This week for our trail post, we're taking the advice of local trail gurus the Mountain Trails Foundation and knocking out one of their suggested hikes: Quarry Mountain.
Getting to the trailhead is very simple. It's located right across from the iconic McPolin Barn, making it a perfect addition to your day if you're already planning an excursion to get your mandatory barn photo. Look for the sign that says “Quarry Mountain Connector” just off the paved bike trail located by the Farm Trailhead parking lot (from the map by the parking lot, walk towards Old Town and you should see the steps in the grass and sign). If you want a more eco-friendly option, you can cycle the McLeod Creek bike path out from town or take the 7 Pink bus (it stops at the barn every 30 minutes).
At only two miles round-trip, the moderate climb up Quarry Mountain is a one- to two-hour investment of your time. It's specifically designated for hikers, so if you want to get away from the mountain bikers, this is a good one. Rising 758 feet, the trail winds its way up and around the mountain through grass, shrubs, and groves of gnarly trees. Having half expected to roast in the sun as I began the ascent, it was a pleasant surprise to dip into these shaded patches, especially as I got higher up.
You certainly can go all the way up to the end of the trail, which terminates at the radio tower, but unless you're really interested in seeing it, there's no point. Almost at the top, you'll get to the area pictured below, where you can sit down on the rock bench rigged up by a previous hiker and reap the reward of a magnificent view.
Although it offers fantastic panoramic views of practically the entire area during its course, Quarry Mountain is one of Park City's less crowded trails, and I didn't see a single soul on the trail the entire time I spent meandering (roughly 1.5 hours with time to hang out at the top), unless you count the birds and numerous crickets jumping across the path.
The one downside to Quarry Mountain is that you're unlikely to escape the noise of traffic coming up from Highway 224. Admittedly, it gets much quieter after 10-20 minutes hiking upwards, and on the sections on the far side of the mountain, you almost don't hear anything at all. But if you prefer to hear only the rustling of leaves and chirping of birds, this might not be the hike for you. I would also recommend checking out the interactive map via Mountain Trails before you go because, although the trail is pretty easy to follow and well-defined, there is one area where it forks, and if you go right you'll end up connecting with the service road to the radio tower at the top instead of the hiking trail. Happy trails, Park City!