Hikes with Hal explore Park City’s past | ParkRecord.com

Hikes with Hal explore Park City’s past

by Tracie Fails, of the Record staff

Parkites can brush up on city history while catching up on their exercise starting today, June 30, with the Park City Historical Society’s "Hikes with Hal."

This summer, Research historian Hal Compton will lead four hikes to historically significant landmarks and former mine sites.

Compton designed the tours primarily to inform and enlighten participants about Park City history, but he is quick to emphasize that the excursions are physical as well as intellectual.

"This isn’t a walk," he says. "It’s a hike. We’re not taking it easy."

The hikes will become gradually more difficult throughout the summer, with the first covering four to five miles of intermediate terrain at Glencoe Canyon. Compton will take his troop to the Star of Utah, through the Glencoe Mines and eventually to the Mayflower Lift at Deer Valley, which looks down on the Heber Valley.

"Then we end up where we started," Compton said. The approximate time to complete the loop is four and a half hours. Highlights include scenes from the 1998 movie, "Mark Twain’s America," and former mine locations.

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Because part of the hike crosses private property, Saturday’s tour will be the last through Glencoe Canyon. Compton said the property owner’s attorney allowed Saturday’s trek to continue, but "that will be it," he said. He added that the intrusion was unintentional. "We don’t want to trespass," he said. The remaining hikes are all on public land.

The second hike, to take place July 29, starts at Guardsman Pass. Compton will take hikers through Empire Canyon to visit four mines, including Daly West Mine, the site of the worst mining disaster in Park City history, in which 34 miners were killed.

"The shaft and frame from the mine are still there," Compton said.

The third, scheduled Aug. 18, takes a more difficult route from Guardsman Pass to Scott’s Pass and the Iowa Copper Mines. The tour will also visit, for the first time, the Silver King Mine.

"There are some beautiful views of Big Cottonwood Canyon through there," Compton said.

The series concludes with the Lakes of Bonanza Flat hike on Sunday, Sept. 9. The historically popular tour covers five lakes, including the Blood, Laxawaxen, Silver Lake Islet, and Lake Brimhall.

All hikes begin at Wasatch Bagel Café in the Snow Creek plaza at 9:30 a.m., where participants can meet for breakfast and car pool to the trailhead.

"We thought that was the best idea to meet there, since Dan’s [grocery store] is also right next door if anyone forgot anything," Compton said. He encourages hikers to bring water, sunscreen, lunch and a good pair of hiking boots. "Sneakers aren’t going to cut it with these hikes," he said.

Reservations are required, but Compton said he hasn’t placed a cap on the number allowed to participate yet.

"I may have to in the future," he admitted. "Once we had 25 people show up, and it was pretty hard to keep track of them all. But I won’t say we’ll do that now."

Twelve hikers have made reservations for Saturday’s tour.

Compton has taken hikers around Park City’s trails informally for decades. He began exploring the city’s many paths when he moved here 20 years ago, finding the pastime a good way to get to know the area before he made friends.

"I didn’t know anyone yet, so I just roamed around the mountain by myself," he said. Once he started to meet people, he began showing them his favorite routes. Now, as a historian, his treks have become more meaningful.

To reserve a place in the next hike, call the Historical Society at 435-649-7457. Information is also available on the Web site, http://www.parkcityhistory.org .