Riding rivers, The Crest Trail and Full Moon Mountain Biking
on July 29, 2011
It's late July in Utah's mountains and while majority of the country suffers through one of the hottest summers on record, up here at 7,000 feet we think it's hot when we crack into the 80s. All this beautiful summer weather is starting to take its toll on me. I haven't skied in almost 24 days because obviously it hasn't snowed and every time I ride my mountain bike I have to ride higher and higher to find those remaining patches of snow, but trust me I'm doing it. Over the past couple weeks, I've mixed it up a little bit, and I've tried to stray from my routine of riding my mountain bike in the mornings and working in the evenings. For the summer thrill seeker give one of these ideas a shot and before you know it, I promise it will be snowing again.
During the next full moon (August 13th) shuttle your car with some friends to the top of Deer Valley up on Guardsman's Pass and test your mountain bike skills out in the dark. Now with the light of the full moon it is possible to ride through many of the high mountain meadows around Flagstaff mountain with out a headlamp but I don't recommend it. If you have a headlamp you can follow one of the many down hill trails back to the Silver Lake area of Deer Valley. From there you have numerous options to descend but my favorite is heading out to the Deer Crest trail system. If the prospect of riding down hill in the dark isn't your thing don't fret a much easier cross country style ride can be found in the Round Valley trail system of Park City. If you're a beginner, or you're with out access to a high powder headlamp then this is the route you should take. Here is a short clip from our full moon ride during the full moon in early July.
Like I mentioned earlier, if you're like me and you're still hunting for snow, get out and ride the Crest trail that sits atop the Park City / Big Cottonwood ridge line.
Now the trail is completely free of snow now but there still some huge patches of snow you'll ride past along the way. Not to mention you'll have some incredible views as you make your way from Puke Hill down to the Canyons resort. If you're feeling really adventurous try climbing from Main Street Park City, up through Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort to the top of the Crest trail. Once at the top things may look pretty familiar. You'll be standing real close to the top of Pinecone Ridge at PCMR and if you look south east you'll be looking at the Jupiter Peak area of Park City. When looking south and south west, you'll see Brighton Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort.
As you make your way west along the Crest trail you'll be able to see Mount Baldy which connects Snowbird and Alta.
Finally, from the top of the Canyons resort
you have the option of dropping down Mill Creek Canyon or getting some seriously fun down hill in through all 3,000 vertical feet the Canyons resort has to offer. If you plan to climb from Park City and descend through the Canyons I'd give yourselves a minimum of 5 -6 hours if you're an advanced rider. I've attached a gps map of ride from the top of Puke Hill down through the Canyons so if shutteling up to the top of Guardsmans is more your thing, this will give you a better idea of what to expect. Click view on map for more details.
Finally, if biking isn't your thing then try booking a trip with one of the many outdoor adventure companies that run rafts or tubes down the Weber River. Now I've never run the river with a guide service before, I've always followed some long time locals on the river on our inner tubes but if you're a first time runner the guide service is surly the way to go. They provide you with the tubes, rafts and life jackets. Yes, you do need a life jacket trust me. They also take care of the transportation. This way your group deosn't have to be bothered with driving and shuttling your cars to different check points along the river. Check out how Bare Foot Tubing describes the river journey, "
The Weber Rivers class II water and class III rapids flow out of the high Uinta Mountains in Eastern Utah. The river is hidden between I-84 and the Union Pacific Rail Line.
The top section is 6 miles and starts at Henefer DWR launch site. Upon launching tubers will float through the "Rock Garden", under "Concussion Bridge", past Devils Slide, over the "Croydon Wave", past the "Ranch", dodge the "Pile Up Pylons", float under "Swallow Bridge" and through "Taggarts Rapid". Watch for the big cliff wall on the left and parked cars on the right. Don't miss the take out on the right!!!
The Round Valley section is 5.5 miles and starts after Taggarts Rapid. Upon launching tubers will wind their way through the bottom of Weber Canyon, passing under train bridges and freeway overpasses. Before leaving Weber Canyon, tubers float over "Big Eddy Rapid" and "Lefties Rapid". The last 3.5 miles include slow flowing water and long winding stretches of river. Tubers will get out of the river on the right at the Barefoot River Access just after the Round Valley Bridge. Watch for the bridge and don't miss the take out!!!"
Tell me that doesn't sound like fun? If you're looking to raft the river instead of tubing, try Park City Rafting.
There's only a month and half left of summer, so get out and enjoy it while you can. Before you know it will be skiing and riding the Greatest Snow on Earth, again! The next two photos were taken at Alta in late September and early October of 2009.