West of Park City, just on the outskirts of Summit Park, a lonely stretch of forgotten road snakes across the gentle slope off the shoulder of I-80. After branching off the westernmost road in town, the irregular and deteriorating pavement slithers along Parley’s Creek, a thin and crumbling line between a seven-lane transcontinental artery and the largely unspoiled wilderness of the mountains beyond.
This forgotten path, simply labeled “Unnamed Road” on most modern GPS services, terminates in a gravel patch along the highway, giving the impression of a slow-burning stone fuse, quietly guttering in the mountain breeze. No clue is immediately visible as to its original purpose, long since erased by both progress and the elements. Some few travelers occasionally make use of the road’s weatherworn carcass to reach some of the more far-flung trails in the area, but fewer still remember its story.
With the help of amateur sleuthing, local experts at the Park City Museum, and a ream of historical cartographical data, we were able to look into the past and salvage a story from the larger saga of the evolution of transportation through Parley’s Canyon.