If you’re someone who enjoys the added sense of security of a guided adventure, then this justification-of-sorts is not aimed at you. You will understand the points I am about to make as self-evident, maybe even redundant. So with your time and patience in mind, I will not be offended if you consider this a cue to stop reading.
Why Go on A Guided Mountain Bike Tour?
There is a portion of our population for whom the presence of a guide removes the feeling of adventure. These people feel somehow cheated by the metaphorical hand-holding associated with guided trips of any variety. It is my goal here to convince these steadfast independents that when it comes specifically to mountain biking in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, a little guidance is a very good thing.
The mountain bike trails around Park City are loaded with potential pit falls. Wrong turns in these mountains can lead to trails designed for 10 inch travel downhill bikes, and a complete disregard for one’s well-being. Some of these mandatory send-it trails are marked with warnings, but many are not — the products of rogue trail building by the most diabolical of the local mountain bike community. And unlike an unplanned detour on your average hiking trail, these downhill-specific mountain bike trails do not provide the option for backtracking.
Who Are the Best Mountain Bike Guides in Utah?
Any discussion of guided mountain bike tours in Utah would be incomplete without mention of the experienced guides of White Pine Touring here in Park City. I will plead the fifth on how the White Pine guides know so much about the above mentioned rogue trails, and instead focus on what’s truly important — these guides know every inch of every trail. With 400+ miles of singletrack weaving and looping through the mountains around Park City, this extensive and near encyclopedic trail-knowledge is no small feat.
From the time of day that each trail rides at its best, to bail out points in the event of unforeseen circumstances, the White Pine Touring mountain bike guides are prepared for tours with riders of any ability or fitness level.
Where To Ride With A Guide?
With 400+ miles of such varied and skill-dependent terrain, suggesting any one ride with certainty is impossible. That being said, if you are the guide-wary independent that this piece is aimed to convince, I will take the liberty of assuming a somewhat advanced skill-level.
With an advanced rider as the starting point, it would be remiss of me not to suggest the legendary Wasatch Crest Trail. From start to finish, this ride puts your skills to the test while displaying some of the most striking views available in Park City. I’m not going to lie, there are some trying times to be had during this mountain bike ride. From the disgustingly, yet so aptly named Puke Hill, to the endlessly disheartening Red Dirt Triple Fake Out, you will find yourself experiencing some mental lows — “I’m not crying, it’s just really dusty out here.” But, completing a guided mountain bike tour of the Wasatch Crest Trail is an accomplishment that even the most experienced rider can write home about.
Should I Bring My Own Mountain Bike?
While an experienced rider is always going to feel most comfortable on their own finely tailored mountain bike, it’s worth checking out the fleet of demo bikes at Jans and White Pine Touring in Park City. With all brand new full-suspension mountain bikes stocked every season, you might be surprised by the quality of bikes available to rent for a mountain bike tour. 29ers, 650b, carbon frames, and even full on downhill bikes might just open some eyes to the incredible advancements of the bike world in the past few years. If you’re flying in from out of town, a demo bike can eliminate the hassle and potential bike-damage associated with airplane travel.
I don’t mean to suggest with any of this that every pedal in the mountains requires the presence of an experienced guide. If you’ve been out to Park City before and know our trails, then grab an updated Mountain Trails Foundation map and go get some. But, if you’re an advanced rider who has been drawn to Park City for the first time by the ads in Bicycling magazine, or word of our designation as the world’s first ever IMBA Gold Level Ride Center, don’t be resistant to a little guidance.
I can confidently promise that mountain bike guides in Park City won’t slow you down, or limit the sense of adventure. If you flat out on the trail, they’ll be there to help with the repair, not submissively do the work for you. The guides here in town aren’t water mules, and they will never, ever, try to hold your hand. They just know what trails to stay away from, which ones to go after, and they’re a hell of a lot of fun to ride with.
Nate Tomlinson, Content Writer