Park City, Utah - Utah Mountain Biking
Park City is known for having the "Greatest snow on Earth." Located about a half hour East of Salt Lake City, it played host to some Olympic events in the Winter Games of 2002. Though most well known for its winter recreational offerings, Park City has become a year round destination resort in good part because of the excellent mountain biking. It has really only caught on with out-of-towners over the last few years.... though us locals have been riding the same singletrack trails since the mid-80s.
The town itself sits at about 7,000ft in elevation with rides topping out about 9,500 . It only claims a population of 6,500. That however is Park City proper.... throw in an extra 6 or 7,000 with the outlying areas. The town is still able to maintain its small 'mining town' charm very well, thanks to strict building regulations and farsighted planning. If you do plan a trip to Park City for mountain biking and have one or more non-bikers in your group.... do not fear, there are tons of things to do here.
What we're here to talk about though, is the mountain biking. There are so many trails in and around the Park City area... I can't even begin to count. Trail ratings range from easy (the Rail Trail) to double black diamond (Twist and Shout). If you want to go for an epic 4 or 5 hour ride without seeing another soul, the Uintah National Forest has several great singletrack trails only about 20 minutes away. The bulk of the rides in Park city are singletrack. They do occaisionally connect with old mining roads, but singletrack rules supreme in this area. The views from the mountain tops are spectacular. But for the majority of your riding, you will be blanketed in a forest of Aspen and Doug Fir.
The best place to take off for most of your rides in Park City, is at the bottom of Main St. A good place to get some orientation, pick up some trail info, a map, supplies, and plenty of parking, is White Pine Touring. A great shop that is very active in trailbuilding and maintaining in the local community as well. Park City does have a very active trailbuilding community and in an average Summer, at least 4 or 5 new major trails are built, and many shorties pop up as well. While taking pictures for this article, I stumbled into one I had never seen before. When I asked later at the bike shop about it, they smiled and said its name was 'Gravedigger'. For the record, I highly recommend Gravedigger for the technically inclined.
Several of the best rides branch off of the 'Daily Grind'. The Grind which is very appropriately named, winds its way up Daily Canyon and provides access to some of my favorite trails (NOTE: my favorite trails tend to be rated intermediate to advanced) such as :
Tour de Suds--
- a singletrack bonanza of tight twisting turns, roots, logs, and other assorted obstacles with names like Bedsprings to make sure you have fun!
The Daily Bowls--
- a newish trail that takes off to the right from TDS just before you get to Guardsman Rd. The Bowls takes you back around in a loop to the bottom of Daily Canyon via mostly singletrack and a couple of old mining roads.
Norba Downhill Loop--
- so named because of its connection with one of the toughest downhills in the NORBA circuit. This trail continues from the top of TDS back over to the Deer Valley trail system via Flagstaff Mt. Be sure not to miss Spin Cycle toward the end of this loop with its zigzagging down the canyon, high bank turns, and occaissional jump thrown in as crowd pleasers for when the racers come.
The Ontario Downhill--
- only the oldtimers in town know how to access this trail. Be nice to the boys at White Pine and maybe they'll give you directions to your own private downhill. (10 years of riding and I've only ever seen two other people on it :^)
Another popular uphill 'grind' takes you into the Park City Ski Area. Access here begins at the Sweeney Switchbacks and can take you up either to Jupiter Lake, a new unnamed pirate trail, the Wasatch Crest Trail, or Gravedigger.
There are simply too many great rides to try and name and describe them all. Deer Valley has developed a mountain biking resort over the past several years. They offer lift served mountain biking in case you only have a limited amount of time and want the maximum miles logged in. They have a great trail map of their rides and clearly marked difficulty ratings the same as with skiing on the trails. They also, this year, installed a trials riding course, have a small trailside shop, and even mountain biking lessons. PC Chamber Bureau also puts out a trail map wioth some of the city's most popular trails available at the bike shops. You will find locals are a friendly bunch, so don't be timid about stopping someone to ask directions on how to get to the 'good stuff'.
It is difficult to get lost on any of our trails. But, even if you do, you are guaranteed to have some excellent singletrack and a great time!