7 best mountain bike trails near Salt Lake City | 24 UTAH

7 best mountain bike trails near Salt Lake City

Do you enjoy the breeze in your face as you glide down a singletrack? Utah offers some of the best mountain biking trails in the country. Check out these mountain bike trails in northern Utah.

1. Wasatch Crest: The Grandaddy of them all.

This ride has it all: high elevation, incredible views, options into three different canyons, a granny gear climb and a long descent! Really long, like miles and thousands of feet.  Beginning at Guardsman’s Pass, the Crest begins by gently rolling through an aspen forest on a ridge line straddling Park City and Big Cottonwood.

Once the legs are sufficiently warm, Puke Hill must be overcome. Gaining a few hundred feet in under a half-mile many riders wind up pushing their bikes uphill – it’s tough to get started if you stop pedaling. Years ago the tread was a lot looser, a “trail” of better dirt can be followed to the summit, but it’s still a challenge to ride clean.

Once at the top of Scott’s Pass, you can drop down Pinecone and the hundreds of miles of singletrack in Park City, or continue on the ridge. A few easier climbs lead near the backside of the 9990 area at Canyons Resort and a sharp descent on “the spine”, an area of uplifted and jagged rock from the Ice Age. Good luck if you attempt this section!. From the spine, a shorter ride into MIll D in Big Cottonwood is the easiest logistically for car shuttle purposes, but all too short.

The classic route is to continue to the Great Western Trail and into Mill Creek canyon, assuming it is an even-numbered day, as bikes are no bueno on odd days in Millcreek. A rollicking descent ends at the top of the paved road in Millcreek. A dozen more miles on dirt on Pipeline is an option if more singletrack is in order, though that trail can be crowded more often than not.  The Crest is an awesome night ride too, just be sure to pack spare batteries.

2. Dog Lake

Located a top of Millcreek Canyon, ride this trail on even-numbered days. It is about three miles of gentle climbing up Big and Little Water gulches to Dog Lake, a perfect spot for a summer evening.

The short distance means you can pack some nice snacks and a blanket to the lake. The ride back down through wide open trees on a smooth tread is over way too soon, but will keep you coming back for more, sometimes in the same week.

3. Bonneville Shoreline: A spring Rite of Passage.

One of the first trails to melt out, sometimes as early as February, the BST is an incredible resource easily accessed all by bicycle from downtown.

The three main options are to pedal to Memory Grove and up City Creek Canyon to reach the ancient shoreline of Lake Bonneville. History fun fact: Lake Bonneville drained in just five days, essentially flooding what is now southern Idaho and creating the canyon in Twin Falls, popular with BASE jumpers. Anyway, the BST follows this shoreline.

The other access points are Hogle Zoo, for a longer but less steep ride than City Creek or Dry Creek, near Shriner’s Hospital, for the shortest and quickest pedal. Descent options are City Creek or Bobsled (below). Dry Creek is not the best downhill and popular with runners and hikers going uphill, so it can be dangerous, too.

4. Bobsled

The famed Bobsled descent is roughly in between City Creek and Dry Creek. Drop your seat and get ready to rip the banked walls and berms. Advanced riders should only attempt the ‘sled, as there is no taking it easy. You need speed to carry the turns and when the trail is tacky you can feel the centrifugal forces at play.

Near the bottom, trail features abound on either side with larger wall rides, car jumps and other challenges. A fit rider can make it up Dry Creek and down Bobsled in under an hour – perfect for a lunch ride!

5. Corner Canyon

The second most likely area on the valley to dry out in spring and be snow free late into fall is Corner Canyon, near Draper. The trail system is ever growing and begins by winding through a nice neighborhood near the Draper LDS Temple.

Ghost Falls and Clarks are two great options for uphill, and the Rush trail is a screaming descent! Rush is open to downhill riders only, so no worries about uphill riders ruining your line!

6. Big Mountain Trail at Snowbird

The trail is exactly what you would expect from Snowbird: steep, rugged and challenging. Don’t be intimidated, though, a cautious intermediate rider can tackle this 7.5 mile 3,000 foot descent. New for 2014, this downhill trail is an instant classic.

The only bummer is the short season, as its not unheard of for the ‘bird to still be skiing on the 4th of July. When it’s over 100 degrees in the valley and reaching 90s in Park City, head up Little Cottonwood to cool off with a tram ride (you can pedal up, if you want, before the tram opens for the day) and a gravity-aided ride back to the base. Another prime season to ride the Big Mountain trail is during Oktoberfest, held annually  August – October.

That dunkel will have never tasted so good after putting your brake pads to the test. Bet you can’t do just one lap!

7. Solitude

The same analogies which hold true for snowbirds skiing to its biking are accurate at Solitude; the uncrowded slopes in winter are the calling card for a quiet summer pedal. The two options to ride uphill are Serenity and Queen Bess, with Serenity providing a bit more challenge and Queens Bess a the longer climb of the two.

You can ride down both as well, or hop on Kruzr, an old-school hand-cut mountain bike trail. My route of choice is to start by riding up Serenity and descending Kruzr at the shortcut (Easy Out) near the Summit lift, then pedal up Queen Bess and head back to the top of the shortcut trail, but this time continue up the doubletrack to the true top of Kruzr, which allows an even longer descent. All told, this is about a 12 mile double loop, but will feel like 20.

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