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FR150 - FR290 Mary's Nipple(sh)

From I70 over the Meadow Gulch Divide (also marked as Emigrant Pass on the Fishlake National Forest map), there are several dirt roads and trails heading north, that can be used to head for Skyline Drive, for me one of Utah's most fascinating, unpaved roads. When two of these approach roads meet, they form a shoulder summit, that is quite a workout in itself, and also very scenic, even if you do not reach Skyline Drive, which spends most of the year under the snow anyway

All of the roads in this area, stand under the scenic sign of Mary's Nipple (10984ft) - the mountain. But this loop is the Mary's Nipple Grand Tour, with great views of all sides.

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01.(5160ft,m00) START-END SOUTH: Salina: jct US50 -US89
02.(5310ft,m02) route turns 90 degrees left onto I70
03.(5760ft,m09) profile exits I70 at Gooseberry Rd exit
04.(6190ft,m14) FR004 Water Hollow Rd turns off on left
05.(6770ft,m20) profile exits I70 and turns north on paved road
06.(6840ft,m21) profile turns left up FR009, following Salina Creek
07.(8990ft,mile33) route turns right onto FR001, below Mary's Nipple
08.(9670ft,mile39) TOP: highest point, immediately before turning down FR290 on right
09.(6560ft,mile45) profile turns left down FR022, Mayfield - Ferron Road
10 (5530ft,mile51) START-END NORTH: downtown Mayfield


From North. The profile starts in Salina and heads up I70 to a Ranch exit. The profile exits the Interstate at the first chance, the jct with Gooseberry Road, and then follows the dirt service road. The old railroad grade goes through two tunnels and it's a nicer ride on the smooth, hard dirt than on the Interstate, even if it takes a little longer.

At Ranch exit 71, the route exits I70. But rather than following the Utah coal truck monsters up to Convultion Mine, the route takes the second dirt road turnoff to the left, FR009 following up Salina Creek. These are the first great views of the southern end of the Wasatch Plateau. After a while the road begins to climb steeply, using a few switchbacks and emerges on a low ridge, directly across from Mary's Nipple. This is the ideal picnic spot during my ride of this loop.

A small descent leads to the jct with FR001, coming up from Salina. That would have been a shorter approach to this point. But it would also have missed the great views from the picnic spot. The profile turns right on FR001, which turns into FR009 at some point, climbing and rolling in bits and pieces. By the time the highest point is reached, Mary's Nipple has become just a small rock outcrop, almost at eye level, while the top of the Wasatch Plateau still looms thousands of feet above, separated from the road by vast, sweeping tundra.

From South. (described downwards) Immediately past the highest point the profile turns left down the much rougher and steeper FR290. Staying straight at this jct would lead up to Skyline Drive. FR290 gradually returns Mary's Nipple to a mountain of huge stature, with a small rock ledge on top. The upper rock ledges of the Wasatch Plateau also take on a more imposing appearance again, as the road winds its torturous way down to FR022, the Mayfield - Ferron Road. Descending the latter is a fast finish. This road has pretty deep gravel in some places. I think descending on it is much easier than climbing.



( <Niotche - Lost Creek Divide | FR096 White Pine(sh)> )
FR150 - FR290 Mary's Nipple(sh) : short distance south of jct I70 - Gooseberry Rd, east of Salida: I70 service Road east > Ranch exit 71 > FR009 following Salina Creek north > FR001 north > FR150 north > FR150 - FR290 Mary's Nipple(sh) down FR290 > down 022, Mayfield - Ferron Rd > Mayfield > south on dirt road through Arapien Valley > Redmond > US89 south > I70 east > back to starting point: 71.2miles with 5550ft of climbing in 6:57hrs (VDO MC1.0 m5:13.6.1)

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