Top Three Rides: Park City, Utah

Park City is well-known for it’s plethora of mountain biking, and it’s well-deserved.  Singletrack trails are all over the area; both in the “valley” and across the three main ski areas that tower above town (Park City Mountain Resort, The Canyons, and Deer Valley).   With the exception of some of the purpose-built trails at The Canyons and Deer Valley, most of the trails in the area are XC-style with very fast, packed singletrack and not many technical features to speak of.

That said, don’t expect to take it easy in Park City; when you ride here with Chasing Epic, we’ll pack in the miles!  The climbing will keep you huffing and puffing, and the extended descents will give your forearms a solid pump by the time you reach the bottom.  Here are our three favorite rides in the area!


Wasatch Crest


This one is kind of a no-brainer… it’s tough to beat a ride that starts near 10,000 feet, traverses a ridge between two major canyons, and drops almost 4,000 vertical feet back into town.  That’s how we see it, anyways- the Wasatch Crest ride is by far our favorite ride in the area.  Many locals do it by starting the ride in town and climbing over 3,000 feet up to to the ridge, but with Chasing Epic we like to do our clients a favor and shuttle up to Guardsman Pass.  You’ll thank us later!

After reaching the pass, we get a fun little singletrack before hitting Puke Hill; to us, the name has more bark than bite, as it’s a steep climb but very short (1/4 mile).  From the top of Puke Hill, you start the traverse and descent along the Wasatch Crest itself- look to the right down into Park City, look to the left down into Big Cottonwood Canyon.  The singletrack is sublime, and it’s tough to beat anywhere in the west!  After several miles of intermittent descents and short climbs, you finally drop down into The Canyons, where you can pick your long, extended descent on their purpose built XC or flow trails.  All told, expect 15 or so miles (if you shuttle to Guardsman Pass) with 1,000 feet of climbing, but over 4,000 of descending!




Flying Dog Loop


The Flying Dog loop might be off most folks’ radar, as it sits about 15 minutes north of town on the other side of I-80.  That said, it makes for a great cool-weather ride since it’s fairly open terrain-wise, and it also dries out much faster than the on-mountain trails.  There are multiple options, but when we ride this loop it’s around 17-18 miles with about 2500 vertical of climbing.

Starting from just north of I-80 in one of the nicer Park City neighborhoods, you’ve got an extended (but gradual) climb for the first 45 minutes or so.  Expect some shade, but mostly it’s wide open and smooth track.  Once you hit the top and start descending off the backside, expect a really, really fast and flowy descent that will keep you smiling for a long time!  The trail undulates between valleys and gulches, and always keeps you on your toes with quick turns, switchbacks, and a few rocky sections.  Once you reach the southwest corner of the loop, you have multiple options with a few purpose-built flow trails that are fun to lap- if you’ve got the energy!




Mid Mountain IMBA Epic


The Mid Mountain trail in Park City bisects the three ski resorts and is overall pretty level from end-to-end, although there are short climbs and descents.  What it lacks in big descents, it makes up for with some of the sweetest views and aspen-lined singletrack you’ll see anywhere in the Rocky Mountains!

The trail starts either at Deer Valley or The Canyons (we don’t have a preference, honestly!) and cuts across the slopes of all three ski resorts, all the while keeping you on your toes with some flowy singletrack and technical rooty sections.  There are dozens of offshoot trails you can take to either climb or descent from the Mid Mountain trail, and they’re all worth exploring depending on how much energy you have.  A few of our favorites include Pinecone, Apex, and Jenni’s.  We highly recommend hitting the Mid Mountain trail in the fall at peak aspen season, as the trail is lined with them and would provide for an incredible riding experience!




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AUTHOR: Steve Mokan

Steve is the owner (and founder) of Chasing Epic Mountain Bike Adventures, and contributes regularly to our blog. He's passionate about providing customers with incredible mountain bike vacations, and he loves photography and travel when he's not working. Truthfully, he loves those things when he is working too.