||Gambel Oak Loop
The Gambel Oak is a short but fun loop around a small
mountain on the east side of Park City. Except for crossing two paved
roads, it's all singletrack. This 4-mile loop starts at 7050 feet, climbing to a peak altitude
Although there are some easy sections, the loop has two miles of
narrow twisting trail in tight trees, earning the trail an overall
advanced tech rating. Aerobically, it's not too tough.
View of the southern tip of Park City,
seen from the Gambel Oak trail. Photos July 8, 2002 by Bruce.
|The Gambel Oak trail itself is a short and fairly easy climb
up a small mountain covered by clusters of gambel oak among the brush. For
riders wanting easier stuff, it's possible to drop south on the Solamere
Connector trail from the top of Gambel Oak, then return by road to the
True to its name, the Gambel Oak trail
climbs a hillside covered with gambel or Utah oak.
||The loop is formed by adding a couple of miles of narrow
advanced-technical trail around the mountain, joining with an alternate
higher-tech trail that runs near the easy Lost
Prospector trail. After dropping from the ridge over several
switchbacks, you encounter roots, bumps, and tight squeezes on a trail
that's constantly turning, climbing, and dropping.
From the back side of the mountain,
looking towards US-40 and Round Valley.
|On the east side of the mountain, gambel oak gives way to
maples and aspens, with choke cherry and elderberry. Large thimbleberry
plants, ferns, columbine, sticky geranium, delphinium, and lupine make
this area a visual delight.
On the northern side of the hill, the
narrow trail twists through tight spaces, over roots and rocks. Here we're
looking north as the trail rolls through maple forest.
After joining the Lost Prospector trail, you
have the option of continuing a more technical singletrack, or riding the
smooth machine-cut Lost Prospector. The trails interweave through the
final mile. (Our map assumes you will be riding the more technical
||Ride notes, counterclockwise loop:
0.0 Ride road 150 ft uphill, hard R on ST
0.15 Fork R under power line
0.6 L uphill at faint fork
0.7 Road, trail downhill 150 ft across road N 40° 38.803' W 111° 29.346'
1.6 Trail in from L (Solamere), keep straight N 40° 39.088' W 111° 28.937'
1.75 Cross wide trail, keep straight
2.9 Fork, keep straight (L)
(R drops down to Lost
3.3 Join Lost Prospector, fork R 30 ft later N 40° 39.431' W 111° 30.004'
3.75 Cross Prospector, forking L
3.95 Hard L onto Prospector downhill
4.05 At parking
|Photo above: Result of trees hugging the sides of a
narrow tricky trail. Better bring the full-fingered gloves!
||Getting there: On Park City's Main Street, turn left
to head to Deer Valley. About 1/4 mile after the red light where Bonanza
Drive joins Deer Valley Drive, watch for a street on the left, just before
a long brick retaining wall. This is Aerie Drive. Go uphill 0.15 mile to a
small parking spot on the right side of the street,
N 40° 39.034' W 111° 29.811'. The Lost Prospector trail is across the
street. If you're doing the counterclockwise loop, the singletrack to
Gambel Oak is up the road about 150 feet on the right.
Copyright 2002 Mad Scientist Software Inc