A Park City Mountain Biking Epic
Jun 14, 2016 Wasatch Crest Conditions Update
Despite the rumors, the Wasatch Crest trail is not 100% GTG. While the downfall has been cleared and it is technically ridable, whether or not it should be ridden is between you and your conscious. There are a handful of sizable snow fields that are a week or so out. We all know how hammered the Crest gets throughout the summer, and trail damage from premature riding will only exacerbate the existing ruts and erosion. Let’s give it a break for a few more days, as last thing we want is the USFS up there taking rocks out trying to “fix” things because of extensive erosion/ruts that have formed…
If there is one Park City Mountain Biking “must-ride”, it’s the Wasatch Crest trail. Though not for the faint of heart, the Crest requires at a minimum a strong fitness level with moderate to advanced technical ability in spots. However, riders will be rewarded with spectacular views of the Wasatch as you descend along the saddle of Big Cottwonwood and Parleys Canyons. The riding ranges from quick ridge line technical sections (The Spine), to fast flowy grooves where you’re ducking and diving through pine and aspen forests. There are a myriad of ways to ride the Crest, including pedaling from Old Town Park City or via shuttle van to the top of Guardsman Pass. Nevertheless, those looking to shuttle aren’t in for any picnic and should expect a solid 1,600 feet of climbing, 1,000 of which is on the appropriately named Puke Hill. Be forewarned, there is no easy way to bail on this trail, and once you’re in it, you better be ready to win it.
When to Ride the Wasatch Crest
The Wasatch Crest is typically ready to ride by the end of June. However, on big snow years, it can stay snowed in until mid-July. Once you’re on the ridge, you’re riding above 9,000 feet, so be prepared for cooler temperatures and fast-approaching storms. It’s typically game over on the Crest after the first snow or two in the fall, which can happen as early as September. Saturday’s can be busy, especially once the shuttles start running consistently. You’re less likely to run into people during mid-afternoon and evening rides.
Wasatch Crest Apres Bike
Your route selection will ultimately determine your apres bike options. The most popular option for Park City riders is to descend down to the Canyons Resort base area, in which chase, Drafts is an excellent post-ride beer and burger joint.
Wasatch Crest Ride Options
The start of the Wasatch Crest is at 9,800 feet. How you get up there is up to you. There are essentially 3 options to get to the top, and 3 options to descend. Which way you come down is largely based on where you start from. If you’re looking to finish in Park City, you’re best bet is to descend down the Canyons Resort via Rob’s, Ambush, or Holly’s. Otherwise, you can take Mill D into Big Cottonwood, or the Mill Creek option to finish in Salt Lake City. Of the three, Canyons has the most interesting riding, while Mill Creek offers the longest point-to-point trail option.
Looking for an old-fashioned suffer fest. Than this is the option for you. The good news is you get to bypass Puke Hill. The bad, you’re in for about 4,000 feet of climbing before an extended descent. To climb from town, the recommended route is Armstrong to Pinecone.
Still no picnic, but there are a number of ways to get to Shadow Lake without climbing from town, including getting a boost up Crescent Lift at PCMR (great as an afterwork ride). Really your options are endless at this point, so best to hookup with someone local who knows the trails. Looking for a riding partner? Contact us.
The most “DH” friendly option. This route also includes a fun jaunt on Scott’s Bypass before dropping you at the start of Puke Hill. If you can’t talk your friends into driving your ass up the pass, there are a number of shuttle companies who will do it for a small fee. For info on shuttle drivers, inquire within.