Back in the day before I became an uber successful writer, journalist, and knower of all things, I was a bike mechanic. Yes, I was buried in grease and dirt, slaving away for “the man” at a crappy wage in a hot and stinky shop. As dirty as it was, the bike shop was a great starting and ending point for a ride and we loved to point people in the right direction to the best mountain bike trails in Park City.
Since I sit in front of my computer now and don’t get to tell you from the shop, I’ll tell you in the form of this blog. I like to ride a lot, and I have a big list of mountain bike trails to choose from. So I’ve carefully narrowed that list down to my three favorites. I’m sure that if you come to mountain bike in Park City, which you are going to do, you won’t be disappointed.
The Wasatch Crest Trail
The Wasatch Crest Trail is hiker and bike friendly and accessible from multiple points. Mostly descending after you make the big push up, The Crest has a few rock gardens and the coveted Spine, an outcropping of technical rock that is a major test of skill. There are several bail out points like Ambush trail or you can take The Crest trail all the way to Salt Lake City.
If you’re in Park City you can access The Crest from the Pinecone Ridge trail and the Armstrong trail. These combined are almost eight miles of climbing and take you right up to the beginning of The Crest trail. Or if you’re not into that much climbing, you can skip half of it and shuttle to the bottom of the appropriately named Puke Hill which puts you right at the same point where Pinecone Ridge pops out of the trees and at the beginning of the Crest Trail.
Total distance averages between 20-25 miles depending on which route you take up and down. Shops in town including our own White Pine Touring provide shuttles and guides for The Crest and other trails.
I have three tips when riding the Wasatch Crest Trail: Ride it after 5pm or in the morning and out of the heat of the day. Bring snacks. I’ve been caught up there with low blood sugar and the combination of that and high altitude wasn’t pretty. Also, avoid The Crest trail on the weekends, as it is very popular for Salt Lake City residents to ride then.
Shadow Lake Loop Trail
Another little gem of a mountain bike trail in Park City is the Shadow Lake Loop trail. It is a bit of a push to get to, but when you’re there you are breathing fresh mountain air and circling a blue green lake that is the result of years of mine tailings. Not a lot of people get up to shadow lake and often you can see deer, moose, and maybe an elk if you’re lucky. I like it for the solitude and to escape busier routes like the Mid Mountain trail. Accessible from the Keystone trail, Scott’s Bypass, or the Pipeline trail, Shadow Lake Loop is a wonderful ride that takes you up into the heart of Park City Mountain Resort’s big mountain ski area.
My tip when riding the Shadow Lake Loop would be to prepare. This can take you a few hours depending on the route you take up. It will be worth it though. The scenery is unbelievable.
Flying Dog Trail
The Flying Dog Trail really does fly, making it one of the best mountain bike trails in Park City. It loops around behind the Glenwild neighborhood, which is about 15 minutes outside of Park City by bus or car. The flow of this trail is out of hand and the climb to the top isn’t bad for intermediate riders. The speed is why I’m really into riding Flying Dog. The 3.8 miles of descending is both fun and challenging. At the top are a few tight corners and rock gardens before it opens up into smooth trail riding bliss through beautiful aspen groves and across a few streams.
My tip would be to avoid climbing Flying Dog as people tend to fly down it. Take the Preserve Connector trail to the top and ride down Flying Dog from there. And when you get to the bottom, you can access Bob’s Basin trails. These are a set of four short descending only trails that have great berms, small jumps, and good flow. And they can drop you right where you started or you can connect further into the Glenwild trail network.
My tip would be to ride Flying Dog closer to 7:00pm, since it will be too late for someone to be climbing and you can have the all flowy fun you want on the descent.
The End of the Trail
These are just three great mountain biking trails in Park City. The reality is that there are over 400 miles of single-track in this town. Thanks to the Mountain Trails Foundation, Park City has the ability to create even more trails and the network grows every year. From lift access bike parks to beginner XC, Park City has it all.
And when you’re done riding there are restaurants, free concerts, bars, shopping, hiking, movies in the park, skateboarding, chair lift rides, and more for you to do. So don’t be a slacker, book a trip today and visit the Experts at Jans. We will get you a trip, rental, whatever you need to have an awesome time mountain biking in Park City.
By Paul Boyle, Marketing Specialist