Emmigration Canyon road is a favorite road biking path for many locals because of its beauty, wide shoulder and moderate grade. Emmigration is the actual canyon that Mormon Pioneers first descended into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, and there are several historical markers along the ride that indicate former pioneer campsites from more than 160 years ago.
The 8-mile ride follows a curvy, yet very gentle climb past a few sparsely populated neighborhoods before bypassing the famous Ruth’s Diner (featured on Diner’s Drive In’s and Dives). A rider can generally smell the breakfast cooking for a few hundred yards away. The climb increases gently as it passes old homes, a few other neighborhoods and gorgeous views of scrub oak trees and rolling peaks before coming to a large bend.
The road curves right for a steeper climb, but the leg muscles are generally warm enough at this point that it’s not a terribly difficult ride. Many riders are able to do this on their second or third ride. The road then climbs before another sharp left turn with a roughly .5 mile climb before cresting to a beautiful view of Little Dell Reservoir and Parley’s Canyon.
Some of the more hard-core cyclists have been known to make the climb with times between 25-30 minutes.
Many more seasoned riders continue down the backside of Emmigration in order to make the much steeper 7-mile climb up Big Mountain with views into Morgan County and a number of other Wasatch Peaks, including Olympus and the Oquirrh Mountains to the West.