Mirror Lake and Temple Square
[Park City / Salt Lake City, UT, Oct 6, 2019]
Our flight back to LA was not until 5 pm, so we had an almost full day to explore. We decided to split our time between the mountains in the city.
First, we headed east of Park City towards the Uinta Mountain range. The Uinta Mountains are a subrange of the Rocky Mountains and run east-west. Peaks range from 11,000 ft (3,500 m) to 13,538 ft (4,100 m) at Kings Peak, which is also the highest peak in Utah. One of the hikes we considered doing yesterday – Bald Mountain – was in the Uintas. We actually ended up passing by the trailhead as we drove the Mirror Lake Highway, which crosses the western half of the Uintas on its way to Wyoming. Our destination was Mirror Lake, which was a little over an hour from Park City.
The drive there was a steady climb – we gained over 3,000 ft by the time we reached the lake. Signs warned of cattle on the road, which we saw firsthand.
Forests and fall colors gave way to high altitude evergreens and a more austere landscape as we gained elevation. I was glad we didn’t drive all this way to climb Bald Mountain – I thought our hike in Park City was much more scenic!
We spent a few minutes at Mirror Lake stretching our legs and admiring the mountains around us. It was too windy for us to see the reflection of the mountains in the water, which gave the lake its name. We enjoyed our stop nonetheless – the lake was busy and it was clearly a popular recreation spot.
On the way back to Salt Lake, we stopped by Provo River Falls. The waterfall was easily accessible right off the highway.
We passed Park City and continued on to Salt Lake.
We passed the ski jumping venue from the 2002 Olympics. I barely managed to get a picture from the car.
Once in Salt Lake, we headed for the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) headquarters. We knew that the bi-annual conference – a gathering of church members – had been going on over the weekend, but it was winding down by Sunday afternoon. We didn’t want to miss the chance to see Temple Square, the 10-acre complex right in the center of the city. The square was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 in recognition of the Mormon settlement of Utah.
We walked around the complex and people-watched. Some people were walking around while others had found a place to sit, lie down and listen to the sermons. Although the event originates in Salt Lake, it’s broadcast all over the world.
The only thing left after this was to make our way to the airport and head home. I’m so glad I got to explore this part of Utah and look forward to coming back for more adventures.