Featured Trail: Run-A-Muk
When looking for hiking (or mountain biking) in the Park City area, most people think of the resorts, but the trail system below the Utah Olympic Park is also a gem. It's easily accessible, free, and somewhat off-the-beaten path. You can, in fact, meander all the way up to the UOP via trails and continue upwards into the hills. Today, we take a look at the most popular trail in the area: Run-A-Muk.
Accessible from either the Millenium Trail, south of Whole Foods and just north of Bear Cub Drive, or the well-marked parking lot on Olympic Parkway, Run-A-Muk offers two miles of well maintained trail and 43 acres of enclosed sage-covered hills. First opened in 2014, it has quickly become one of Park City's best areas to let your dog roam off-leash and on any given morning, you're bound to find at least a few residents out and about with their Burmese Mountain Dogs and Samoyeds. You might get a two-mile walk in, but your dog will probably clock in closer to ten, burning off access energy by tearing across the field, hopping through sage, and playing with other dogs.
Of course, the hiking-only trail isn't just for dogs, it's a great place for people of all ages. With options for longer or shorter loops, parents of small children will especially appreciate this short, easy jaunt into nature. The terrain is gentle and flat, with excellent views looking up at the slopes of the UOP and plenty of warning of anyone coming for miles around. On the flip side, the openness does mean there is precious little shade aside from the few trees located on the higher portions of the trail. A few springs trickle through the area, but we recommend bring plenty of water for your dog all the same. To avoid hiking in the heat, it's best to hit this trail is early morning when the grass shimmers like gold or the evenings when the sunset colors the hills purple.
Run-A-Muk is also a great place to visit in the winter months. The trail stays open year round and although it isn't groomed, frequent usage keeps the trail maintained and you can even cross country ski with your dog bounding at your heels. Stay up-to-date with the the trail or even post your on photos via the Run-A-Muk Facebook page.
If you are bringing your dog, make sure your pup stays within sight and knows enough commands to stay within your control. Out of respect for everyone, make sure you pick up after your pet. With dog bags, waste receptacles, and humorous reminder signs (including one with a dog and speech bubble declaring "I eat poop!") throughout the trail, there's absolutely no excuse not to clean up.
Want to make your hike longer? Just across from the road Run-A-Muk trailhead, you can hop on the RTS Trail and follow it up to Iron Bill which leads all the way to the UOP. From there, you can take the new shuttle down to the Kimball Junction Transit Center (dogs are not allowed on the shuttle) and catch a ride via an e-bike or the free city bus system back into town. The shuttle arrives at the Transit Center at the top and bottom of every hour from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., 363 days a year (excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas). Happy trails everyone!