Legends Live On at Daniels Summit Lodge

The Wasatch Frontier was wild and wooly in 1876 when a pair of brothers opened a traveler stop atop Daniels Canyon, 17 miles east of the new village of Heber City.

Legend has it one of the Freeze brothers won the property in a poker game. Their boarding house boldly charged 50 cents for a meal and a patch of hard floor for a bed. Soldiers and cavalry were always welcome; their horses were watered and allowed to graze.

Unfortunately, one of the Freeze brothers was shot and killed through a wooden door. The perpetrators were taken to court for the heinous crime, but died mysteriously following the trial.

In 1907, Asa Bethers homesteaded the patch of land at Daniels Summit, elevation 8,008 feet, previously occupied by the Freeze brothers above Daniels Canyon and the Uinta Basin. He planted 20 acres of hay, ran the general store and built a 15-room boarding house. By this time a stage line was operating from Salt Lake City into the Uinta Basin with important stops at Daniels Summit and Fruitland. Teams of horses were changed, stock cared for and passengers could disembark to stretch their legs, have supper and check into the boarding house.

Bethers’ store burned in 1963 bringing an interruption in service at the top of the pass.

The Hill family of Midway City became interested in acquiring the property to start a resort and a subdivision in 1983. The sale was executed, houses began to sprout across Highway 40 and the Hills started the beautiful log buildings we see today.

A spring was tapped to provide water; two generators supplied electricity before utilities reached the summit. Brent and Audrey Hill and children constructed a lodge, restaurant and general store, their private land surrounded by boundaries of the Uinta National Forest and by the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation.

Be sure to see the photograph of Buff alo Bill Cody’s cast of characters in the lodge along with other fi ne Western art. The Indian headdresses there are jaw-dropping. The Hill’s good taste is also evident in the general store. Get your cowboy/girl gear, decor and toys here.

Enjoy 40 miles of groomed trails on their rental snowmobiles, tuck into a delicious meal in their restaurant and cozy up to a fireplace to watch the snow fly.

By Ani Robertson

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