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FR249 summit(u): Star Point

The eastern escarpment of the Wasatch Plateau behind Ut10, between Huntington and Price appears like a series of steps receding into the horizon. The clear dessert air and distance of the plateau make comprehension of its size difficult. A ride to Star Point summit(u) corrects this situation. While many plateau climbs ascend canyons in order to emerge on a high, forested plain, keeping views well hidden, the northern approach to this summit is filled with switchbacks, exposed rock ledges and far views.

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01.(5810ft,mile00) START-END SOUTH:  jctUt236-Ut11, north end of Huntington
02.(6780ft,mile08) START-END SOUTH ALTERNATE:  right connects with Hiawatha, profile continues straight
03.(7210ft,mile10) site of Mohrland
04.(7789ft,mile11) site of Mohrland Mine
05.(9610ft,mile14) profile continues right on FR111
06.(9930ft,mile19) profile turns right onto FR249
07.(10046ft,mile20) TOP: point of highest altitude
08.(9780ft,mile23) communication towers at Star Point
09.(7550ft,mile28) Wattis Mine
10.(6090ft,mile35) turn left onto Ut122
11.(5820ft,mile38) START-END NORTH: profile continues left on Ut10
12.(5550ft,mile46) START-END NORTH ALTERNATE: Price


From South. Mohrland Canyon is one way to approach the point from the backside. Mohrland Canyon Road leaves Ut10, 2 miles north of Huntington at Huntington Lake State Park. The paved road runs up an alluvial fan to the plateau. At the entrance to the canyon it services a small coal seem, a railhead and an oil well. Steeply climbing FR101 leads past old mining structures of the Mohrland mine to a heavily forested plateau top. A few views are obtainable between the trees. Once on the plateau, the road continues climbing ever so gently, cresting over a few open spots that allow orientation with respect to Huntington Canyon and the Bookcliffs. The turnoff to Star Point from FR101 is signed. The point of highest altitude is reached just after this turrnoff, in between grazing cows that manage to keep a few spots in perpetually evil smelling mud, so that the bike is better carried around them.. 

From North. The approach is first described in a downward direction. Star Point is about 200 feet lower than the highest point traversed on the route. A smooth roller coaster road heads from the highest point to a series of communication towers ahead. This is Star Point. A series of vistas begins 1/4 mile before reaching the point. The first view is west and north to where the purple Bookcliffs terminate into the Wasatch Plateau. From the point the dessert landscape in Castle Valley appears like a table cloth that is being pulled upwards by series of fishing hooks. A steep, somewhat rocky, but perfectly ridable descend leads around a ridge in the plateau to open the view on the last part of the descend, a series of traverses that lead to paved switchbacks on the opposite face. The pavement is in a state of creeps and cracks and bulging deformations. But it does speed up the descend and soon the cyclist is rolling down a smooth, long, straightaway over uniform grade alluvial fan surfaces, dissected by curtain like ravines back towards Ut10.

Climbing up the same approach, one has a lot more time to look at the pattern of ramps and fills, created by mining reclamation, just at the point where the road enters the plateau. At this point the road also picks up grade dramatically. The abandoned-like nature of the road, sage spilling over guard rails and large plants making themselves at home in the cracks, give the visitor a "last cyclist on earth" type of feeling. In spite of all this solitude, pavement reaches one of the highest spots in the Price area ( if not the highest ), located between points 8 and 9 on the profile. It also makes a great out and back road cycling workout, if you don't mind a few cracks in the pavement.


Dayrides. A loop ride from Huntington up Mohrland Canyon, with an additional out and back leg to the bitter end of FR101, then continuing over the FR249 summit(u): Star Point down to Ut122 and Ut10 back to Huntington measured 61 miles with 5800ft of climbing in 6.2 hours (m3:06.09.10).

A slightly different loop in reverse began a few miles up the Mohrland Canyon road. Accessing the northern approach via 301rd to the Hiawatha Mine, then continuing up to Star Point and descending through Mohrland Canyon back to the starting point measured 50 miles with 5700ft of climbing in 5.2 hours (m3:06.09.11)

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