In the early spring and late fall when many of the area trails are still wet, muddy, or covered in snow, it can be a bit difficult to find somewhere to get out and enjoy the fair weather days. For times like these, turn to the Poison Creek Trail, an easy paved, multi-use path perfect for catching some fresh air without too much hassle. This 1.2 mile long trail (one-way) follows a creek from the Prospector neighborhood (where it connects with the historic Rail Trail) all the way up to Main Street. The waterway was originally christened "Silver Creek" by Park City's founder Parley Pratt who was struck by the beauty of the mountain stream running through the mountains down from Empire Canyon. Unfortunately, it only took a few years for the waters of the pristine creek to be transformed by discharges from the mills, garbage, and human waste and locals began referring to it as “Poison Creek.” To this day, the water remains too polluted for the trout populations that once thrived in the waters to return.
As you walk/run/bike/skate along the route of the Poison Creek Trail, you'll encounter an eclectic mix of artwork, athletic fields, residential, and historic buildings, set against the backdrop of the picturesque mountains, capped in snow or crowned in verdant leaves, depending on the season. During the shoulder season and the colder months, you'll run into fewer people, but when the summer sun is out, the path draws a myriad of locals and visitors out for a walk, bike ride, jog, or skate. It's also a great way to tour the town sans car, people watch, and really enjoy Park City's public spaces.
Distance: 1.4 miles (one-way)
Elevation gain: 240 ft
Estimate hiking time: About 1 hour
Dogs: Must be leashed
Route: The lower trailhead is located where the Historic Rail Trail on Bonanza Drive. From here it dips below the street and starts its very gentle climb towards downtown. This is the more industrial section of the trail, but its a convenient start if you're planning on hitting the trail on wheels as two bike rental shops (All Seasons Adventures and White Pine Touring) are in the immediate vicinity.
The next major landmark and a healthy section of the trail is City Park. Here you can catch locals playing with their dogs, challenging each other to pick-up games of volleyball, throwing outdoor BBQs, and so on. The path offers multiple points of access to the trail and the opportunity to check out a few points of interest, like the Old Miner's Hospital (1354 Park Ave) and the Park City Library (1255 Park Ave).
After the skate park and an interactive Sound Garden featuring unique musical instruments, the Poison Creek Trail hits a quaint residential area before dropping you out at the bottom of Main Street or continuing the short distance to the Old Town Center where the path terminates. Once you hit Main, you have a plethora of restaurants, bars, boutiques, art galleries, and historic sites. So, while, the trail is technically over, we encourage you to continue your wander through town if you happen to be visiting.
Naturally, you can start the trail on Main Street and work your way down in the opposite direction as well. If you're taking advantage of the e-bike share, we recommend starting at the transit center bike dock and working your way to the library's docking station, or vice versa.
Poison Creek Trail is open year round, but is in the best condition between April and November.