Catch A Lift: Utah’s Lift-Served Mountain Biking

Catch A Lift: Utah’s Lift-Served Mountain Biking

Snow and Local Insider

By Snow and Local Insider \ July 19 2019

When the snow melts, gravity enthusiasts in Utah don’t have to wait long to seek a fix for their adrenaline addiction. 

While some of the chairlifts do enjoy a well-deserved rest in the sunny months, others continue spinning right round all summer long. A handful of resorts continue to operate lifts for the enjoyment of foot passengers, hikers and mountain bikers. Instead of laboriously pedaling uphill, riders and their steeds are whisked to the top of the mountain where they are free to choose their downhill destiny. 

Here we have an overview of all the Utah resorts that offer lift-served mountain biking in the summer and fall. Keep in mind that lift-served mountain biking is weather dependent and opening and closing dates fluctuate yearly. Some resorts continue running lifts in the fall with reduced hours. Be sure to check the hours and operational status before you go for a ride.


Deer Valley Lift-Served Mountain Biking

The Scene
Deer Valley Resort offers the most comprehensive bike park of any Utah resort. They’ve been building features and trails to tickle any rider’s fancy for quite some time now. With nearly 70 miles of trail, there’s enough terrain to keep riders of every level engaged and excited about exploring the stands of quaking aspens, meadows, and conifers that dot Deer Valley’s slopes. The bike park is geared more toward advanced and intermediate riders with its big berms, flow trails, tabletops, and wooden features. When you finish up your last lap, grab a beer and some delicious tacos or a bahn mi sandwich at the Royal Street Cafe in the Silver Lake area. 



Lift-Served Chairlifts
Silver Lake Express, Sterling Express, & Homestake Express

Rentals
Bike lessons, clinics, rentals, and guided tours are all offered at Deer Valley. Bike rentals are located at both the Snow Park and Silver Lake areas. Bikes and protective gear are available for both juniors and adults. Reservations are recommended.

Fun Fact: Park City was the first town to earn the coveted IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) Gold-Level Ride Center status.

Lessons
Deer Valley offers a wide variety of lessons and clinics suited to safely teach basics to beginners and hone the skills of more experienced riders. Check Deer Valley’s website for the schedule and cost. Deer Valley offers the following in biking education: 
  • Private Bike Lessons
  • Adult Afternoon Beginner Package
  • Kid Afternoon Beginner Package
  • Twilight Clinics
  • 3-Hour Adult Clinic
  • 3-Hour Kids Clinic
  • E-Bike Tours

The Trails
Deer Valley’s trail network spans six mountains and serves up 3,000 feet of vertical drop. Four flow trails designed by Gravity Logic are the jewel of the bike park’s offerings: Holy Roller, Undertow, Tidal Wave and Tsunami. A few of Deer Valley’s trails also connect with Park City’s extensive singletrack trail network. Novice riders will enjoy the wide, flowy berms of Holy Roller, while those more inclined to catch air will want to check out the countless tabletops on Tidal Wave. A narrower, more traditional singletrack trail can be found on Super G (rated blue). Radical riders will have plenty to keep themselves busy with the hair-raising Aspen Slalom or Fireswamp. The newest trail is Undertow, a blue-rated wonder built by Gravity Logic. Undertow is located on the lower mountain and can be accessed via the Silver Lake Express chairlift.

Parking
Parking is available at the Silver Lake and Snow Park Lodges. However, due to construction around the Silver Lake area in summer 2019, it is recommended to park at the Snow Park village to access all the trails.


Brian Head Lift-Served Mountain Biking

The Scene
Brian Head boasts a thrilling bike park and is a great destination to add to your biking bucket list. The scenery alone makes the trek to Brian Head worth it. The high elevation also provides a welcome respite from the summer heat that scorches much of Utah’s big population centers.


For a deeper dive, check out this Ski Utah article or catch the video above. Brian Head hosts an annual bike festival each August with live music, demos, and plenty of diversions; visit their events calendar for more info. Brian Head also serves as an excellent gateway to explore the neighboring Cedar Breaks National Monument. 



Lift-serviced trails at Brian Head encompass beginner to advanced terrain, including gravity flow trails, technical singletrack, and access to hundreds of miles of backcountry trails. The Brian Head Shuttle also offers daily transit to popular local trails like Dark Hollow, Bunker Creek, and Blowhard Mountain. The trails of Brian Head Resort are downhill only and accessible only during operating hours. 

Lift-Served Chairlifts
Giant Steps Express (Weekends Only)

Rentals
The town of Brian Head contains three full-service bike shops with rentals, maps, gear, and shuttles to local trailheads. For convenience, visit the Brian Head Resort bike shop near the ticketing windows of the Giant Steps Lodge. This shop offers all-mountain and performance bike rentals for adults and children as well as rentals for protective gear and gloves.  



Lessons
Brian Head offers Level 1 Beginner Downhill Mountain Biking Lessons on the new Color Flow trail. The three-hour lessons are limited to six students and will cover basic downhill techniques cornering and braking. A package deal is available for a lesson, a half-day lift ticket, and a half-day bike rental.

In addition, complementary guided mountain biking tours are offered on the Color Flow trail three times daily during summer operations. 

The Trails
With its lift access and shuttle service, Brian Head offers over 100 miles of downhill, singletrack, and cross country trails. Brian Head is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise with professionally designed freestyle elements and heart pumping drops. The downhill trails and freestyle terrain are not recommended for new or novice riders as they include jumps, drops, wall rides, ladders, and wooden features. Brian Head is a fantastic place to ride as the trails incorporate the rugged features of the natural terrain. The stunning vista of red rock in the distance is easy on the eyes.
  
Advanced riders can test their mettle on the Wildflower or Lil’ Gritty trails, both of which are pro-level downhill courses. Beginning and intermediate riders may consider parking across the road adjacent to the Navajo Lift. Dreamcatcher and Descender are shorter cross country trails that are great for getting started at Brian Head. Once you gain your confidence, the new Color Flow trail, serviced by the Giant Steps Express chairlift, must be explored. New for this season, the Lower Glitter flow trail incorporates bigger berms and small jumps and tabletops for intermediates looking to up the ante. 

To explore beyond the resort, be sure to check out the daily shuttle service from the Brian Head Shuttle.

Parking
Park at the main base area adjacent to the Giant Steps Lodge.



Sundance Lift-Served Mountain Biking

The Scene
Sundance encompasses over 25 miles of lift-served singletrack that can be accessed either by pedaling uphill or catching a ride on the lift. (Remember, always yield to riders climbing uphill.) These trails are best for intermediate and advanced riders with prior riding experience. Take a few laps and grab lunch at the summit in the Bearclaw Cabin and savor the stunning views.

Sundance hosts a whole series of mountain biking events and races. Be sure to check their events calendar for details. Riders of all ability levels are welcome to come test their mettle and enjoy the scenery and mountain air. Sundance is a great destination for the whole family, as a plethora of activities are available from art classes, luxe spa treatments, fly fishing lessons, hiking and more.


Lift-Served Chairlifts
Ray’s Lift and Red’s Lift

Rentals
Sundance offers rental bikes for adults and children from Fezzari, Cascade Peak, Rossignol, Felt, and more. Full-suspension, fat tire, and kids’ plus-sized tire models are available. If mountain biking isn’t your jam, cruiser bikes are available for rent to explore the paved Provo River Trail nearby. All rentals are provided with a standard helmet. 



Lessons
Sundance resort offers mountain biking skills clinics for all levels. Clinics are run on a daily basis during operating hours and must be reserved at least 24 hours in advance. Clinics can be tailored to all ability levels from beginner to advanced.

The Trails
The trails at Sundance are ideal for intermediate and advanced riders and cater primarily to cross country pedaling. There are also a handful of downhill trails that will deliver thrills. Rock Drop is the trail used in Sundance’s downhill race and features steep sections weaving in and out of trees with a few rock gardens and sizable drops. Archie’s Loop is a perennial favorite for its swell mountain views.

 Fall riding should not be missed at Sundance; the sight of the changing leaves below Mount Timpanogos is a glorious sight. 

Parking
Park at the base area near the Lower Sundance Village.


Park City Lift-Served Mountain Biking

The Scene
Park City Mountain is bustling in the summer months. In addition to mountain biking, you’ll find a huge alpine slide, a climbing wall, disc golf, actual golf, mini golf, zip lines, hiking, a ropes course, summer tubing, and a mountain coaster. Park City was the first town to earn IMBA’s (International Mountain Bicycling Association) Gold-Level Ride Center status. What this means is a plethora of trails for all ability levels alongside amazing biking amenities, dining, lodging, and entertainment opportunities. The mountain itself harbors a huge trail network that caters to just about every type of rider. Stay a week or book a weekend, you won’t find boredom at Park City!




Lift-Served Chairlifts
Crescent Express & Red Pine Gondola

Rentals
Mountain bike rentals are offered at Legacy Sports or Canyons Mountain Sports. Reserve your rental online to save a few bucks. Full-day and half-day rentals are available. Options range from downhill bikes to enduro models, to trail, and cruiser bikes for exploring the paved pathways. Mountain bikes are also available for children. A helmet is included with the rental of any bike and there will be an option to add protective gear such as knee and elbow pads.

Lessons
Park City Mountain Resort does not offer mountain bike lessons.

The Trails
The mountain is divided into two distinct zones, the Canyons Village and the Park City Mountain Village. The Mid-mountain bike trail connects the two base areas. You can catch the Red Pine Gondola to access trails in Canyons Village. Ricochet (rated blue) is a popular trail here with rollers and big berms, appropriate for intermediate riders. Insurgent is a black-rated run that is used for downhill and enduro races; it's fast, loose, and steep! 

From the Park City side, advanced riders should check out John's Trail, a very old school, singletrack run with roots, technical sections, and sharp switchbacks, this is classic Park City mountain biking. Crescent Mine Grade (CMG) is a popular blue trail accessed by riding the Mid-Mountain Trail from the top of the Crescent Express chairlift. CMG offers great sight lines and it is fast, though not too technical aside from being rocky; watch out for uphill traffic on this trail. The new Silver Queen downhill trail is fast and flowy with big berms. It will dump out on the Mid-Mountain Trail where you can catch lower CMG

Adventurous riders should consider grinding up the Mid-Mountain Trail to Pinecone (also a hearty climb) as a way to access the famed Wasatch Crest Trail. This jewel of Wasatch biking is best ridden with the assistance of a shuttle. 

Parking
You can park at either the Canyons Village or the Park City Mountain Village depending on which trails you’d like to access. The majority of family-friendly activities are located at the Park City Mountain Village.
 


Snowbasin Lift-Served Mountain Biking

The Scene
With Blues, Brews, and BBQ, Snowbasin Resort is the perfect place to while away a summer Sunday afternoon and evening. This free concert series provides an ideal après situation once you’ve finished exploring Snowbasin’s 26 miles of singletrack. Snowbasin offers gondola rides to access invigorating climbs and novice to moderate downhill trails. While the trails are open to the public seven days a week, lift-access via the gondola is only available on weekends during the summer biking season. Snowbasin has also generously provided a bike washing station next to the Mountain Operations Building.  



Lift-Served Chairlifts
The Needles Gondola (Saturdays & Sundays)

Rentals
Mountain bikes can be rented in the Grizzly Center. Bike rental for an adult or child will also include a gondola ticket. The center offers Rossignol All Track enduro, All Track trail bikes, fat bikes, and even mountain scooters. A small fleet of E-bikes are available; E-bike use is permitted on the lower trails, however, they are not permitted on the gondola. Helmet rentals are available.

Lessons
Snowbasin does not offer mountain biking lessons, however, consider the very popular Mt. Ogden Midweek Race Series. This friendly and fun race series caters to riders of all ages and ability levels. The course shifts each week so riders have the opportunity to explore the entire mountain. 

The Trails
Snowbasin trails can all be bagged by pedaling uphill, but the Needles Gondola can supercharge your laps on weekends. Do be mindful that uphill traffic is permitted, so be aware and make noise around blind corners if you are descending quickly. The Needles and Porcupine trails are the most common routes down. Needles (rated blue) is the fastest and flowiest while Porcupine (rated black) has a handful of technical natural features to test your skill. 
Snowbasin has more of an old-school feel with loose rock, sharp banked turns, and miles of uninterrupted descents and technical terrain. 
Newer riders might want to skip the gondola and use the pedal trails accessed via the base area where more blue and green runs are available. The Skills Loop and the Family Loop are suitable for young riders.

Parking
Ample parking is available at the Grizzly Center (the main base area) near Earl’s Lodge.


Solitude Lift-Served Mountain Biking

The Scene
Solitude Mountain Resort is relatively quiet in the summer and it’s a great place to hone your mountain biking skills. While there is ample opportunity to burn your lungs while climbing uphill, the Sunrise Chairlift does offer access to a handful of trails. Solitude still has a bit of the old-school mountain biking feel and the lack of crowds make it well worth the trip up Big Cottonwood. Once finished, you can grab food or suds at the Solitude Village.



Lift-Served Chairlifts
Sunrise (Friday – Sunday)

Lift-accessed riding and scenic chairlift rides are available Friday through Sunday on the Sunrise chairlift from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Guests are welcome to pedal uphill any day of the week during daylight hours.

Rentals
The Powderhorn Adventure Center located in the Solitude Village includes a full-service bike and repair shop. TREK all-mountain bikes are available for rent and helmets are included. 

Lessons
Solitude does not offer mountain biking lessons or clinics.

The Trails
Solitude boasts 20 miles of singletrack among scenic groves of aspens on 10 different trails. The Solitude trails are best suited for intermediate and advanced riders. Newer riders can test their skills on the Raptor Road, a fairly easy downhill trail with a mix of singletrack, pavement, and doubletrack from the top of the Sunrise lift. A short 0.3-mile loop called Down & Out is perfect for kiddos and novice riders. Intermediate trails, Serenity and Queen Bess can be accessed via the Raptor Road for bikers lapping Sunrise. For an adrenaline rush, hit the Krüzr Trail, 3.4 miles of winding singletrack through shaded forest, rock gardens, and swooping corners. This trail may be a bit much for those just getting started with mountain biking.

Parking
If you plan to pedal uphill, you can park at either the Moonbeam Lodge or Solitude Village. If you are using the Sunrise Chairlift, park at the Solitude Village.


Snowbird Lift-Served Mountain Biking

The Scene
Snowbird is relatively new to the lift-served mountain biking scene with its one gravity trail, the Big MTN Trail. Wheel your bike onto the aerial tramway for a scenic ride to 11,000-foot Hidden Peak. Grab lunch or a snack at The Summit, a casual restaurant with some of the best views around, before dropping in. The wildflowers, scenery, and never-ending singletrack are what make Snowbird a unique place to mountain bike. To do it right: take a few laps until your thighs and hands can no longer function and then grab a beer on the plaza. Snowbird frequently offers summer entertainment, movie nights, live music, and a stellar Oktoberfest. 

A handful of cross country trails are also available on the lower mountain for hikers and bikers to share.



Lift-Served Chairlifts
The Aerial Tramway

Rentals
Mountain bike rentals are available on the Tram Plaza and encompass the latest Santa Cruz full-suspension bikes as well as Surly fat bikes. All rentals include a helmet and protective gear. A package with a tram pass is available with rental equipment. 

Lessons
Snowbird does not provide mountain bike lessons.

The Trails
Snowbird contains one downhill gravity trail and cross-country trails
. The showpiece of Snowbird’s biking menu, the Big MTN Trail, is not for the faint of heart. This challenging trail offers 3,000 feet of vertical drop, rock gardens, wooden features, big berms, and 8-miles of soul-shaking adrenaline. This trail is not recommended for novice or intermediate riders. That being said, this trail offers some of the most spectacular views in the Wasatch and it’s an epic test of endurance. It would be difficult to imagine a better way to prepare your thighs for ski season!



There are 7 miles of cross country trails on Snowbird’s lower mountain that do not require a pass. They feature a mix of singletrack and doubletrack and are rated intermediate (blue). Note that these trails permit 2-way traffic and are accessible to both hikers and bikers. The Baby Thunder Trail offers a good amount of shade, switchbacks through an aspen grove, and a stream crossing. Kids will enjoy the 0.2-mile Little MTN Trail, a loop in the wooded forest near the Snowbird Center. This short, flat loop provides a great intro to mountain biking. 

Parking
Pull into Entry 2 and locate a spot near the Snowbird Center (from where the tram departs).


For more mountain biking info from Ski Utah, see our Mountain Biking page or check out the articles below! 


Bike Trails Kids Will Love
Accessible Expert Mountain Bike Trails
Beginning Mountain Biking in Utah

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