After exiting Interstate 80, passing Olympic Park and making the turn to go into Park City, Utah, you can't help but notice this very long, paved trail on either side of Highway 224, always dotted with many cyclists, roller skiers and sometimes runners: you've entered a world of outdoor lovers and active residents. It would be crazy not to get out and enjoy this beautiful town along with them! Try a half-day bike excursion.
Park City bicyclists enjoy great views in Deer Valley — Photo courtesy of Deer Valley Resort
Park City: A Cyclist's Dream
An eclectic city filled with both the wealthy elite and the younger crowd who literally work to snowboard, Park City is filled year-round with nature lovers and active people. For people who live in this city situated on the back side of the Wasatch Mountains, it's just a way of life. For cyclists, it's a dream destination.
Once the snow melts, the bikes come out and the trails get populated. The three world-class ski resorts here (Deer Valley, Canyons and Park City Mountain Resort) are not stupid. They know how to keep people happy year-round and keep the tourists coming, providing plenty of mountain trails, both two-way traffic and downhill-only runs.
Park City, with only 7,000 year-round residents, attracts a whopping 3,000,000 visitors annually. Four hundred miles of single-track trails await riders of all levels. It's no wonder Utah is considered a world-famous destination for biking, both on the road and the trail!
While many bike-lover destinations boast of 500-plus miles of trails, they can't say those are all non-motorized, as Park City can. But the real beauty in Park City's trails is that they are inter-connected between the resorts and beyond.
Many of these local trails run through private land, so thanks to the Mountain Trails Foundation's years of work with landowners, riders have miles of access. Buy a $5 map to say thanks and help out the foundation.
Campers at nearby Jordanelle State Park could feasibly ride all the way into Park City, head up the Wasatch Crest Trail onto the mountain, come down at the Canyons Resort or head down the other side of the mountain and end up in Salt Lake City. Crazy enough, a diehard could then pick up the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and continue on to Provo to the south or Ogden to the north.
Bike Trail Options
Here are some options for getting your sweat on and thighs burning in and around Park City:
If you're staying in Park City, start right on historic Main Street, the upper part, and head to King Road. Continue on through switchbacks, climbing up to Crescent Ridge and Shadow Lake and then passing the historic Silver King Mine, one of Park City's most prosperous mines back in its heyday.
After riding past the Thaynes lift at Park City Mountain Resort, see more mine ruins before climbing up to the crest again, then speeding downhill for the descent. This 10-mile run surely deserves a rewarding brew from one of the many pubs in town. (Remember: Only 3.5 is on draft; stronger stuff's in the bottles.)
Zipping past aspens — Photo courtesy of Joel Cohen / Deer Valley Resort
Deer Valley Resort has over 50 miles of single- and double-track trails, all with gorgeous views included. Plus, all trails are well-marked. The Rail Trail (open to horseback riders, joggers and walkers) is 29 miles alone, and it connects all three resorts.
Connect to Park City Mountain Resort and through their trail system to enjoy riding past more historic mining relics. The most popular trail is Mid-Mountain, a 24-mile loop with an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet.
For the more experienced, the Canyons Resort offers 10 jump, flow and freeride trails, plus 20 miles of single-track options for all abilities. Ambush, Short Swing and Mid-Mountain allow two-way traffic, as does the most advanced trail: Holly's.
Ride the gondola up for downhill-only bike trails, from the easier White Rabbit and Flying Salmon to the expert-only Cliffhanger and Split Decision.
New just this August is an expert-only signature bike park trail, which descends off the very difficult Insurgent and offers natural and manmade step-downs, drops and wood features. Another new trail featured on the Go-Ride Gravity Series Downhill race on Labor Day also offers rock drops and other hair-raising features.
Some riders appreciate the expertise of a local guide (Try White Pine Tours.), who don't need to rely on the intricate web-like trail maps and can offer great tips, too. With so many avid riders and even local pros like Eric Porter, it's easy to get inspired by these very talented and fit folks.
Instructors are also a great way to go, with pros being found at both the Canyons and Deer Valley resorts.
For those who have a healthy fear of concussions and wanna just take it easy, the open space area, Round Valley, offers lower elevation riding and beginner-friendly trails suitable for families. A park and sports complex is right by the parking lot.
Since there's no way you could begin to experience all of the incredible riding experiences that Park City has to offer in one visit, looks like you'll have to become one of the million and a half that returns for more action next year!