This past summer, trails season was our most successful to date, with our team completing 6 major projects and nearly finishing two others. It was also one of our most meaningful, both in scope and in overcoming numerous hurdles along the way. “Directional” & “Purpose-Built” were the overriding themes, with all trails except for one being directional in nature, and each designed with a purpose. And let’s not forget our general maintenance program, one that included reroutes, drainage work, deadfall removal, and the clearing of many miles of thick vegetation, thanks to a wet summer. Here’s a look at this summer’s highlights.
Sparky (Clark Ranch)
Named after the Family Vacation, Clark Griswold character, and as a nod to its eMTB-friendly status, this 3.5 mile-long, multi-use, directional (for bikes) loop, is located on the newly City annexed, Clark Ranch easement, off Richardson Flat Road, on the east side of Highway 40. This was a breakout project for our 4-year crew member, Tim McChesney. He did most of the machine work, incorporating many “flow” features into the descent to bump up the fun factor, and we couldn’t be happier with the result. This is a NO DOG trail due to the agricultural easement and seasonal grazing that takes place on the property. The loop will be groomed this winter for fat biking and we hope to add additional “flow” lines off the east side of the loop next season.
Big Easy (Round Valley)
Work began on this project 3 years ago, with the concept of creating a true beginner and adaptive-bike-friendly loop trail in Round Valley. With winter “fat bike” use exploding in popularity, we were also looking at how we could better separate that use from the Nordic trails during the winter months, and this was our opportunity to do just that. At 5.5 miles in length, the Big Easy circumnavigates Round Valley, with several “bailout points”, creating shorter loop options for families and beginner adaptive cyclists. Prior to this year’s dirt work, our team watched a webinar on adaptive bike trail development, and it opened our eyes to design elements that we hadn’t previously considered. Alec did an amazing job incorporating that knowledge into a super fun, flowy trail that will hopefully see significant adaptive use, as well as creating a sweet fat bike loop in the winter months. This one checks a lot of boxes.
Big Dipper (SkyRidge Mountain Community)
For the past 4 years, Mountain Trails has been working with the SkyRidge Mountain Community on developing a trails master plan for the new development. That partnership has resulted in nearly 8 miles of new, public, hiking, and eMTB-friendly biking trails along the northeast corner of the Jordanelle Reservoir. Most recently, our team collaborated with Singletrack Trails LLC, on the construction of the Big Dipper; a 2.2-mile-long, directional downhill and bike-only trail from the summit of SkyRidge Peak, down to the start of the Milky Way trail, creating a 6-mile-long, loop. With its unique volcanic rock formations, exposure, and unrestricted views, this trail is unlike anything else you’ll ride in Park City.
Lynx Trail (Park City Heights)
After completing the upper half (one mile) last season, the team completed the lower half (an additional mile) this year. Winding its way up through the thick oak and maple stands, this trail provides a connection from the Rail Trail near Richardson Flat Rd, up to the Foxtail/Upper Skid Row area. With plans to build a downhill, bike-only trail in the area, this trail will eventually be uphill only for bikes and multi-directional for hiking. This project was funded by Park City Heights as part of their commitment to developing 4 miles of hiking and biking trails adjacent to their development.
Mother Urban(Treasure Hill/Old Town)
In early July we completed the last two miles of Mother Urban, a project we had started the previous year. Named after a colorful character in Park City history, this 4.5-mile-long trail begins just off Lowell Ave, crossing paths with Old Town classics such as Sweeny’s, Gravedigger, and John’s ’99, throughout its 1,200-foot ascent to the Mid Mtn trail near King Road. The primary intent of the project was to take pressure off both Jenni’s and Armstrong and create a great climbing (uphill only for bikes) and hiking experience in the heart of Old Town. It also allows for numerous new loop options with nearby trails. This one gets the award for the most challenging project of the summer, both logistically and from a construction standpoint. This project also brings front and center MTF’s ability to leverage private donations for public good. A full one half of this, $100K+ project was funded by generous donations from a group of really awesome people.
Cyn City (Park City Mountain)
In mid-July, after two plus years of planning and construction, we completed the Cyn City trail, named in memory of long-time local trails advocate, trail-builder and mountain biking pioneer, Cyndi Schwandt. Funded by a Utah Outdoor Rec grant with a match made by Cyndi’s family and estate, this 2.5 mile-long, directional downhill and bike-only trail was the first new connection to be built off of Charlie’s 9K with a Mid Mtn end-point. From the start, the vision was to design a mountain bike trail that had the potential to positively touch the largest number of riders. We wanted to create something that would be more inclusive and fun for riders of varied ability levels. With large bermed turns, rollers, table-tops and numerous “side-hit” features in the mix, the trail was designed to be “interactive”. So, while a lower intermediate rider can navigate it without feeling intimidated, a more experienced rider will quickly realize that with a few extra pedal strokes, it can be as fun or as challenging as you choose to make it. We have had 9-year-olds, 70-somethings, and every age and ability level in between, all grinning ear to ear, as they exit Cyndi’s trail. Mission accomplished!
Chainge Reaction (Park City Mountain)
The ying, to Cyn City’s yang, Chainge Reaction is intended to be an advanced, expert-only, downhill bike trail, with steep drops, jumps, roots, rocks, and tight trees. You will literally “drop in” on this one off Charlie’s 9K, just before the talus runout below Jupiter Peak, with the finish near the bottom of the McConkey’s lift as well as a return connector to Keystone, earlier on. This project was funded, in full, by a generous MTF donor. On this project, we are collaborating with professional trail builder, Derek Thomson of Apex Trails. We look forward to a mid-summer, 2023 completion for this one. This trail should really help to fill the void for riders looking for a more advanced, technical, and feature-rich, downhill option at Park City Mountain.
Bonanza Multi-Use loop (Bonanza Flat)
Construction on the Bonanza Loop began over 3 years ago as part of the trails master plan for the area. After multiple alignment changes and numerous challenges, in September we resumed construction on this 5-mile-long, high alpine, cross-country loop and will complete the project late next summer. As the first and likely only, mountain bike-friendly trail in Bonanza, the loop will be directional, counterclockwise for bikes and multi-directional for foot traffic. Because wildlife frequents the area, it will also be a “no dog” trail. With this alignment being less than a quarter mile from the Wasatch State Park boundary, we are hopeful to make the long-awaited connection to the WOW trail in the not-to-distant future.
Each of these projects was unique and all were the result of a true team effort, from the layout/design to the corridor clearing, to the machine and hand-finish work. I can’t give enough credit to our amazing crew; Alec, Tim, Sean, Matt, Derek, Emma & Phil, for the huge effort they put in this summer. A shout-out to the many volunteer groups that contributed to each of these projects. Each of you has left your mark, literally, on these trails. We also must thank all our community partners including Park City Municipal, Summit Land Conservancy, Utah Open Lands, Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort, and Vail EpicPromise, and all our donors, both large and small. We couldn’t do what we do without your support.
2022, that’s a wrap! We’ll see you out on the snow before you know it…