Let’s “Tee Off” this tour of Morgan County at the Round Valley Golf Course. In case you hadn’t noticed, this golf course is gently nestled in a beautiful valley, completely surrounded by elegant mountains, and amazing views. With the gentle Weber River meandering through the course, there’s no better place to swing a club than right here at Round Valley.
It’s the only golf course in the area and has been here since 1969. This place offers the distinct experience of playing on two courses that were built 20 years apart. If it’s a classic feel you are looking for, Round Valley has it. If it’s the more modern, edgy feel you are after, Round Valley has that too.
The Round Valley Golf Course website has drone pictures of all of their holes, so you can get a bird’s eye view of what’s to come. I don’t think that counts as cheating - just extra preparation.
If you need to work on your long game, then head to the driving range. Need to polish up your short game skills? Round Valley has a putting green as well. If all of this driving and putting is making you hungry, not to worry. The pro shop has beverages and refreshments to perk you up and get you back out on the greens!
If you feel like coming here for a camping/golf vacation, then I have great news! Round Valley has an RV Park for self-contained RV’s. And, just down the road is the Como Springs Resort! Now, they are undergoing construction and improvements in 2022 but will reopen with full RV hook-ups including water, sewer and power. Clean restrooms and showers will be available so you can scrub up after a day on the links.
Why don’t we go ahead and drive on down that road so we can get to our next stop?
Put on your Cowboy boots, Wrangler Jeans and your best Cowboy hat (or Cowgirl hat, obviously) because it’s time to talk rodeo!!!! The Morgan County Fairgrounds are just ahead on your left and their yearly County Fair is incredible. Enjoy traditional American rodeo events like bull riding, steer wrestling and barrel racing, and the not-so-traditional event of mutton busting. In this event, a child is placed on top of a sheep and then the sheep runs and turns and bucks until said child falls off. This almost always takes less than 8 seconds. Kids are required to wear helmets and parents are required to sign liability waivers. Go figure.
The Morgan County Fair has more than rodeo events though. There’s a little something for everyone at the fair, like a parade, a pet show, and a pickleball tournament. You can enjoy bingo, bounce houses, and a baby contest. How about concerts, cornhole and clowns? Add to that all the vendors, fair food and giant vegetable competitions and you’ve got a recipe for a fantastic family week of fun!
Ok, it’s time to slow down and enjoy some history. And I mean slow, so you don’t miss anything. There’s no need to be in a hurry around here. We are coming up on Morgan’s Commercial Street. It looks a bit different than it did back in 1868 when the first building was constructed, but it still has that old settler feel.
When a second rail line was built here in 1926, the need arose for a train station.
And there it is on the right - The Morgan Railroad Depot. When the last train station agent retired in 1977, the depot closed. In 1982 it was donated to Morgan City and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
The third shop on your left is Morgan Drug. It was built in 1909 as Morgan Drug, and has always been Morgan Drug so it’s seen a lot of change on this street!
Next is Deb’s Spicy Pie which is a great pizza joint. Back in 1938 though, this was the home of Hopkin’s Cafe, which served the good people of Morgan for 53 years.
Moving on, we have Morgan Mercantile. In the early 1900’s though, Bob’s Cafe and Butters Barber Shop were here. Did someone say “cinnamon rolls?” I thought so. Mama Lakes Bakery is located inside the Mercantile and they have specialty flavors that bring in customers from all over. Cinnamon roll flavors like raspberry, orange, peach, & maple bacon.
Now to the next block. We’ve got the AW Francis Store, the Mint Saloon, Stewart’s Cafe, First National Bank, Olsen Chevrolet and the three-story Heiner Hotel which was built in 1890. Obviously, that’s not what we’ve got these days, with the exception of First National Bank still showcasing its sign, this building is no longer an active bank.
After the Heiner Hotel or as known now the Valis Hotel, is Red Rock Precision. Known for their excellence in building custom, high-quality long-range shooting systems, this place is a favorite amongst the hunting community here.
Need more Red Rock? Well Red Rock Archery is right next door and they can get you set up with shooting supplies, optics, archery equipment and much more.
If you are more into crafting, then check out Morgan Valley Crafts, and soon to make a return is Larry’s Spring Chicken Inn To Go.
Finally, there’s Cobblestone Hotel and Suites if you are looking for a place to stay that has less of a “camping” feel. With comfortable suites and modern rooms, plus an indoor pool, complimentary breakfast, on-sight convenience store and free high-speed internet, Cobblestone is a great place to stay as you explore this fun, historic town.
How much fun was that? Let’s turn left on North State Street.
Do you consider yourself to be a hardcore carnivore? Even if you aren’t hardcore but just really like meat, Bingham’s custom meats is the place for you. Nathan Bingham and his family established this business in 2011 and has been serving up delicious meats ever since. Choose from multiple different meat bundles and stock your freezer while saving money! They also make their own seasonings so you can spice up your meats, Bingham style.
One of the favorite meat items on the menu there is Bingham’s Bacon Bombs. These are basically meats filled with something special, and wrapped in bacon. For example, their chicken jalapeno bomb is chicken breast wrapped around a jalapeno filled with cream cheese, all wrapped up in bacon. They have a variety of bacon bomb combinations and I suggest you try every single one. A single bomb feeds around 6-8 people. They also offer made to order sandwiches and salads. You can also order any of their products online.
You probably need more for your meals than just meat though, and Ridley’s Family Market has just that. Their motto is that they are “Small enough to serve you. Large enough to save you money.” Ridley’s strives to provide exceptional service, quality products and lower prices than the big box stores.
Now let’s go ahead and cross over the Weber River.
Everyone loves a Tractor Supply Store, am I right? If you are looking for anything that has to do with home improvement, agriculture, lawn and gardens, livestock, horses and pet care, farming, ranching and actually much more, this is where you want to be. Clothing, home goods, fencing, chicken coops, hardware, towing products, gifts, animal medicines… I really could go on and on, but I won’t. If you’ve ever been inside a Tractor Supply, you know what I’m talking about.
Right next door is the True Value Hardware Store. Although they have only a limited supply of farm and ranch supplies, they have just what you need for all of your home improvement needs. Power tools, patio furniture, pool supplies, building materials, hardware, plumbing, kitchen and bathroom products, electrical supplies, HVAC items, storage units and sheds, and on and on and on. All you need is a home improvement project in mind and True Value will help you get started and see it through completion.
Wanna see where all the magic happens? That’s my office on the right, at 151 North State Street, Suite B. Drop in and say hello!
Next, please turn left on East Young Street.
If you have any school-aged children, here at the four-way stop is Morgan Middle School on your left, Morgan Elementary School ahead on your right and Morgan High School kitty corner to your left. Go Wolverines, Mountaineers and Trojans! Take a left at the four way and drive past the high school.
As we cross over the Weber River and point out a city park on the left and a bowling alley on the right. Riverside Park is well equipped for a good time with a baseball park, walking trail, basketball court, volleyball area, splash pad, playground and skate park. There are also multiple pavilions available to rent.
Parkside Lanes Fun Center on the right is bowling fun for the whole family with Two Dollar Tuesday, Buy One Get One Free Thursdays. There are also three leagues to - Monday Morning Ladies, Tuesday Morning Ladies, and Tuesday Night Owls. Parkside lanes also serve food including pizza and delicious deep fried cheese curds. They also house the SOS specialty Sodas and treat shop.
Please turn left at the next street onto 250 E. Then when we get to North State Street, we will be turning right this time. Then we will be doing a little bit of freeway driving, but not to worry - the scenery here is even beautiful from the freeway. Follow the sign to Interstate 84 West Ogden.
Then take Exit 96 to Peterson/Mountain Green, hang a right at the bottom of the off ramp and an immediate left onto Old Highway Road. And no, you didn’t need to remember all of that. Just follow your navigation and enjoy!
As you’ve probably noticed, the City of Morgan is split down the middle by the Weber River. In fact, the Weber River and the canyon that it carves through this part of Utah are what put Morgan County on the map in the first place. The Weber River traverses the valleys of northeastern Utah, running 125 miles from its origin in the Uinta Mountains to the Great Salt Lake.
The river is named for fur trapper John Henry Weber, who first traversed this part of the frontier in the early 19th century. Because of the wide green valley created by the convergence of the river and east canyon creek, the site where Morgan now sits was a popular hunting ground and trading site for Ute and Shoshone peoples.
Weber Canyon appears again in pioneering history as the route of the Hastings cutoff, a proposed shortcut to the Oregon trail that would take emigrating parties south of the Great Salt Lake, on a more direct path to the San Francisco Bay. The Hastings party, who first attempted this route, endured a grueling descent into Weber Canyon, followed by an 80-mile drive across the salt flats with no water to be found.
The ill-fated Donner Party, a group of pioneers famous for the hardship they endured in the Sierra Nevada, elected to avoid Weber Canyon and instead chose to enter the Salt Flat through Emigration Canyon even farther south. Though the Donner Party would later be pushed to the extremes by the brutal snowstorms of the Sierra, their trail would eventually be followed by Brigham Young as he led his people to settle in Salt Lake City.
Because the canyon was so difficult to access, the valley you’re currently driving through lay largely untouched by settlers until 1852. Thomas J. Thurston was a logger from Centerville, a town between Ogden and Salt Lake. He and his sons were exploring the Wasatch ridge and presumably discovered the fertile valley from the top of what is now called Thurston Peak.
It took Thurston three years to convince enough men to join him in building a road into the valley, but by 1855 they had successfully carved out an entrance from Ogden, running alongside the Weber to what is now the town of Peterson. Once the valley was open, settlers from the greater Salt Lake area flocked to this new farmable land, including Sanford and Nancy Porter, who built Morgan County’s first sawmill at Hardscrabble canyon. By 1862, fifteen settlements had been founded in the valley, and the area was incorporated as Morgan County. The county and town are named for LDS Apostle Jedediah Morgan Grant, a passionate speaker known as “Brigham’s Sledgehammer” for his fiery sermons.
When the Union Pacific Railroad decided to route the first transcontinental railroad along the path of the original Hastings cutoff, they quite literally put Morgan on the map. The Porterville sawmill worked overtime cutting railroad ties and bridge beams to prepare for the railroad’s arrival, but construction slowed to a crawl at the notoriously difficult eastern entrance to Weber Canyon. Constructing a mere two feet of track per day, the builders nevertheless blasted and pickaxed their way through sheer rock walls, finally taming the path that had proved so troublesome for half a century.
Today, I-84 runs that same path alongside the Weber into Ogden. Now you can cruise along in the footsteps of the pioneers at speeds they could never have dreamed were possible!
Your turn is coming up, so pay attention! Our next destination is Mountain Green. Nestled in Morgan Valley, this unincorporated community offers a hometown, country feel with breathtaking views and easy access to reservoirs, rivers and world class ski resorts.
Turn right off of Old Highway Road to Silver Leaf Drive. We are gonna drive through some of the beautiful neighborhoods in Mountain Green known as the Cottonwoods so relax and take it in!
How’s the drive going so far? Great!
We’ve got a roundabout just ahead. Please exit out of the roundabout at the second turn, so you stay on Silver Leaf Drive. There is plenty more to see, but first go around the traffic circle taking the second street on Silver Leaf Drive and on your right will be Mountain Green Elementary School. Go Eagles!
Please follow Silver Leaf Drive and explore the neighborhoods as we head to our next stop, the Browning Headquarters.
Look to your left. That’s the Morgan County Airport landing strip. Yes, Morgan County has an airport, which is both county-owned and public use.
But the real stop coming up here on the right is the Browning Corporate Office Headquarters. Browning is a major manufacturer of most things that have anything to do with outdoor sporting goods. Here’s just a short list: firearms, gun cases, gun safes, knives, flashlights, sun glasses, archery, camping and fishing gear, and even shoes. Again, that is just a short list. Now this is not a stop for a public outlet store. This is the manufacturing and testing facility for the pistols, rifles, and archery.
The history of the Browning Arms Company is pretty interesting as well, so let’s go back in time. Way back to 1855 when John Moses Browning was born in Ogden, Utah, only 25 miles from here. He grew up learning the ins and outs of firearms in his father’s store and gun repair shop. His father always encouraged him to create and invent, and with that encouragement, John Moses Browning created a superior single shot rifle. Winchester Repeating Arms took notice and before long the 1885 Winchester falling block action rifle was born. A long line of legendary firearms followed including the 1887 shotgun, the Model 94 and Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite, the 1895.
By the 1900’s, Browning was licensing his inventions and delving into the fully automatic firearm and self-loading pistol arena.
John Browning was known as a genius, an experimenter and innovator way into his golden years. He literally took his last breath at age 71 while working on a self-loading pistol design, due to a heart attack.
Currently the Browning Arms Company offers an extensive array of shotguns, rifles, pistols, shotgun barrels and even John M. Browning custom collectables.
Please follow your navigation. We are getting ready to head north for some skiing!
If you can see Mountain Green Middle School on your right, then you are doing a great job following your navigation. Anyway, Go Mountain Green Timberwolves! Turn Right onto Trappers Loop Road.
So now we have about a 10 or so minute drive to our last stop, which is the Snowbasin Ski Resort. The drive is absolutely gorgeous so I am gonna just be quiet and let you enjoy the beauty.
We’ve got one more upward climb before we reach the ski resort. Please turn left on Snowbasin Road. After you turn, keep an eye out for the East Fork Overlook on your right. This is a great place to pull off the road and take in the panoramic majesty around you. Don’t forget to take some pictures! Then just keep following the signs to Snowbasin Resort.
Please turn right into the Snowbasin Resort parking lot.
Welcome to one of the oldest ski resorts in all of the United States! Snowbasin opened in 1940 so it has had plenty of years to get things right. And by right, I mean absolutely amazing. Snowbasin is located on the backside of the majestic Wasatch Range. With 3,000 vertical feet, you may be wondering, well how will I get to the top? The answer is easy. Snowbasin has three spectacular and unique areas, which you can easily reach with the most advanced lift system in all of Utah. Snowbasin has three amazing lifts, the Needles Gondola, the Strawberry Gondola, and the John Paul Express.
The Needles Gondola will take you to the Needles Lodge, and the 3rd ranked in the West for world-class groomed runs. Variety is the name of the game here, with intermediate and beginner slopes, plus three very explorable terrain parks.
The Strawberry Gondola will lift you up to the areas of Sister’s Bowl, Middle Bowl Cirque, and Lone Tree. Wide open bowls are the treasure here.
Lastly is the John Paul Express. Enjoy a picturesque ride to the iconic John Paul Lodge, with views of the entire breathtaking Snowbasin ridgeline. If Olympic style skiing is what you desire, the Grizzly and Wildflower Downhill Course from the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games will be there waiting for you.
So let’s pretend, just for a second, that you actually are not into skiing. No worries! They don’t call Snowbasin Resort a 3,000-acre playground for nothing! Let those ski lifts that I was just talking about take you up the mountain for some hiking, sightseeing, mountain biking and even mini-golf. Restaurants with top ranked cuisine? Absolutely. The Needles Lodge Mountain-Top Sunday Brunch is an absolute must.
There’s even a fantastic summer concert series, and a German-themed Oktoberfest here at Snowbasin, along with countless other events and activities. So all you non-ski people, Snowbasin has your back.
Wildlife? Yes. And lots of it. Snowbasin is home to moose, deer, wild turkey, porcupine, hawks, weasels and other cute creatures.
If you feel the need to get married, why not do it on a mountain? Snowbasin offers first-class wedding planning services to make sure your big day is not a big headache. The views here are, of course, spectacular and would make the perfect backdrop for anyone saying “I do.”
Well, what did you think? Is Morgan County a place you’d like to call home? We’ve seen quite a bit today and I had a fantastic time showing you around. If you’d like to talk some more, please give me a call at 801-829-5457. I’d even love to hear your feedback about your tour.