Adventuring Through Park City
Sitting at around 7000 feet, Park City, Utah, is a historic gold-mining town where prospectors dreamed of striking it rich back in 1868, decades after the popular California Gold Rush. Evidence of Park City’s mining history can be seen today in the form of abandoned mining equipment, beautiful museums and the famous 10 o’clock curfew bell that can still be heard over Main Street’s roaring nightlife. The town, however, didn’t simply grow into what it is overnight. In fact, the population declined significantly as the mines were being shut down. Just as the town seemed to be dwindling away, however, it soon became widely popularized as a premier skiing destination, and in 2002 hosted events for the Winter Olympics held in nearby Salt Lake City. Tourism soon became the town’s new source of revenue, but as the snow melted away, so did its visitors—until now. Several years ago IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association, awarded Park City the honor of being the first-ever gold-level riding center. Ironically, the town that enticed prospectors to look for gold is now the same town that draws mountain bikers year after year to search for a slightly different type of gold. You may not strike it rich in the wallet, but you will be rich with joy. Luckily for us mountain bikers, the search is much easier than the one the early prospectors faced with Park City’s epic trails stretching over 450 miles. What is a gold-level riding center? Well, according to IMBA, a long list of criteria must be fulfilled in order for an area to earn the right to be considered a gold-level riding destination. The list includes accessibility to the location, trail diversity, local lodging, places to eat and much more. Park City earned 96 points out of a possible 100, making it the first gold-level riding destination in the world. Park City was later followed by Eagle, Idaho; Duluth, Minnesota; and Oakridge, Oregon. Two other locations in New Zealand also hold gold titles according to IMBA.
Mountain Bike Trail Map of Park City, Utah
Mountain biking is a sport the whole family can enjoy, and Park City makes sure of that. The local bike parks have trails ranging from easy greens to aggressive black diamonds and everything in between. Park City is actually best known for its smooth and flowy trails, but if you ask the locals to show you some more technical stuff, they will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. Deer Valley Resort was one of our favorite locations due to the addition of a progressive flow trail called Tidal Wave built by Gravity Logic, the brains behind many of the trails in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. If you like catching some hang time, then Tidal Wave is the trail for you. Other trails, such as Nail Driver and Twist and Shout, offer riders with mid-travel trail bikes a fun yet challenging way down. Countless miles of other trails exist for riders looking to shred gnarlier downhill tracks or flow cross-country trails. Of course, if you’re willing to put in the miles, you could easily ditch the chair-assisted parks and wind your way through miles and miles of amazing singletrack.
Park City is filled with beautiful resorts that have amazing trails inches from their front doors. In fact, the Mountain Trails Foundation, Park City’s local trail advocacy group, claims its goal is to have “singletrack within half a mile of every house’s front door.” The fruit of the group’s effort can easily be seen today. When we left our hotel rooms, it was just a short distance to a bike path headed straight to singletrack. Park City’s amazing free public transportation also plays a major role in getting riders around the town with ease. With so many great trails to discover, it’s unlikely that you will ride them all during your stay.
An outdoor paradise:
Of course, as mountain bikers, it’s hard to hang up the bike for a day, but we really do recommend you take a day off (or at the very least a few hours) to explore Park City’s numerous activities for the whole family. Explore the historic mining culture. Check out the restaurants on main street. Ride the Alpine Slide. Go horseback riding, rock climbing or even paddleboarding. White Pine Touring, the local bike shop and tour company, not only has a great demo fleet of bikes and great trail knowledge, the employees also have hours and hours of outdoor experience in whatever off-the-bike activity you’d like to try. Park City is a place outdoor enthusiasts could easily call their home away from home.
THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun. Start a subscription by clicking here or calling (800) 767-0345.