Trails offer respite far from the hustle and bustle at resorts
January 2, 2015
If you were one of Summit County’s many residents who decided to let Park City’s out-of-town guests have first dibs on the lifts at local resorts over the holiday week and opted instead to go hiking, cross-country skiing or even biking on local trails, you have lots of people to thank.
This winter, local organizations like Basin Recreation and the Mountain Trails Foundation have ramped up their grooming efforts to include new neighborhood routes all over Park City and in the Snyderville Basin. As a result Park City’s award-winning summer trail system is gaining wintertime fans in droves.
Basin Recreation is maintaining 16 miles of multi-use trails this winter. The trails link Snyderville Basin neighborhoods to many familiar summertime bike trails and offer scenic vistas of the Swaner Nature Preserve and the Willow Creek open space parcel.
Because these trails accommodate a variety of fans including skiers, snowshoers, snowcyclists and dogs, a healthy measure of common courtesy is required and the atmosphere, so far this year, has been one of spirited camaraderie.
The group has also set a skiers-only 5 kilometer loop at the base of the Utah Olympic Park for those who want to sharpen up their form without tripping over dogs and bird watchers.
Mountain Trails Foundation which maintains the wildly popular Round Valley trail system, continues to add new winter terrain, which is helping to reduce the crowding and trail use conflicts of previous years. According to the group’s website, Mountain Trails now offers up to 80 miles of groomed trails, as long as snow conditions permit.
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Last weekend, Mountain Trails rolled out a wide white carpet along the Rail Trail, inviting skiers and dog walkers to mosey northward from Promontory to the Pace Ranch. The vistas included a panoramic view of the runs at Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort to the west and serene wood corrals and sage-covered hills to the east
The trails, supported by voter-approved bonds and private donations, offer a healthy respite from the bustle of the resorts. The trails are free and open to the public. There are no lift lines or crowds and there is rarely any competition for parking — perfect for an afternoon of quiet meditation or a quick getaway from work when you can’t take much time away from the office.
But like all publicly-supported amenities, Mountain Trails Foundation and Basin Recreation are counting on users to continue supporting their efforts. This fall, Snyderville Basin voters overwhelmingly supported a bond to, among other projects, continue expanding and connecting its trail system. Then in November, Mountain Trails attracted a hefty windfall of donations during the communitywide fund drive, Live PC Give PC.
If you haven’t explored a new trail yet this winter, make a resolution to grab a friend (canine or human) and go exploring. And if you like what you find, chip in to ensure our trails continue to expand — in every season.
Here are a few links that offer maps and grooming schedules for area trails: