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9K Trail
(temporary name)

The 9K trail is only partially built. When finished, it will contour the higher hillside west of Park City. At around 9000 feet elevation, it will be a higher-elevation version of the Midmountain Trail (at 8000 feet). The first segment is complete in fall 2019. This piece runs 1.8 miles from Empire Pass to the Black Forest singletrack as it crosses McConkey's road.

Looking east as Bruce pedals through a grove of stunted fir. Photos and trail review September 18, 2019.

The trail can be reached through the Empire Pass parking area. (This is a fairly small parking lot, so on weekends you'll probably need to find another starting spot.) Take the doubletrack west past the top of Corvair, then turn right onto 9K 0.1 miles after leaving the parking area.

The new trail replaces the old mix of dirt roads and singletrack between Empire Pass and Black Forest. Next year it should extend to Fat Lip and Keystone.

Heading out from the Empire Pass parking area on the westbound doubletrack.

As the name implies, the 9K trail sticks to an elevation of around 9000 feet. The terrain is a mix of fir, aspen, and low scrub. Groves of trees alternate with open grassy areas with wide views.

The trail is a machined bench cut and is mostly smooth dirt. It's an easy technical ride, and not too tough aerobically considering the elevation.

Fir and aspen alternate with alpine grasses and low shrubs.

You can ride the trail as an out-and-back from Empire Pass, or create a loop ride. The loop rides tend to be difficult either due to length or technical riding. Beginning riders and early-intermediates should do the trail as an out-and-back.

At the temporary end of 9K on McConkey's Road, Black Forest is right across the road. Beginners can venture a bit further on this flattish segment of Black Forest (around 0.4 miles) before turning back. 

Mixed aspen and fir forest.

Examples of loop rides would be:
1. 9K, Black Forest down, Midmountain southbound then Corvair, Tour Des Suds, Boulder, or Team Big Bear for the climb uphill.
2. Climb to Midmountain. Catch Steps or Tommy's Two Step, then Three Candles up, then Keystone and Fat Lip to Black Forest, 9K, then Corvair, Payroll, or other downhill back to Midmountain.

The area is complex with multiple entangled trails, so it's best to carry a device to help you navigate. See the Ruby Loop page for trails such as Boulder and Corvair.

Northbound as the trail contours the mountain below the Empire lift.

This first segment of the 9K trail ends on McConkey's Road, which is a dirt/gravel road. Were you to continue north on McConkey's, you'd arrive at the intersection of Thaynes Road, Webster Road, and Flat Iron in the Park City Ski Area.

Where 9K hits McConkey's road, Black Forest crosses the road. If you continue straight across, Black Forest will take you northbound on a fairly flat traverse before dropping down to McConkey's road. At this spot you can turn left and find Fat Lip to continue north for a big ride.

North slopes tend to have mature forest.

A hard right turn from the northwest end of 9K (at McConkey's) takes you downhill on Black Forest. It starts out mellow, but there will be steep rooty sections that warrant an expert rating. Black Forest joins TG2, coming in from your right. (Resist the temptation to take TG2 south for a loop. It gets hike-a-bike steep.) Descend to Midmountain, then turn right to head back for a loop.

View east into Deer Valley.

Bottom Line
Very nice trail. But if you're from outside the PC area, the currently completed segment is a bit short to warrant a destination trip. But it's a fun piece of bigger rides spanning the mountain between Deer Valley and the Park City Ski Area.

And once it's finished, imagine the long loop rides using 9K one direction and Midmountain for the other!

A fun log ride, just before the trail hits McConkey's.

 Loop from Empire Pass, descending Black Forest, back via Midmountain and Corvair...

 If the above video does not appear on your browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

Getting there:  
As you enter Park City, follow the signs for Deer Valley and Guardsman Road. Get on Bonanza Drive heading south uphill. At the roundabout, turn toward Empire Canyon (SR 224). Stay on that road for about 3.5 miles. Go through the roundabout in front of Empire Canyon Lodge and head uphill on 224. Just after the turn to the right, there's parking on the left side of the road. Park here if you'll start your ride on the Midmountain Trail (back downhill just above the turn). For Empire Pass (direct access to 9K) continue to the top of the mountain to the parking area.

Toilet at Empire Pass trailhead.

Riding resources:
GPS tracks (right-click and "save as...")  
     9K trail track only    Loop w Black Forest and Corvair 
     Area trails (over 150 tracks)
High-res topo map for printing:    (pending)
Lodging, camping, shops:       Links to Park City area resources

Copyright 2019