The Crest Loop (MTB)
This is by far my favorite mountain bike ride! It takes in some of the best single track in northern Utah along with arguably one of the best stretches of single track in western United States in the Crest Trail. The loop can take you anywhere from 3 to 5 hrs depending on ability and the company your with. On this ride we started at the snow gate about 4 miles up Millcreek canyon. Once you make it to where the road ends you have 3 options to climb up to the Ridge Connector. The Big Water trail is probably the most used and the direct route. Once you make it to the Ridge Connector keep heading east and drop down into the Canyons Ski area. You’ll eventually make it to a junction with another trail. Stay right and you’ll be on the Mid Mountain trail. You can stop at Red Pine lodge for a Coke and a snack before continuing on. Just keep following the signs for the Mid Mountain trail as you’ll be on this for the bulk of the ride. Eventually you’ll make it to the Armstong/Pine Cone/Mid Mountain junction. Armstong is an up hill only trial so take the Pine Cone trail and for the next 4 miles you’ll be working your way up to the Crest. Pine cone isn’t too steep but it just drags on for a really long time. Eventually you’ll reach the top of Puke Hill and the start of the Crest. Once you reach this point it’s a great place to take in the views and have a bite to eat. This trail is a blast, you’ll eventually descend to The Spine. This is a really technical area so don’t be afraid to get off and walk this section but it’s also a great place to test your technical skills. After the spine stay left and climb a few hundred meters before starting a really fun half hour descent back home or to your starting point.
Type: Mountain Bike
Length: 40ish depending on starting points
Elevation Gain: 7000ft
Mo Pie to Bald Mountain Loop (MTB)
Some days you wake up and tell yourself “I want to do something kinda epic today”. This ride isn’t too epic in the distance category but more so in the suffer category. This ride isn’t something you want to jump right into early in the season. Make sure you’ve got some miles in your legs and this also isn’t one those rides where you try and introduce your girlfriend to “mountin bikin”. Make sure you’ve got everything you need for a 2.5 to 4 hour day like food, water, tools etc. Once again I chose to start down by the bridge by the Mountain Dell golf course. The main climb up the Mormon Pioneer trail is hard enough but once you reach the top just know it gets worse. When you reach the parking lot at the top of Big Mountain look to your right and you’ll see the bathroom hut. Just on the other side is the entrance to the Great Western trail. Head south, the next quarter mile you’ll spend trying to keep your front wheel on the ground and trying to keep the bike moving and trying not to throw up all at the same time. It’s during moments like these why I wonder why I like to ride in this area. These 3 major loops off of the Mo Pie trail are where you should go if you want to get strong, really strong! The climbs are almost unridable at times but the views and the solitude are incredible. There are also plenty moments of incredible flowy single track and high speed descents. Once you’ve made it to the top out point after the initial entrance to the Great Western trail you’ll be on a ridge line that you’ll ride all the way over to the radio towers on top of Parleys summit. There are a couple of points where you’ll see a faint trail split off of the main one you’re on. Don’t deviate off the main trail. You’ll go down super technical rocky descents straight into another short gut busting climb. Don’t feel bad if you’ve got to get off and hoof it up a few of theses little kickers. Once you’re on the ridge line the climbs aren’t any longer than maybe 100-150 meters so don’t get too depressed. Eventually you’ll make it to the radio towers. Head down the fire road but be careful. It is really easy to open it up and there are two sunken wheel tracks that you can fall into so keep under control. The decent will eventualy open up right at the I-80 Parleys Summit area, stop and turn around and you’ll see the single track that takes you down Alexander Creek trail. There is only one more short steep climb and after that it’s 20 minutes of fun fast descending. Watch out for the little water bars, they have the ability to buck you off if you’re not ready for them. Depending on whats in your cooler back at the car there should be a cold beverage awaiting your return.
Type: Mountain Bike
Length: 20ish depending on your starting point.
Elevation Gain: 3894ft
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Tour de Resevoir (Road)
The “Tour de Reservoir” as I like to call it will take you by the 4 major reservoirs in Salt Lake and Summit county. It’s a big ride best done before the boating season gets going or after. During the summer months the best day to do this ride with minimal traffic is mid week sometime. I tend to avoid the reservoir areas on Saturdays as there is heavy boat/truck/trailer traffic. Sundays aren’t too bad either. You’ll find some really quiet moments on this ride, especially while riding east from East Canyon resort. There are plenty of chances to stop for drinks and food so don’t forget some cash. While getting into Coalville there is a chance to jump across the west side of I-80 onto a real quiet farm road that hooks right back up with the route from the Strava data. Make sure you’ve got some miles in your legs before doing this one as it’s a big ride. Enjoy and ride safe!
Length: 100+ depending on your starting point
Elevation gain: appx 8000ft
The Loop (Road)
The Loop consists of Emigration, Parleys and Jeremy Ranch Rd and the East Canyon climb (Big Mountain from the east side). Once climbing Emigration canyon drop down to the golf course and jump on I-80 climbing east. You might think riding on the interstate is a crazy idea but it is actually not bad. A very big shoulder is provided and the slow moving trucks occupy the far right lane. It is also legal to ride a bike from the top of Parleys to the mouth into Salt Lake. Once you reach Parley’s Summit jump off the exit and onto the east bound frontage road. Head north at the Jeremy Ranch exit and into the community of Jeremy Ranch. Continue heading northwest where eventually the road will turn to dirt. This is where the fun begins. The road isn’t too bad for road bikes so don’t worry about damaging your bike or crashing. It’s very smooth about half way through were it only gets a little loose after a cattle guard marks the change in county lines. I like to do this route in this direction as you slowly loose elevation going across the dirt instead of climbing coming from the other direction. Once the dirt ends make a hard left and start the climb up Big Mountain and down to the back side of Little Mountain (backside of Emigration) and then back to your starting point. This is a real fun ride with a bit of adventure thrown in. You’re never really too far from somewhere so if things go bad you can reach safety quite easily.
Length: appx 60+ depending on starting point.
Elevation gain: appx 6000ft
24/7 to Flying Dog to Glenwild Loop (MTB)
This is a great mountain bike ride just on the outskirts of Park City. I like to start over by the Jeremy Ranch dirt road as it’s a bit less hectic than the Glenwild parking lot. The 24/7 trail is hard to miss as it’s right next to the parking area. Take this trail up and up until you come to the 3 way junction of Flying Dog, Glenwild and the Preserve connector. Take a hard left onto the Flying Dog trail. This climb isn’t too bad and is shaded rather well for those hot summer days. You’ll eventually come to the top where you take a rest and eat and drink and check out the views. Continue on down the switchbacks and onto a real nice flowy decent until you get to the Cobblestone trail marker. Take a small climb up the road or trail as it’s right next to the paved road and jump back onto the trail for another awesome decent. You’ll eventually come to a “T”. Make a left and continue the Glenwild Loop where it climbs up for about 2 miles and then descends back to the Glenwild parking lot. Keep going on the trail heading west. Keep climbing and follow the signs to the Flying Dog trail and once you get to that 3 way stay left and descend back down 24/7 to the car for a cold beer. Enjoy!
Type: Mountain Bike
Length: 20.6 miles, plan on 2 to 3.5 hours depending on ability.
Elevation gain: 2948ft
Mormon Pioneer Loop V1.1 (MTB)
This ride is a great ride if you want to get away from some of the more crowded trail. It’s a pretty strenuous ride so make sure your tuned up and bring plenty of water and food. You can start at the parking lot up by Little Dell reservoir but I like to start at the bottom by the golf course under the golf cart bridge that goes over the road. You’ll appreciate this starting point at the end of the ride where there is a 25 minute descent right to the car instead of a hot climb back to the car. Once you make it to the reservoir head to the far east end of the lake and you’ll find the trail. This is the Mormon Pioneer trail. It starts out fairly mellow but eventually crosses the road and starts climbing. You’ll eventually drop down into Affleck Park where you keep heading in the northeast direction through the campsite where you’ll find the trail picks up again. This is where the climbing really starts. You’ll eventually cross the road for a second time and at this point just go ahead and put it in the granny gear because the climbing is really stiff through here. Once you reach the small wooden bridge you can know that the hard climbing is almost over and turns into some fairly mellow shaded switchback climbing all the way to the parking lot and the top of Big Mountain. Continue east across the parking lot where you’ll find the decent that takes you down to the Jeremy Ranch dirt road. This is a really fun descent but also fairly technical. Several rock gardens await you both through technical descending and the creek bed that you’ll find is easier to ride other than the actual trail in certain spots. Also, watch out for the two wooden man made ramps that take you over a couple of trees. The first one is one sided and does not have a transition on the other side so make sure you’re cool with catching a little air. The second is a little taller but has a transition on the other side. Just focus on the boards and flow right over the other side. Don’t get frustrated in those technical spots and just work your way through them be it riding or walking as this trail will open up into some real fun fast flowy descending. You’ll eventually make it to the ranch road. Head south and make your way into the neighborhood of Jeremy Ranch. On this ride I chose to ride through the neighborhood and make my way up the Parley’s west bound climb on the road. You can take the frontage road on the south side of the interstate to the top. Head north under the interstate and onto the the dirt road and head west on the two track. You’ll eventually make it to the point where you see single track heading due west and the two track heads up due northwest. Take the single track. This flows fairly nicely down to your last little lung busting climb of the day. It’s only about 200m long but it hurts. Once you make it to the top it’s a 25 minute decent back to the car. This decent makes all the climbing you’ve done seem worth it. Be careful of the water bars and small creeks that the trail runs into. It’s really easy to get going really fast on this descent so don’t get out of control. Enjoy and ride safe. Look for a follow up to this ride where I take the Moose Hollow trail up to the radio towers which involves even more climbing but no pavement. I chose this route as I was running out of time and had to make it home. The road choice cuts about 45 minutes to a little over an hour off the ride depending on ability.
Type: Mountain Bike
Length: 26 miles
Elevation gain: 3454ft
The whole loop
The descent from the top of Big Mountain to the Jeremy Ranch road.
Alexander Creek descent