So now that the snow has melted, the mountains are calling and showing off their playful summery side. There are many ways to enjoy summer in the mountains, but we thought that we couldn't go wrong calling out our favorite summer pastimes: hiking and mountain biking. In this specific post our focus turns to the top hiking and mountain biking loops in Park City. We favor loops because they don’t require shuttling or backtracking and you're rewarded with a new view in both directions.
Normally combining several hiking and biking trails creates a loop, but in the Park City area you have another option, lift rides. That’s right, the ski lifts spin during summer months to carry hikers (and bikers) up and down the mountain. This opens up a lot of hiking options. I’ll give a few suggestions to get started, but the best bet is to use a map and your imagination.
You might find construction dust on a few Park City trails this summer. The best trail status info we’ve found is shared on the Mountain Trails Foundation Facebook page. Don’t have Facebook? No worries, you can read the most recent posts on their website, mountaintrails.org.
Here are some rides designed to get riders out of the warmer lower elevations of Park City. Rides start at both Silver Lake Lodge and the Montage near Deer Valley. Buses leave from the transit center at 00 and :30 past the hour for Silver Lake and :14 and :43 past the hour for the Montage.
Advanced Ride: Shuttle to Montage and take the Mid Mountain Trail east back towards Silver Lake Lodge. Hop on Team Big Bear and get ready for a nice little technical gut punch. Advanced riders can get to the top of Big Bear in about 9-14 minutes. Intermediate riders will take a bit longer. Once you’ve reached the top of Big Bear, continue heading up to Flagstaff Loop (Take the Left Turn). Enjoy the high mountain meadows filled with Utah wildflowers and make your way up to Bow Hunter. Take Bow Hunter Towards the biggest peak on the horizon, Mount Timpanogos and enjoy some huge alpine views. You’ll also see some incredible views of the Jordanelle Reservoir in the most technical section of the trail. Once you’ve completed the loop of Bow Hunter you’ll be at the intersection of Deer Valley’s flow trail Nail Driver and Homeward Bound. Nail Driver has been totally reworked so if you’ve ridden it in the past and didn’t enjoy it, be sure to give it another shot. Huge berms and high speed ripping are most certainly this trails highlights!
Deer Crest Downhill -
Either take the free shuttle at the Main Street Transit Center at 0:00 or 0:30 past the hour. Get off at the first stop. Silver Lake Lodge. Option two would be to purchase a Deer Valley single day lift ticket and ride chairlifts all day. If option two works for you, start at the Snow Park Base Area and take the Silver Lake Express to Silver Lake Lodge. From there ask any of the Deer Valley Lifties how to access the Deer Crest Trail and they will certainly point you in the right direction. There is a short little up hill climb in order to access the down hill but this trail is certainly rideable for intermediate riders and some beginners. The trail is fast and fun with very little peddling involved. Once you’ve made it to the second part of the down hill you’ll great views of Park City and the St. Regis Hotel. It’s a Park City classic! A must ride!
Armstrong/Spiro Loop – Combine two popular trails into a scenic loop that will give you a nice workout. This trail is comprised of nicely packed dirt and bikers only travel uphill on the Armstrong section. As you hike, orient yourself to the many ski runs you’ll cross. It’s amazing how different the terrain looks in the summer! Feeling hungry? Give your legs a break and grab a bite in Silver Star Cafe at Silver Star at Park City.
Distance: 9.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1519 feet
Upper and Lower Jenni’s Trail and Jenni’s/GMG Loop – Jenni’s Trail offers many options for hiking PCMR’s beautiful terrain. The 4.1-mile (one way) trail begins at the base of the mountain, but you can create a loop using either the Pay Day or Town lifts to ride up the mountain and then hike downhill back to the base. By riding up on a lift you get spectacular views without the uphill hike.
If you prefer a shorter hike, create a loop by hiking up Lower Jenni’s until you reach the Crescent Mine Grade, and then hiking back down to the base. This is a short but pretty hike. It is popular however so don’t expect solitude.
Upper and Lower Jenni’s: Distance 4.1 Elevation (one way) Gain – 698 feet
Jenni’s/CMG Loop: Distance – 2.3 miles Elevation Gain – 502 feet
Mid Mountain Trail – This classic Park City area trail spans over 20 miles of beautiful landscapes, but don’t worry, you can hike as much or little of the trail as you like. While we’ve placed it under PCMR, it traverses three ski resorts. Access the Mid Mountain Trail using the Spiro Trail for a 3.2-mile gradual climb. The elevation here is near 8,200 feet, so take your time and hydrate well. The Mid Mountain Trail is sometimes called the 8,000-foot Trail and features wildflowers and views along the way.
Distance: Up to 20.2 miles Elevation Gain: Varies by section
Silver Lake/Ontario Loop – This is a great loop if you want a peaceful hike because it’s designated “foot-traffic only” which means no bikes zooming past. Begin at the Silver Lake base area, hiking uphill until you reach the top of Bald Mountain. From here, follow signs to the Ontario Canyon trail and hike back to the Silver Lake base area. Keep your eyes open for old mining equipment along the way. You’ll also pass the snowmaking pond. Don’t feel like hiking all the way around? Ride the lift back to the base! Deer Valley only charges for uphill rides. Expect to see aspen, views of Jordanelle Reservoir, flowers, and wildlife on this hike. Here is a handy map of Deer Valley’s summer trails.
Distance: 3.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1027 feet
Sultan Out and Back Trail – Begin this hike at the Silver Lake Village area and hike east. You’ll pass a number of ski runs and large aspen groves before dropping into a canyon. Pack a lunch to enjoy at the scenic picnic area before returning on the same trail. If you feel adventurous, return via the Sultan Loop by continuing downhill to the Sultan Connection (a wide dirt trail) back toward the Village. Expect to see pretty views, flowers, and wildlife including deer and marmot on this hike.
Distance: 2.8 miles Elevation Gain: 442 feet
Guided Historical Hikes – These hikes last three to four hours, cover moderately strenuous terrain, are typically less than six miles and highlight the area's mining history. Participants meet near the base of Sterling Express chairlift, located mid-mountain at Silver Lake Lodge at 9:30 am. The guided hikes are scheduled on June 21, July 19, August 16, September 20, and October 18, 2015 (weather and conditions permitting).
Distance and Elevation Gain Varies
Tombstone – The varied environments and shaded trail make this hike a winner. Begin by riding the gondola to the Red Pine Lodge. From here, hike up the mountain to the Tombstone lift where you’ll find stunner views. Grab lunch at the Red Pine before heading back down to the base.
Distance: 3.2 miles Elevation Gain: 600 feet
Ambush/Short Swing/Holly’s Loop – Like I said before, I love a loop hike, and here is one I found at Canyons. From the base, hike up the Ambush Trail to Short Swing which runs through a scenic section of the mountain. From Short Swing, hike down Holly’s which is a reasonably steep trail. Watch for cyclists along the way. Although hikers have the right away, it’s hard for bikers to stop on a downhill so be kind and let them pass. I haven’t found a good estimate of the distance and elevation for this hike. Visit the Canyons website for more information.
Mid Mountain Trail – Yes, the same trail I mentioned before, but a different section. Ride the gondola up the mountain to begin your hike at 8000 feet. In the summer, the high elevation of this trail offers a reprieve from the heat. Additionally there are many options for creating loops etc using the intersecting trails. The Wasatch Ridge Crest spur off of the Mid Mountain is a strenuous option that offers shade and pretty views.
Distance and Elevation Varies.