Words and Photos by: Mike Smart
Park City Utah was the world’s first location to receive the IMBA Gold-level ride center designation. The mountain trail network boasts over 400+ miles of variable, high altitude, and professionally maintained and well-marked trails. To put the IMBA Gold-level designation into perspective, at the time of writing, the designation was only given to six geographic locations!
In 2016, Travel+Leisure named Park City, UT No. 1 America’s Favorite Town. “Readers gave the city near-perfect marks for its weather and for its festivals – thanks in part, no doubt, to winter’s Sundance Film Festival.”
Whether you are a local to the area or visiting as a vacation destination, there are ample trails available from beginner to expert. A quick Google search will provide plenty of bike rental, shuttle, guide, and general services for any group size.
A local favorite is the Armstrong Trail to the Mid-Mountain route. Armstrong trail is an uphill-only trail and provides accesses to the extensive Mid-Mountain trail network. Park at Park City Mountain Resort and take the well-marked Armstrong trail until you arrive at Mid-Mountain. The base of the resort is about 6,900ft and the top of the climb is about 8,100ft. Mid-Mountain is relatively flat, and follows along the mountain ride both north and south – take the south direction towards Spiro trail and Crescent Mine Grade (CMG).
Mid-mountain is an incredible trail and is mostly shaded since it’s around 8,000ft – you’ll spend most of the time on this trail smelling pine trees and riding through gorgeous aspen forests. Take Mid-Mountain until you arrive at the Spiro & Crescent Mine Grade trails – both will take you back to your car at Park City Mountain Resort – you can’t go wrong with either.
My favorite is Crescent Mine Grade (CMG) back to the resort. The downhill includes wide open views of Park City and will leave you wanting to do the loop again. Park City Mountain Resort has plenty of post-ride dining options along with plenty of other amenities.
Recommendations for riding in Park City, UT
- Ride with a Camelback and include a spare tube, hand pump, tire levers, valve core, patch kit, etc. Getting stranded at 8,000+ feet is no fun!
- Pack a light jacket – temperatures up high will be significantly cooler than starting off in the parking lot. Storms roll in fast when in the mountains.
- Extra water is worth it. For a 3-hour ride, I’ll fill a 2L Camelback and take at least 1 or 2 additional bottles.
- Pack some snacks and enjoy the views. It’s nice to stop along the way, take some pictures, and enjoy one of your favorite snacks or beverages.
- Make sure that cell phone is charged. You’ll be stopping a lot to take pictures 🙂 Download the TrailForks app so you never get lost.
A trail bike and dropper post makes for some fun downhills and provides an extra sense of security with increased suspension, lower center of gravity, and a relaxed head tube angle for clearing obstacles. I also really like the SRAM Eagle 12-speed gearing for riding at higher altitudes. I use the 50T rear cassette a fair amount when riding throughout the west, in general. The Niner JET 9 RDO is really a perfect all-around trail bike.