This is a short list of some of the flying sites that we fly with students. The majority of the training occurs on the South Side and North Side of the Point of the Mountain. As often as we can and if the weather cooperates, we head out on field trips to these other locations. This season we will visit these places more and more to get away from crowded conditions at the Point, especially on Saturdays. There are many more places to fly; these are just some of the better ones for newer pilots. We are constantly looking for new fun places to fly, and every year we seem to find a few more good sites.
Great training hill, crummy place to fly because of increasingly crowded conditions. So we train here, and then go fly other places. We need a south wind which we get nearly every morning. The ridge is 300 feet high and about a half mile or so long. On a good day it is common to get up to about 500 feet over the valley floor and stay up for hours.
Not so great of a training hill, but an awesome place to fly! We build up your experience on the South Side first, and then cut you loose on the North Side. There are 2 parallel ridges here. One is 300 feet high and about a half mile or so long, made by the same ancient Lake Bonneville that made the South Side. The other ridge is set back behind the lower ridge about 100 yds or so. It is 1000 feet high and over a mile long. So we fly the lower ridge and then “bench-up” to the upper ridge. This “benching up” requires some luck and a lot of skill. My students usually bench up multiple times before I sign them off. The North Side requires a north wind which we get in the afternoons almost every day in the warmer months. It is common to get up about 2000 feet over the valley, watch airplanes fly by lower than you and stay up for hours, floating down in the alpenglow of sunset.
A great place for new pilots to fly that gives them a better idea of what paragliding away from the Point of the Mountain is like. We drive up to about 1700 feet above the valley and fly down to big huge open landing zones. It is just south of Utah Lake and the farmland scenery and Wasatch in the distance is beautiful! We often go down in the early morning and get 2 flights in before the air gets thermally. When it does get thermally it can be a good place to experiment with thermal flying. The average flights from here are only about 7-10 minutes.
Another great ridge soaring site created by ancient Lake Bonneville. This site is controlled by local Hangliders and demands a lot of respect. We get clearance to fly there first before we invest in the 45 min. drive. This ridge is similar to the South Side but turned around facing north. It needs and gets a north wind almost every afternoon. It tends to be more thermally than the Point in the afternoons and we fly it very close to dusk usually. Easy to stay up for an hour + and get up a good 400 feet over launch, although people commonly get higher.
When the wind is too light at Stockton then we take a quick drive and a short hike to the west to Jedi Jump. It is reminiscent of launching off of the top of the North Side. It is about 1400 feet above the Tooele valley and offers a great view to the north of the Great Salt Lake, it is very surreal desert scenery… it looks like a painting. The launch is almost 1500 feet above the valley. Sometimes we just get a fun short sunset flight that last about 7-10 min. or sometimes we get to stay up for a while and get even higher.
I love this secret site. We always fly over deer and elk and the scenery is beautiful looking out over the reservoir. The ridge is right by Strawberry Reservoir and is good in the afternoon a few hours before sunset. We pick days that the winds aloft are light before we drive 2 hours to go fly. The launch is almost at 9000 ft MSL. The ridge is perhaps a mile or so long and 1000 feet high. We have had some great flying sessions here. No crowds ever, we are always the only ones. The only problem is we get home really late after we are done flying.
This is one of my favorite places to fly. It is a good 2 hour drive from SLC to Randolph, Utah. This ridge makes the North Side look really small. It is about the same height but about 18 miles long. Launch is about 1300 feet above the beautiful valley with the windy Bear River and oxbow lakes and farm fields and hellish mosquitoes for miles. We fly this site a few hours before sunset and sometimes have to wait a long time for the wind to die down, but when it does we all scramble into the sky and fly for an hour or so until the sun sets. Then we drive home and get back really late. Sometimes people like to camp out to avoid the late night drive home.
A great hike and fly site. There are multiple launch sites and many landing zones. It is best in late fall or all winter long when those big high pressures set in and it is not very windy. My favorite launch site with students is at about 7200 ft MSL. We usually get in a nice 10-15 min glide down before sunset. From that spot on a good day you can glide out to almost anywhere in Draper. Another great launch is further up at about 9100 ft. for a nice 4500 ft flight down. From that spot it is easy to fly over to Alpine too. I prefer this one in the earlier morning hours. I have flown off just below the summit, but decided not to ever do that again. There is a potentially better launch site almost at the summit that I think would work great. I have flown over it a few times and just need to hike up and check it out.
The mountains around Monroe and Richfield have A LOT of flying potential. My most successful site there with students is Cove. We drive up to 8700 ft and fly down to 5300 ft for a nice 3400 ft flight. We usually go up in the afternoon and fly a few hours before sunset. The view is fabulous and intimidating and the landing zone is big. It is very common to stay up for hours when the conditions are good, and even get up higher. Some pilots manage to fly up to 10,000+ feet! There are many other sites around the area to fly as well and when we go we usually join forces with the local instructor, Stacy, for some really good times. We usually camp out or try to spend a night and fly somewhere else the next morning before heading home. There are some nice hippie hot springs to camp at right by the Cove landing zone.
A nice drive up site, although the road is long and bumpy the scenery is worth it. The launch is 3200 feet above the landing zone and commands a wonderful view of the south end of Utah Valley. I knew it as a great make-out spot before I learned to fly… but never used it. Since the landing zone is almost directly below take off, we get to just float around enjoying the scenery without having to worry about making it to the landing zone. We go up a few hours before sunset and flights can be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or so. We need a more southwesterly flow aloft for this site.