Highland Drive

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Highland Drive - Salt Lake City, Utah

Highland Drive is a road in Salt Lake County that runs along the edge of the lower East Benches.

Just a short 15000 years ago, Salt Lake City was the site of a great inland sea called lake Bonneville. The whole valley is surrounded by a geological formation called Benches. These benches were the beaches of the ancient sea. If you ride a bike from the shoulders of the Wasatch into town, you will find that the roads level out a bit, then takes a steep dive and levels. These are the benches.

Highland Drive follows the lowest of these benches. The fact that Highland Drive does not follow the grid indicates that it is one of the oldest roads in the valley. My guess is that the designers of the road wanted to follow an even grade. Unfortunately, the traffic on Highland is wicked, and it is a horrible road for cyclists.

If you are trying to ride up to the Wasatch, Highland Drive is the place where the steep hills begin. When riding into town, it is where the steep hills end. Which begs the question. Why did they call the road at the bottom of the hill "Highland Drive"?

Going North to South, Highland Drive starts at 2100 South in the Sugarhouse District when 100 East breaks from the constraints of the Salt Lake Grid and starts veering toward the east. The road has a brief encounter with 1300 East near 2700 South in a confusing three road intersect but then begins to parallel 1300 as it hugs the lowest of the East Benches.

You can really see the effects of the benches at 3900 East where the land to the West of Highland Drive is almost flat while just east of the road is a steep incline.

Highland Drive enters the heart of Holladay when it cross Murray-Holladay. This section of road is a mini downtown for Holladay with the expansive Cottonwood Mall on the South East side of the road and a variety of strip malls and stores lining the other sides of the road.

At Cottonwood Mall, Highland Drive rejoins the grid system and heads due South.

Highland Drive joins Van Winkle Express at 6100 South to become the major artery for the Southeast section of the Salt Lake Valley.

Highland Drive braves its way through the Fort Union Area and quickly returns to its wandering ways with roads such as Bengel Boulevard, Creek Road and New Castle Boulevard branching off or intersecting Highland Drive.

Unfortunately, Highland Drive is unable to negotiate a way through Dimple Dell and simply ceases to exist at 9800 South.

Not wishing to dwell on the roads short comings in Sandy, we find a new, though slightly smaller, Highland Drive reappear off Wasatch Boulevard near the Hidden Valley Country Club.

This new Highland Drive is a bit more neigborly and surburban. It is even willing to loose its identity to be called 2000 East as it crosses 12300 South in Draper.

Highland Drive is forced eastward in the Corner Canyon area. It eventually rejoins 1300 East at about 13700 South to venture around the Point of the Mountain.

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Context: City Streets