Since the Uintas are part of the National Forest Service, and are “real wilderness,” consider booking a cross country ski tour with one of our expert Nordic guides. They’ll show you the best locations, based on snow conditions, and will ensure that you get home safe and sound. www.jans.com/backcountry-ski-uinta
While Park City is well-known as an alpine ski resort town, in the past few years locals have created a booming Nordic scene and embraced the extensive cross-country ski trail system. Whether you’re looking for a change of pace from the long lift lines or a skinny ski destination, Park City trails are the place to go. Here’s a short guide on our favorite places to cross-country ski in Park City.
Round Valley and the Rail Trail
The Round Valley trail system is a local’s secret. 25K of rolling terrain keeps it fun for skiers of all abilities, and the trails are multi-use and dog-friendly. The Mountain Trails Foundation grooms these trails regularly, and their donation-based grooming is a testament to how fully Park City has embraced Nordic culture. There’s ample parking at Quinn’s Junction, but it’s just as easy to hop on the Rail Trail at our own White Pine Touring and take the connector to hop on the Round Valley trails. One of my favorite loops is to start on Matt’s Flat, cruise down Round Valley Express, and loop back to Quinn’s Junction on the Silver Quinn Trail.
The Union Pacific Rail Trail starts in Park City, right behind the White Pine Touring retail store on Bonanza Drive and is groomed all the way down to Wanship, when conditions permit. This out-and-back trail is beginner-friendly and allows skiers to escape the crowds of Park City quickly. It also gives those venturing to Round Valley a nice, flat warm-up, and our expert staff can give you pointers about snow conditions and grooming.
Trail maps are available at all Jans’ locations, including White Pine Touring, and on the Mountain Trails Foundation website where you can make a donation to keep these trails groomed.
White Pine Nordic Center
While we here at jans.com might be partial to the White Pine Nordic Center, they do an excellent job of maintaining a groomed cross country ski track, even in low snow conditions. The large teaching area just steps away from the Nordic Center is ideal for beginners, and an additional 20K of trails are fun for skate and classic skiers of all abilities. The go-to 5K and 3K loops are great for a lunchtime power-hour workout, but for longer days, connect to The Farm trails and enjoy a scenic tour around Park City’s iconic white barn. Unlike the Round Valley trail system, the White Pine trails are skiing-only, and a trail pass (available at the White Pine Nordic Center) is required.
Basin Recreation Trails
The Snyderville Basin Recreation District maintains the McLeod Creek, Miss Billy’s, Willow Creek, and Millennium Trails. These easy-access, multi-use trails are relatively flat and beginner friendly, and allow Nordic skiers to cruise from The Market in Park City all the way down to Kimball Junction. Basin Rec also grooms the Basin 5K Trail at the Utah Olympic Park, near Kimball Junction. This hilly, twisty loop features more interesting terrain for the intermediate to advanced skier. While the rest of the Basin Rec trails allow walkers, snowshoers, cyclists, and dogs, the Basin 5K is a skiing-only trail. Get grooming reports and trail maps here.
Nordic Trails Outside of Park City:
Just a 25 minute drive from downtown Park City, the Soldier Hollow trail system is a can’t-miss opportunity to ski the challenging cross country ski trails built for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Skiing here requires a trail pass, available at the lodge, but it’s well worth the money. In addition to the Olympic race courses, Soldier Hollow has cut a multitude of tourist-friendly trails, totalling 31K, offering a fun Nordic experience to skiers of all levels.
Down Parley’s Canyon on I-80W, the Mountain Dell Golf Course offers a good mix of trails, from flat loops to twisty, fun descents. Grooming relies on the $7 donation required to ski here, and they do an outstanding job. If you’re headed down to Salt Lake City, Mountain Dell is a great spot to stop and stretch your legs. This spot is for skiers only, sorry no dogs.
The Uinta Mountains
For full-day excursions, the Uinta Mountains east of Kamas offer boundless terrain for Nordic skiers. This is one of my favorite spots to get away from the bustling and crowded winters here in Park City. The Mirror Lake Highway is occasionally groomed, mainly for snowmobile access, but if you get lucky and hit it right after it’s been groomed, the skate skiing can be amazing. However, taking waxless classic skis and exploring the endless trails off the main drag is just as fun – solitude in the Uintas is truly a breathtaking experience and the views are well worth the trek.
Even if you’re a hardcore powder hound, cross-country skiing can be a fun way to fill the days between storms. Icy groomers can only provide so much enjoyment after a few runs, so come check out the Nordic scene on Park City’s world-class trails.Evelyn Dong, Content Writer