Autumn is here – in fact, we are now well into the season. Some of my favorite memories encompass a family drive through Parley’s Canyon to take in the few remaining warm, sunny days. I recall being mesmerized by the mountains’ beauty, reflecting the oaks, aspen, and other trees’ breathtaking colors in contrast to the pines’ green. I hope that you will take the opportunity to enjoy a drive, hike, or even bike through the mountains to let nature and the colors cloak you in their warmth.
Given the scary statistics that come with traversing mountain passes and traveling canyon roads such as Parley’s Canyon, please be safe, cautious, and unimpaired. Sadly, Parley Canyon and our other canyons, such as Spanish Fork, Brighton, Sardine, Immigration, and Provo, carry deadly accident statistics. I have often heard of Parley’s Canyon is referred to as the most lethal of all of Utah’s canyon roads.
The Dangers of Parley’s Canyon
Parley’s Canyon begins at I-215, where it merges with I-80 and ends at Parley’s Summit (at an elevation of 7,120 feet, it is the highest point of I-80 in the state). The lower part of the road tends to have quite a few twists and turns and can narrow in places. It is also on an incline/decline and is known for turbulent wind, weather, rain, and snow. This passage of road regularly experiences a high rate of semi-trucks and recreational vehicles. Drivers tend to become impatient when traveling behind semi-trucks and pass over double yellow lines or when it is not safe to do so. Semi-trucks can overheat or lose their breaks when descending mountainous passages. Too, canyons and mountains have lots of wildlife. To combat this, in December of 2018, a wildlife overpass was put in place in Parley’s Canyon that is over 50 feet wide and 320 feet long, allowing wildlife to pass over I-80 safely.
To complicate matters, many visitors travel through Utah’s canyons to enjoy their beauty or enjoy some of the “Greatest Snow on Earth.” We certainly appreciate our tourist community. Unfortunately, as visitors, these individuals can be unaccustomed to navigating inclines/declines, twist, turns, and weather conditions of mountain passages or canyon roads.
Travel Safely on Utah’s Roads
If out on an Autumn drive, or any time you are behind the wheel, buckle-up, adhere to posted speed limits, don’t drive distracted or impaired, and be cautious. However, relax, cherish the time spent in nature and create some lasting memories.