Happy Trails: Hiking and biking around Park City
This story is found in the summer 2019 edition of Park City Adventure Guide.
Living in Park City makes it easy to get outdoors for a walk, hike or bike ride. It seems there’s a trail for everyone’s skills and needs anywhere. But it’s a lot of effort to build and maintain these trails, a task that the Mountain Trails Foundation has been accomplishing since 1992. It takes lots of staff, volunteers, mapping, signage, equipment, and funding to create a year-round, seamless trail system. By working closely with private and public landowners, though, today there are over 400 miles of non-motorized trails just waiting for you. It’s one of the best trail systems in the nation.
One unique byway is the Union Pacific Rail Trail, which follows the old railroad grade from Park City to the town of Echo, nearly 28 miles away. Opened to the public as a State Park in 1992, the Rail Trail starts at 6,900 feet in elevation at Park City and drops to 5,280 feet at the eastern end. The Rail Trail is paved for the 3 miles east of Park City, but afterwards it’s smooth and wide road-base. There are a number of trailheads, and it will take you through wetlands, canyons, and small towns, all along the peaceful Weber River, Echo Lake and across railroad tracks. It’s suitable for biking, walking, running, horseback riding and fishing.
Many of our area trails are open to mountain bikers and hikers. Some are reserved for one type of use to reduce conflict and improve safety, so there are hiking only, uphill bike only, dog restricted and bike only trails. Trail etiquette gives people on horseback the right of way, followed by hikers and then mountain bikers. With caution and good trail etiquette, every- one mostly gets along just fine. Remember, dogs must be leashed and under control on all trails, but are prohibited at Deer Valley Resort. Before you head out, download the Mountain Trails map or buy a paper copy; it’ll help you find your way around.
For more information and maps visit Mountaintrails.org and BasinRecreation.org.
Take a walk on the wild side on these hiking trails. Keep your eyes out for wildlife, errant bikes, and dogs, though.
Easy – Willow Creek Trail
Starting at Willow Creek park, you can walk a 2 mile or less loop through protected open space. There’s only a 78-foot elevation gain. There’s plenty of parking, and it’s a cool walk on a warm day, with good views.
Intermediate – Dawn’s Trail – Silver Star, Park City Mountain
This trail is one mile, one way. It’s best to turn around and do an out-and-back. There is some shade down low, so its cooler in early morning or late afternoon. You can connect Dawn’s Trail to Armstrong and the Spiro loop for a total of around 5 miles.
Advanced – Ontario – Red Cloud Loop, Deer Valley Resort
This trail starts near the Silver Lake Lodge at Deer Valley Resort, but take a free city bus there as public parking is limited. This trail is about 3.5 miles long, using dirt roads to access both Red Cloud and Ontario. These are hike-only trails, so you won’t have to watch for bikes, but you may see them along the dirt roads and the Mid Mountain trail.
It seems all of Park City trades in two skis for two wheels every spring. There are some truly classic mountain bike trails here, like Flying Dog, Lost Prospector and the Wasatch Crest Trail. If you’re into distance, head south on the WOW Trail into Wasatch County. E-bikes are not allowed on single-track trails, but they may be used on multiuse paths and soft-surface trails over 5 feet wide. Here are a few suggestions for novice and expert riders.
Easy – McLeod Creek to Willow Creek Park
This paved trail runs 4 miles all the way from Park City to Kimball Junction, via Willow Creek Park. There are restrooms, playgrounds and water at the park, and another 2.5 miles of soft and hard surface trails around Willow Creek Park too.
Intermediate – Yeti’s and Moose Puddle Loop
Yeti’s is a 3-mile trail uphill-only trail, climbing nearly 1,400 feet near the Utah
Olympic Park. Make it a loop by connecting with Moose Puddle for the descent, for a total of 6 miles.
Advanced – Deer Valley
There are lots of flow trails here, with lift-served biking and other options. You will need to buy a lift ticket of course, or peddle up. The new intermediate flow trail, Undertow, now connects the base at Snow Park and mid-mountain Silver Lake Lodge. Once you’re on top of Bald Mountain, there are lots of options to choose from.
For more stories from this edition, visit the Adventure Guide special section.
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