Originally presented in Park City’s Prime Cuts 3 by Paul Boyle, Mark Fischer & Charlie Sturgis
Smooth singletrack with sporadic challenging, rocky features throughout, as well as incredible canyon views, high-alpine lakes, and lots of elevation gain and loss.
If you’re interested in a 3+ hour ride with some epic views of the Wasatch mountains, this is the ride you want. Capable riders will enjoy the long climb, challenging rock features, and flowy descents that cross the highest ridge in Park City and ends on an excellent flow trail. This ride includes the Wasatch Crest Trail, an IMBA Epic-designated ride.
The ride starts in the Park City Mountain main parking lot. From here you climb up through some of Old Town’s most classic hand-cut and machine-built trails. By the time you reach Shadow Lake at around 9,000’ you’ll be riding through high-alpine meadows and valleys. The real challenge starts at mile 9.3 when you hit Puke Hill. From here, you’re going to be in 10-20 minutes of hell as you power up a half mile of steep doubletrack to the top of the Park City ridgeline. If you decide you’ve had enough, you can bail and ride down Pinecone which connects to Mid Mountain and Spiro.
[Pinecone is an alternative way up to access The Crest. You can start at Silverstar and climb Armstrong and Pinecone to reach this same point.]
But for those who keep going, you’ve reached The Crest Trail. This super smooth and flowy singletrack traverses the ridge above Park City and offers incredible views of Brighton and Solitude ski resorts in Big Cottonwood Canyon. You’re not done climbing yet though. The Red Dirt Triple Fakeout (you’ll know it when you’re done with it) plus a few mellow, short climbs have you gain an additional 800’ or so of overall elevation.
Tired yet? Well, you can breathe a sigh of relief, because the hardest part is done, you’ve reached the top! Here you’ll find a few tricky rock gardens and The Spine, a scraggly rock feature 20 feet tall and 150 feet long with multiple line choices. An easy go-around is present for those who aren’t quite confident in their technical riding skills. But if you’re looking for the best photo or skills test, the line along the top will have you pick through a tricky spine with high-consequence falls off each side.
From here you descend on fast-flowing singletrack through open meadows and groves of aspen and pine trees until you hit the Mid Mountain and Ambush trails. One last 15–25 minute climb on the Olympic trail will put you on the top of the Utah Olympic Park (UOP), with incredible 360-degree views of Kimball Junction, Round Valley, Glenwild, Pinebrook, and Jeremy Ranch. Your last descent is a long one, 5.7 miles of singletrack that ends on the BYOB flow trail and the paved Millenium Trail. Now you’ve earned it— food that is. Head into Kimball Junction and go to Maxwell’s for pizza, Red Rock Brewery for good pub grub, or Whole Foods if you’re looking for something a bit easier on the gut. All of these fine establishments serve beer by the way.
We classify this as an Epic for the amount of climbing, difficult technical features, distance, and exposure. If you’re a fit and experienced rider, you’ll love this point-to-point. Even intermediates can conquer this Epic but should plan accordingly and stop often for rest, food, and hydration.
There are bailouts if need be. Before you reach Puke Hill, you can turn around and descend back to where you started via a myriad of trails that drop you into Old Town Park City, or at the top of Puke Hill (9.3 miles), you can turn east and descend the 4 mile Pinecone Trail to Mid Mountain and Spiro, which will take you all the way back to town with minimal climbing.
If you stay on The Crest, you’ll pop out onto the Ridge Connector which takes you down to Mid Mountain (mile 15). From here you can access the Red Pine Lodge to refuel or you can descend Ambush and Holly’s Trail to the Park City Mountain Canyons Village and grab a beer and food there.