Lost Prospector Loop trail.

Image: Eric Schramm

These rides presume some familiarity with singletrack cycling at altitude. Expect no cliff-like drops or gaps (at least ones you can’t walk your bike around), but, depending on fitness and skill set, “intermediate” is a relative term.

Lost Prospector Loop

Length: 6 miles (including a roughly mile-long stint on paved Rail Trail)
Find it: The Rail Trail Trailhead, off of Bonanza Drive (behind White Pine Touring)
Park City’s first “real” trail, according to Mountain Trails Foundation’s Charlie Sturgis, this classic ride has quiet stretches of Gambel oak and aspens as well as a flat, exposed stint, paralleling Deer Valley Drive, giving riders views of Old Town and the resorts. The loop can be done in two ways. The easier start is via Freemason (off of the Rail Trail). Then, head left on Lost Prospector all the way to Skid Row and descend back to the Rail Trail, or reverse the loop for a slightly tougher workout via a start on Skid Row.

Mid Mountain Trail

Length: 20+ miles with options for more or less mileage (one way)
Find it: Start at Empire or Silver Lake in Deer Valley; hop a city bus to start or end the adventure.
An IMBA-designated Epic Ride, 8,000-foot Mid Mountain not only travels through aspen groves, thick conifer forests, and wildflower-strewn meadows, but it also traverses through a massive chunk of the local trail system, including both resorts. It’s a get-your-bearings ride with moderate climbs and descents as it progresses at, you guessed it, the midmountain level. Shorten your ride by exiting via Spiro or Crescent Mine Grade near the Park City Mountain base, or Ambush, on PCM’s Canyons side, or carry on all the way to RTS, below the Olympic Park. Reverse the ride with an uphill start for more calorie burning, or loop in a chunk of the higher-elevation Wasatch Crest Trail via Armstrong and Pinecone Ridge Trails. Of note: Wasatch Crest is a spectacular ride in its own right as it spans the ridgeline from Big Cottonwood Canyon all the way to Mill Creek Canyon.

Old Town Loop

Length: 8 miles
Find it: Park at the base of Park City Mountain; ride up Lowell Avenue until the road curves, then turn left onto the dirt access road (where there’s a gate). Pedal up the dirt road until Sweeney’s Switchbacks is on your right.
This ride is challenging but approachable, though there’s a good chance navigation will come in handy for this ride through Park City’s old-school, originally hand-built trails, which meander in spaghetti-bowl fashion through old mining territory. Head up Sweeney’s Switchbacks until it intersects with Flat Cable. Take that right, and climb Flat Cable all the way to Drift Road. Then take Drift Road to John’s Access and John’s Trail, climbing until the top above Town Lift. Then, descend Town Lift to Drift Road past old mine relics (near Bonanza chair) to John’s 99. Cross King Road on John’s 99 and take Empire Link into upper Daly Canyon. Take TDS Ontario Bypass to Ontario Ridge Road, and don’t miss the hard right onto Ontario Ridge Trail. Cross Prospect Ridge Trail, then take a right onto Rossi Hill Trail, which will land you back in Old Town on Marsac Avenue. You can return to PCM entirely via asphalt or take Hillside Ave to King Road to Norfolk Ave and ride the singletrack at the end of the street, which leads to the loop’s starting point: that original dirt access road.

Armstrong-Spiro Loops

Length: 4 miles (or more)
Find it: Park at or ride to the Silver Star Trailhead (1825 Three Kings Drive), or start from the lower parking lot at Park City Mountain and ride Silver Spur Trail to Armstrong.
Ascend popular Armstrong, uphill only for bikes, and commit to the sustained but doable ascent through aspens, past a mine relic or two, and into pitch-scented shadows—as well as open ski-run meadows. Depending on your stamina, choose one of several distinct loops, the shortest of which is four miles. The first return option is Dawn’s Trail, or stay on Armstrong until HAM, or head deeper into resort terrain until you reach Mid Mountain. Whichever connection you choose to loop to Spiro, enjoy the cruise back down through banked switchbacks. If you opt for Mid Mountain, consider bypassing busy Spiro and descending Crescent Mine Grade to the resort base (see Downhill Thrills article for more).

Colin’s to Rob’s to Mid Mountain to Holly’s

Length: 6 miles (plus some paved Millennium Trail mileage)
Find it: Park at the Canyons Village lower resort lot, or try your luck at the Rob’s Trailhead or the Park City Community Church lot (except on Sunday mornings).
Start on Colin’s and make your way through sun-dappled aspen groves and shady conifers on the popular uphill only (for bikes) stretch of Rob’s. Get into your groove, switchbacking steadily uphill past hikers and dogs, perhaps stopping at Sam’s bench for a breather and a moment to reflect, then on to Mid Mountain for a taste of that spectacular 8,000-foot, resort-crossing artery before heading down Holly’s. Of note: the upper parts of this trail tend to be suited for the advanced-intermediate rider due to loose and chunky terrain.

Glenwild Loop

Length: 8.5 miles
Find it: Start at the Spring Creek Trailhead on Glenwild Dr (north of Interstate 80, off of Bitner Rd).
Perfect for early- or late-season riding (it’s one of the first areas to dry out and last to be covered in snow), the primarily open, sagebrush terrain straddles nature preserve and the unspoiled backcountry of its swanky golf-community namesake. The roughly 800-foot elevation gain culminates with expansive views and then a looping single-track descent (which gets looser and dustier as summer wanes). Start along the banks of meandering East Canyon Creek, and keep an eye out for wetland creatures, particularly hawks, as you ascend Blackhawk Trail to reach Glenwild Loop.

Flying Dog Loop via 24/7

Length: 11 miles (or more)
Find it: Park at East Canyon Trailhead, Jeremy Ranch.
Yes, if you look at this fun trail from above, it appears to be shaped like a flying pup. Here, sage and meadow meet oak and aspens—and the occasional pond-side moose. Start with the gradual uphill grind on 24/7, an exposed (read: not shady, so sunblock it up) two-mile stretch with wide-open views. Also accessible from the neighboring Glenwild Loop via Cobblestone, the Flying Dog portion of the adventure is best ridden counterclockwise, getting the steep stuff out of the way and earning a swooping chunk of downhill. Return via 24/7, or pop onto Glenwild or Stealth Trails to up the mileage.

Road to WOS

Length: 4.5 miles
Find it: Park at the Summit Park Trailhead, intersection of Parkview Drive and Matterhorn Drive, or on street-side parking at the top of Innsbruck Strasse and Matterhorn Terrace.
The challenge here may be the altitude—a nearly 8,000-foot starting elevation. But with thin air and towering evergreens come cool temps, perfect for when midsummer heat bakes other trails. Hop on the Fir Road connector to Short Stack for a moderate climb, and then revel in the smooth, often speedy descents. Keep an eye out for hikers—and the ever-elusive (and rare) black bear.

County Treadsetting

Take a quick jaunt over to Kamas for a spin on High Star Ranch’s 16-miles-and-growing trail system, designed by bikers and best suited for intermediate and advanced riders. Located in the midst of cow pastures and adjacent to the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, consider riding these view-laden trails in the morning or evening, rather than the heat of the day. For your maiden voyage on this relatively new system, check out Classic High Star Ranch Loop. Start with the HSR Climb, then turn right onto Escalator Trail for more uphill. Keep right to continue the upward grind until you reach HSR Upper DH (yep, downhill only) and descend the directional trail until turning left onto Escalator Trail for a stint, and then take a right onto HSR Lower DH to return to the parking lot. Stick around for a post-ride bite and drink on the patio of State Road Tavern & Restaurant (970 N State Road 32, 435.783.3530, stateroadtavern.com), located inside the DeJoria Center.

Before you go

Mountain weather is changeable, so layer up. Take altitude into consideration; don’t be afraid to stop for your oxygen-depleted lungs’ sake or to make way for a moose, and bring plenty of water and snacks to avoid bonking. Grab a Mountain Trails Foundation (mountaintrails.org) map, available at most sports retailers and coffee shops (or online) to plot your route, or download Trailforks or MTB Project apps for real-time GPS guidance. And consider purchasing a copy of Park City’s Prime Cuts 3, the newest edition of the go-to trail guidebook by longtime local riders Paul Boyle, Mark Fischer, and Charlie Sturgis (available at local retailers).

Special thanks to Scott House of White Pine Touring, Charlie Sturgis of Mountain Trails Foundation, Ben Liegert of Snyderville Basin Recreation, Todd Henneman of Storm Cycles, and Chris Erkkila of Deer Valley Resort for sharing trail- and road-riding expertise.

(See individual bike option articles divided by levels of expertise.)

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