With over 450 miles of non-motorized trails to choose from in the Park City area, it can be a bit overwhelming to choose that perfect route for your morning, afternoon, or evening trail run. Choice is great, but having a few ideas as a starting point can be helpful, which is my goal with this blog. Here are a few of my favorite trail runs ranging from 3 to 12 miles. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Jenni's to Crescent Mine Grade (CMG) - 3.5 miles
This route starts by the bottom of the zip line at Park City Mountain. Park in the upper left corner of the parking lot and head up the mountain toward the base of the zip line. The trailhead for Jenni's will be on your right. A gentle, but consistent climb up Jenni's will bring you to the intersection of the Crescent Mine Grade (CMG) Trail after about 1.5 miles. Take CMG down where it will cross a ski run. Be aware of mountain bikers as CMG is a downhill-only mountain bike trail on this section. After you cross over the ski run, you enter the woods for a nice, shady section and then pop out into the open for a series of switchbacks designed primarily for mountain bikers. These can be fun to run, but you can also cut straight over to the bottom of the Crescent chairlift and head right back to the parking lot instead.
Mid-Mountain to Empire Link - 6.5 miles
This trail run is a great way to avoid the climbing that is so prevalent on Park City's hiking and biking trails. To start this run, head on over to the Old Town Transit Center on Swede Alley in Park City and take the Silver Lake bus up to the Silver Lake Lodge area at the Deer Valley Resort. This is where the iconic Mid-Mountain Trail starts. Finding the trailhead can be a bit tricky, since you have to head down the mountain to the right of the Sterling Express lift. When all else fails, ask one of the friendly Deer Valley employees to point you in the right direction. The Mid-Mountain Trail climbs gently for the first 1.5 miles at which point it becomes more rolling before descending to the intersection with the Empire Link Trail. Take a hard right-hand turn onto Empire Link which descends to Daly Grind, a gravel access road. Do not cross the road - if you start to climb on Empire Link, then you have gone too far. Take the access road down to Daly Avenue, and back to the Transit Center.
Jenni's to The Steps to Thaynes Rd to CMG - 12.0 miles
This route is for trail runners that want to climb a bit. Start at PCMR, and pick up Jenni's Trail as explained in the first option above. Follow Jenni's all the way to the end, take a right turn, and head up the slightly uphill access road. Keep going past the right-hand turn off for the Mid-Mountain Trail, and continue up the access road to its end where you can pick up the Steps trail. Climb the Steps until this trail ends on Thaynes Road. A gentle climb will turn into a gentle descent; the climbing is now behind you for the rest of this run. Just shy of 1.5 miles on Thaynes Road, you will come to the top of the Crescent Mine Grade Trail (CMG) which will be a sharp right hand turn. This can be a tricky trail to find off of the road, so pay attention. Now it's time to fall out of the sky by following CMG all the way down to the parking lot. Variations on the descent would be to take the Eagle Trail to Spiro, or descend the bottom half of Jenni's.
Armstrong to HAM to Spiro to Eagle to CMG to Jenni's - 9.5 miles
The climb up Armstrong Trail is a really fun one! You can find the trailhead off of Crescent Road, or by parking at the lower lot by the Silver Star Café. Be sure to follow the signs for Armstrong in the first 300 meters of the trail, or you may end up on Spiro or Silver Spur by mistake. Armstrong is an uphill-only mountain bike trail, so you don't have to worry about bikes descending rapidly and the grade is just right for climbing on foot. There are some fantastic views of Park City, and the surrounding mountains. After 3.2 miles you will find the intersection of the HAM Trail (and a bench where I have spent a fair bit of time.) The beginning of HAM's is a pretty rocky descent, but then it evens out as soon as you pop into the trees. A short ascent is followed by a fun descent and HAM runs right into the Spiro Trail. Take a left and continue downhill on Spiro.
A gentle climb is followed by a descent into the woods where you will find the intersection of Spiro and the Eagle Trail on your right, with a bench on your left. Climb up Eagle, or if your legs are tired, continue descending Spiro which will drop you right at the beginning of Armstrong. Eagle is a steep 0.6 mile climb that ends in an open area where it crosses over the Crescent Mine Grade (CMG) Trail. Take a hard left on CMG, and descend for about a mile to the intersection with Jenni's Trail. Take Jenni's down to the Park City Mountain parking lot. One variation on this route is to take Spiro up to Eagle. The trailhead can be found at the same place as the Armstrong trailhead. This makes for a tough climb to start, and brings the mileage down to around 4.5 miles. When ascending Spiro, be aware of mountain bikers –there are a handful of sharp switchbacks at the bottom, and this trail is a popular route for mountain bikers to descend.
Stealth to Glenwild Loop - 4.5 miles
Near Kimball Junction you will find the Glenwild trail system. One of my favorite trail runs is a 4.5 mile loop that is fun to run either clockwise, or counter clockwise. To follow the clockwise version, start at the Silver Creek trailhead off Bitner Road. Pick up the trail to the left off of the road. The terrain rolls for the first mile or so before it starts to climb. The next three quarters of a mile is an ascent that can be steep, rocky and/or sandy at times. At your first intersection take a hard right, and continue to climb. After half a mile or so you will pop out on an access road (near another bench!). This offers a fantastic view of Kimball Junction and the Canyons Resort. After a short run on the access road, take a right down into the woods to continue to follow the Glenwild Loop Trail. Run past the intersection with the Blackhawk Trail and after a nice descent you will cross a paved road. Take a quick left which should bring you past another bench. From here the downhill grade is nearly perfect for running. Just over a mile on this gently sloped trail brings you back to the trailhead.
As you can see, the possibilities in the Park City area for trail running are numerous and varied. This is just a quick list of ideas to get you started. Hit the trails; bring a map and plenty of water. After you have tried a few of these routes, start to explore, and find the trail that fits with your personal running style. Be sure to post a comment about which options you find. I'll see you out there!
Patrick Coffey, Jans Ambassador
Mountain Trails Interactive Map