Latitude / Longitude:
7,477 ft (2,279 m)
Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
Soldier Summit is the name of both a mountain pass in the Wasatch Mountains in Utah and a ghost town located at the pass. Soldier Summit has been an important transportation route between the Wasatch Front and Price, Utah, since the area was settled by the Mormon pioneers. It is on the route of both U.S. Route 6 and the old main line of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW), now owned and operated by the Union Pacific Railroad. Located where the road makes a brief bend through the extreme southwest corner of Wasatch County, Soldier Summit historically had more to do with nearby Utah County.
At one time both the state highway department and the railroad had operations at the summit, but with the exception of a gas station that is sometimes open, the town site is now abandoned. Today it is a popular rest stop and photo spot for railfans. Many railfans also take pictures of the Gilluly loops, a series of horseshoe curves on the western approach to the summit. The California Zephyr Amtrak passenger train uses this route.
By 1979 there were only about a dozen adult residents left, but Soldier Summit still had four part-time police officers enforcing a community speed limit on the stretch of highway passing through town. When motorists complained of a speed trap, the state attorney general and the Utah Chief of Police Association investigated. They determined that the only reason for having a police department in Soldier Summit at all was to generate revenue for municipal services through traffic tickets. The police department was disbanded. The town was finally disincorporated in 1984. Other than the gas station and two or three occupied houses, Soldier Summit is uninhabited. An old two-room jail, a few deserted houses, and several acres of foundations and crumbling walls are all that remains of the former town.
The population of Soldier Summit peaked at 2,500 in the 1920s, but began to decline as the railroad decided to move its operations back to Helper due to the severe winters and high cost of doing business at the summit. Over the next few decades, the town dwindled away. In 1948 there were 47 students at the Soldier Summit school. The next year enrollment dropped to 11, but the school stayed open. It was not until 1973 that the school was closed and the last few students sent to schools in Carbon County.