Cyclists look out over views of Park City's historic Old Town

Park City, Utah Historic Sites Bike Tour

I was recently lucky enough to go on a guided bike ride called the Park City Historic Sites Bike Tour, with White Pine Touring, Jans’ guiding service. It was entertaining to learn about how things were back in the old mining days of Park City. Our guide, Mike Watson, told us how the minerals were found, removed, transported, and used; about the legendary characters who struck it rich or lost it all; and about the lifestyle of an average mine worker. Not only did I learn some valuable Park City history, but I was also able to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way.

For those considering making the Historic Sites Bike Tour one of their Park City “must-dos,” read on to find the ins and outs of a guided mountain bike tour unique to our old mining town.

What Should We Bring?

Wear layers of comfortable active clothing. Especially in autumn, but even on some summer days, it’s nice to have a wind-breaking jacket to keep yourself comfortable in the breeze you create with all the downhill riding. As you descend in elevation, and as the temperature gets warmer, you’ll want the flexibility of less insulation. You’ll also want to wear sunglasses and sunblock to protect your eyes and skin from the strong sun at high altitude.

A comfort cruiser bike, helmet, and a White Pine Touring water bottle filled with purified water (yours to take home as a memento) are all provided as part of the guided bike tour.

standing at the entrance to an old mine tunnel, you can feel the cold air coming up from deep underground

How Do We Get to the Starting Point?

To keep things easy, you’ll meet at White Pine Touring on Bonanza Drive to get outfitted. It’s also a great place to purchase sunblock, snacks, or a jacket. From there, you’ll take a shuttle, included in the price, to the start of the tour. On the way, you will get to know your guide. Ours was Mike Watson, sometimes known as Surfer Mike due to his chill, yet fun demeanor, and his tendency to use surfer-style lingo.

Where is the Tour?

The shuttle will drop you off in upper Deer Valley, and then you’ll begin meandering down through the beautiful mountainside, stopping frequently to see the sights and hear about the history that ties in with the geography. You’ll continue down Park City’s historic Main Street, and eventually end up back at White Pine Touring.

Cyclists heading downhill on a mountain road

Will the Tour be Strenuous? Will it be Technical?

The tour is mostly downhill, so it’s not too strenuous, but there are a few short uphill sections. Mostly on smooth pavement, this guided bike ride is not technical, but there are a couple sections of dirt along the way.

Don’t worry, your comfort cruiser bike can handle the dirt sections with its shock absorption technology; and by adjusting the gears you can make pedaling uphill easier. This bike is equally at home on pavement and dirt.

The overall tone of the tour is very easygoing and non-competitive, making it a great bike ride for beginners. This tour is more about the historical sites, and biking just happens to be the most enjoyable mode of transport.

Is this Tour Boring?

No! This tour is about history, combined with the natural beauty of Park City. Mike painted a picture for us, juxtaposing the rough Old West mining culture of the past with the elegant ski vacation industry of modern times. It was all pretty intriguing, and we never stayed in one spot too long.

Historic building in Park City that has seen many uses over the years.

Is this a Kid-Friendly Bike Tour?

The interactive nature of the tour, combined with the continuously changing scenery and topics would be totally entertaining for kids. And the fact that the ride isn’t too difficult, but still has a few off-road sections, gives kids an extra sense of adventure without overwhelming them.

The Final Take

I found the Historic Sites Bike Tour to be simultaneously fascinating and relaxing. It was cool to hear the old stories of the area and to learn tidbits of history such as the mining era phrase, “Lady Silver rides a dark horse.” This referred to the common occurrence of a dark mineral called galena alongside silver, an indicator to prospectors that they were on the right track.

And it’s wonderful to be among the mountains, feeling the sunlight on your back and the breeze across your face, as you watch the trees shimmer in the wind. I’d recommend this tour without hesitation, and I might even do it more than once, myself.

Kendall Fischer, Content Writer

 

 

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