By Missy Hilton
With over 400 interconnected trail miles accessible from the heart of town, there’s something for every level of rider.
Ask locals about their favorite mountain-biking trail, and your answers will be as varied as the selection of movies at the Sundance Film Festival. That’s part of the reason why the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) again awarded Park City its “Gold-Level Ride CenterTM” status, a designation that is granted based on a comprehensive list of criteria including a thorough review of the trail system. Of the thirty-seven Ride CenterTM destinations worldwide that were ranked as either Gold, Silver or Bronze, only six achieved the Gold Level status.
Park City’s trails stand out for a number of reasons. With over 400 interconnected trail miles accessible from the heart of town, there’s something for every level of rider, from “no experience necessary” to white knuckle, technical. Th e town itself offers a large range of accommodations and dining options, and it’s only a 30-minute drive from the airport, making it incredibly easy to get here and start pedaling quickly.
The community of Park City as a whole is strongly committed to mountain biking. It takes a village to build, maintain, protect and expand such a vast system of trails. Leading the charge is the Mountain Trails Foundation, a non-profit advocacy group that, in collaboration with other city and county entities, has a goal to provide a single track within a half a mile of every home in the area. It’s that type of laser focus that keeps the trails system in such great shape. Charlie Sturgis, Executive Director of Mountain Trails Foundation explains the reason mountain biking is so supported in Park City, “People move here to take advantage of the mountains and the outdoor lifestyle. Parkites want access to the trails all year round. Everybody’s motivated to have a great experience in their own backyard.”
Mountain Trails Foundation is a great resource for locals as well as tourists. Its website (www.mountaintrails.org) has everything necessary to plan a ride, including detailed, interactive maps, updated trail conditions and event information so you don’t find yourself in the middle of a race instead of what you thought was going to be a relaxing ride!
Spiro Trail is a great, 6.2 mile out-and-back ride whose claim to fame is a 1,400-foot vertical ascent over 3.1 miles. If the climb wears you out, the thrill of the descent will surely recharge your batteries! Spiro is also the gateway to many other trails, making it perfect to jump on anytime.
SPIRO TRAIL: 6.2 miles out & back with a 1400 ft vertical ascent over 3.1 miles.
Round Valley Loop
This roughly eight-mile beginner-to-intermediate trail system boasts gorgeous views, a variety of uphill climbing, and downhill cruising with some technical bits scattered in between. With multiple access points and lots of twisty turns, you can’t go wrong in Round Valley.
Mid Mountain Loop (IMBA EPIC TRAIL)
For the intermediate-to-expert rider, the 28-mile, high-altitude Mid Mountain Trail (much of it at 8,000 feet) off ers big climbs, stunning vistas and multiple access points. Single track dominates through aspen groves and meadows. Make sure to acclimate to the altitude before attempting this one.
With so many options, just choosing your mountain biking adventure can be daunting. Here are four trails (and one rad bike park) to get you going.
Trailside Bike Park
Trailside bike park is for everyone from fi ve-year-olds just mastering two wheels, to expert technical riders with years of experience. For beginners, there’s a super fun pump track, fl ow trail and skills trail. Intermediate riders can take advantage of the slopestyle/jump trail, and advanced riders won’t want to miss the more technical all-mountain and the advanced free ride trails.
As much as Parkites love their mountain bikes, they also love their dogs. Be aware that it’s not uncommon for bikers to bring Fido along for a run while on a ride — so be especially careful on fast downhills with blind turns.