West Mountain Loop
West Mountain is located about 15 miles southwest of Provo, and is considered part of the southern segment of the Wasatch Mountain range, however, it’s completely detached, an island of rock that sprouts up at the southern end of Utah Lake. The summit of West Mountain is just over 6,900 feet, and is home to a BYU observatory, and various radio and cell towers. For cyclists, this is not one of the Utah mountains that you ride up and over. This is one that you ride completely around.
The West Mountain Loop is a classic rolling ride that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of the I-15 corridor, out along the shores of Utah Lake along Lincoln Beach Road, and through miles and miles of rural roads lined with cherry and apple orchards as you ride towards the town of Genola, and then back through the Goshen Gap. Expect about 1,000 vertical feet of elevation gain for the entire loop — almost flat when you consider you are never far away from the base of Mount Nebo, the highest peak in the Wasatch Range at over 11,000 feet.
The 35-mile ride from Payson to West Mountain starts at the Peteetneet School Museum, an old school building built in 1901, that is on the National Register of Historic Places. The parking lot has some big trees for shade, and the folks that run the museum are friendly and welcoming, and may let you fill water bottles here. Located on the corner of 100 North (Highway 198) and 600 East, this is also a great launching point for a ride up Mount Nebo, since 600 East turns into the Nebo Loop Road, but save that for another day.
For this ride, head west on 100 North from Peteetneet. When you get to Main Street, head south for 1 block, then west again onto Utah Avenue. Follow this due west until you cross over I-15. After you cross some railroad tracks, the road will bend to the southwest, then continue west on 10400 South. It’s at the next 4-way intersection that the counter-clockwise loop around the mountain begins.
Head north on Highway 147, or 5600 West. Continue north on 5600 West towards the lake, even though Highway 147 heads back to the east. This is a tricky little part of the ride with a few jogs in the route, so pay attention to where you are going. Stay on 5600 W until a 90 degree left-hand turn onto 7200 South, then another 90 degree right-hand turn takes you to 6000 West.
After a 90 degree bend to the west at 6400 South, you will find your way to Lincoln Beach Road. This is the most scenic part of the ride — you have the shoreline of Utah Lake to your right, and West Mountain to your left. Of note, Lincoln Beach Road turns into Lake Road. Follow Main Street due north to Genola, where you will go east on Center Street, and north on State Street. State Street turns into Highway 141 through the Goshen Gap. Follow this north until you finish the loop at the intersection of 10400 South.
Cyclists who are looking for more mileage can always start this ride from points a little farther north, like Spanish Fork, or Springville, by heading to the far south end of Utah Lake and jumping on Lincoln Beach Road.