From lift-served to leg-powered, Park City’s elaborate network of mountain bike trails will lure any level of two- wheeled rider to its smooth dirt. With 400 miles of twisty, high-altitude singletrack to choose from—and cycling-friendly amenities around town—it’s no wonder that Park City has been dubbed the world’s only gold-level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) for three years running.
But while the trails are endless, your vacation is probably not. So grab a bike and get to pedaling with our breakdown of Park City’s shred-worthy singletrack.
Park City Area
Cross-country trails have been the bread and butter of Park City’s mountain bike scene since a handful of locals carved out the area’s first trails on Empire Pass over two decades ago. Flatlanders and novice cyclists will appreciate the Round Valley trail system, where riders can acclimate to 30-plus miles of mellow trail before pedaling at higher altitudes. Up higher, the trails are notorious for lung-busting climbs and met with long descents, often traversing the town’s historic mining ruins.
For one of Park City’s most iconic mountain bike rides, shuttle a car to Guardsman Pass and begin the climb up the Wasatch Crest Trail. After summiting the fortuitously named Puke Hill, choose a 4-mile, 1,400 foot descent on Pinecone Ridge Trail or continue pedaling six miles across the ridgeline until the Mid Mountain Connector, ending your ride at the base of Canyons resort.
Park City Mountain Resort
More than 70 miles of trails are jammed into Park City Mountain’s boundaries, enabling both hikers and bikers to explore well beyond the switchbacks visible from the base area. Cut out some of the initial mileage by hopping a ride on one of the resort’s three summer chairlifts, and save your energy for the less popular singletrack that’s harder to reach. Trails zig-zag through leafy aspen forests and wildflower meadows, eventually rewarding the ambitious climber with isolated alpine landscapes, like Shadow Lake at the base of Jupiter Peak, just below 10,000 feet.
The Canyons’ 11 (and growing) lift-accessed trails harness the flow of gravity to propel riders downhill, coasting over freeride features and manmade stunts. Enroll in the Canyons’ Bike Academy before dropping into this mountain-inspired playground and learn the necessary skills to navigate the berms, bumps and bridges constructed throughout the park. If you’d rather keep your tires on the ground, numerous cross-country trails branch out from the resort’s base and mid-mountain areas, giving you the freedom to meander beyond resort boundaries at your own pace.
Deer Valley Resort
Much of Deer Valley’s singletrack is based on the old NORBA (North American Off-Road Bicycle Association) standards of skinny and technical trails, but don’t expect them to be any less fun than today’s modern trail designs. The 70 miles of top-to-bottom trails are a mix of downhill and cross-country lines that continue to evolve with the addition of playful freeride features. Forego the chairlift and access dozens of cross-country routes, including the start of the notorious Mid Mountain Trail, a 26-mile point-to-point that crosses all three ski resorts in Park City.
As the birthplace of the Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Resort is a picture-perfect setting for artists and athletes alike. Located 45 minutes southwest of Park City, the naturalist’s retreat contains roughly 25 miles of bike-only trails that give riders free reign over technical traverses and smooth straightaways. Explore the secluded wilderness enclave around the base of Mount Timpanogos, Utah’s second tallest mountain, and dip into loamy aspen groves for a shaded reprieve from the summer sun. Pay a visit in autumn, when the season transforms the treetops into a glowing canopy of gold.
Snowbasin Resort, an hour from Park City, is the anchor for much of the Ogden area singletrack. The resort itself harbors 26 miles of alpine trail, not including an additional 18 miles of trail that snake through nearby Forest Service land. Hitch a ride on the gondola to the top of Needles Lodge for direct access to rocky and fast descents in the shadows of the Cirque, or stay low and loop the rolling lower mountain for a friendly spin around Green Pond. A new skills park will open this summer, built especially for kids, and featuring easy-to-master stunts for the next generation of rippers.
Plot your ride with a little help from Mountain Trails Foundation and Basin Recreation, two local organizations that maintain Park City’s immaculate trails. Both groups offer up-to-date trail conditions on their website, which are especially helpful after a rainstorm. Create a custom route on Mountain Trails’ website and upload it to a GPS device. If you’d rather rely on analog navigation, a hard copy map is available at local bike shops for a $5 donation, which details every trail in the Park City area.