Guardsman Pass from Midway.
View south near top of Guardsman Pass.
Guardsman Pass from Midway is amongst the best cycling climbs in Utah. This is also the second most difficult climb by bike in Utah, and shares its first seven miles with Empire Pass. Guardsman Pass begins just north of Midway, Utah and can be reached by three routes: from Midway, Park City, or via Big Cottonwood Canyon. The Midway ascent to Guardsman Pass is very narrow and rough, but with very little traffic. The climb is steep throughout with its most challenging section the 1.4 miles from 0.95 - 2.3 miles at 11.8% average grade.
Enter the state park just past the start of the climb.
Nice views south to Midway and Deer Creek Reservoir.
Several hairpins on the first half of the ride.
Nice stretch surrounded by Cottonwoods two-thirds up the climb.
Views along the route include look-backs to Midway and Deer Creek Reservoir, thick aspens bordering the roadway in places during the middle of the climb, and finally views of sharp mountain ranges and the grade of the final several hundred yards of Guardsman Pass far above (examples of all are on the slideshow, above).
Stay left to Guardsman Pass (right to Empire Pass)
Guardsman Pass is upper middle of photo.
Top of the climb.
It is a brute of a climb, but well worth the effort.
Traffic and Roadway Report: PJAMM’s Ron Hawks reports “I did Big Cottonwood and descended down the last part of Guardsman and the pavement is like glass. So the entire climb from Midway is great.” Traffic is very light and minimal for the entire route, with a wide roadway in very good condition but for the final 1.7 miles on Guardsman Pass Road.
Guardsman Pass from Park City: The Guardsman Pass climb from Park City is much less difficult than starting from Midway, but is still rated the 12th most difficult climb in all of Utah. This climb begins at the south side of Park City and essentially splits two ski resorts (Park City and Deer Valley). At mile 5.6, turn right onto Guardsman Pass from Highway 224 (9/10th mile of flat riding west after passing over Empire Pass) and travel the final 1.7 miles to Guardsman Pass on a very rough (as of summer 2015) surface gaining 778’ at 8.3% average grade.
The roadway surface is excellent along this climb and the descent back down into Park City is the fastest we have ever experienced, there is no doubt this is one of the fastest descents in the U.S. One stretch, referred to as “The Drop” on Strava, has a KOM averaging 71.5 mph for 0.8 miles (Strava Link).
Note - as of June 4, 2017, the road was paved according to Strava members