Summer on the Slopes

For Starters
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Park City Mountain Biking
Bird's Eye View: Park City doesn't slow down just because the snow melts (Tyler Gourley/courtesy, Park City CVB)

For those who don't live here year-round, the best way to get acclimated to the high altitude is to start with an easy ride. The 30-mile Rail Trail leaves town on a former Union Pacific railroad line. It's ideal for families since the elevation change is minimal. The Rail Trail meanders along a rambling creek, past marshes filled with cattails and red wing blackbirds, and fields of wildflowers including the pinkish-red Utah paintbrush. Bluebirds fly over the cattle lounging in the tall grasses. High above, tinges of snow whiten the ridges of the 10,000-foot peaks.

Nearby, Lost Prospector is a nice eight-mile loop that only gets as high as 7,100 feet, which means it's one of the first trails in spring to be cleared of snow. You start on pavement, quickly changing to easy singletrack as you climb some 300 feet through a forest of aspen and maples. Eventually, you'll reach the Rail Trail and turn left to complete the loop.

Also in the area is the Round Valley Loop. This is a wee bit more advanced than Lost Prospector with 600 feet of climbing on a 14-mile singletrack, thus challenging to the novice fat wheeler and a nice workout for more experienced riders. The trail climbs a ridge before dipping down to the valley floor, weaving through sage and other brush.

Boston-based writer Stephen Jermanok has authored or contributed to 11 books on the outdoors, including Outside Magazine's Adventure Guide to New England , Discovery Channel's Backcountry Treks , Discovery Channel's Paddlesports , Outside Magazine's Guide to Family Vacations and Men's Journal's The Great Life . His latest book is New England Seacoast Adventures . His many adventures appear in National Geographic Adventure , Outside , Men's Journal , Forbes FYI , Travel + Leisure , Hooked on the Outdoors , and Backpacker . He can be reached at

Published: 10 May 2006 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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