.
"That’s beautiful right now; it’s so green and pretty," Vernon said.
At the reservoir, drivers or cyclists can take Jeremy Ranch Road back to the Snyderville Basin or S.R. 65 to Mountain Dell Reservoir and then to Emigration Canyon or Parleys Canyon down to Salt Lake City.