Inevitably, spring time in the Wasatch leaves people anxious to get on their bikes. There’s nothing like warm temps and blue sky to get people jonesin’ to hit the trails. However, riding trails before they’re melted out and ready can cause real damage to the trail, as well as your bike. It’s important to understand that leaving ruts not only disrupts the flow of the trail, but can lead to erosion greatly distressing the singletrack and surrounding areas. Additionally, nothing destroys fork seals, a drivetrain, and brakes faster than mud. Leaving your wallet just as sore as your pride. If you happen to get stuck in the weather, it’s best to walk, or even carry your bike to the nearest exit point, and hitch a ride back to the car. Trying to ride through will only make a bad situation worse. When encountering puddles, ride through them and not around as not to widen the trail.
With that said, here are three of my favorite Park City spring mountain bike trail rides that are some of the first to dry out as well as manage to pack in some decent vert and mileage.
Flying Dog (Backside)
Truth be told, this ride is not technically Flying Dog, but instead a combination of trails that skirt Flying Dog. Typically the true Flying Dog downhill doesn’t dry out until late May, however, you can drop down the backside to connect to Cobblestone, lower Glenwild Loop, finishing on Bob’s Basin making for a long, flowy, fast descent. My favorite route is to park at the Schoolhouse Trailhead, ride up Fink Again, take a left on 24/7, up Preserve Connector, make a right at the top to descend the Flying Dog switchbacks, descend lower Cobblestone, to Glenwild, back across 24/7 for a final descent down the Dropout flow trail.
A new trail to the Wasatch, Coyote Canyon offers some solid potential for miles as well as outstanding views of Mount Timpanogos. I recommend riding the loop CCW starting at the HWY 32 (River Road) trailhead, or riding Riverview trail as an out-and-back.
Round Valley is a Park City staple trail network. The route possibilities are nearly endless. A favorite of mine is to start at the Round Valley Way trailhead in Park Meadows, ascend up Nowhere Elks, descend Rusty Shovel, to Ramble On to Rambler, across Lah Dee Duh, and down Backslide back to the trailhead.
What are your favorite early season rides? Leave a comment below as well as be sure to get your free Park City Mountain Biking stickers.