||Snowbird Cross-country Loop
Snowbird Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon offers two singletrack loops
sharing one section of common singletrack. Or, you can ride the gravel
tram road to
the top of the mountain for a climbing challenge. Beginner and intermediate riders will like the Easy Loop,
which is a friendly but short ride. For information on Snowbird's Big
Mountain Trail, see that page.
Photo: Looking north across the valley at the
granite peaks dividing Little Cottonwood from Big Cottonwood. Photos by
Bruce, July 28, 2003.
| Race Loop: Expert riders will enjoy the new singletrack (added in 2009 and 2012)
which has created a
5-mile loop that's 95% singletrack and absolutely fun. At 8100 feet, the stiff climb on the
Race Loop will be breathtaking for those who aren't used to
the altitude. The vertical change is 700 feet. The riding isn't
particularly technical, but the climb back up-canyon on the Bird Trail
will be tough and has some tricky sections.
Meghan climbs uphill on the
singletrack of the eastern side of the Race Loop.
A new zigzag singletrack in 2009 bypasses the steep rocky
loose "Dick Bass Highway" which was the former climbing route.
In 2012 new singletrack opened on the west end of the resort. Most riders
will use this as a descent. The result is a
five-mile Race Loop that's almost all singletrack -- avoiding the former
tram road descent.
View through the trees on the
singletrack between Gad and Dick Bass.
|Beginners: The Easy Loop links the gravel service road from the base
of the Gad lift (across the creek from Entry 1) to the singletrack that traverses the lower mountain. This
loop is a smidgen under 2 miles, with only about 200 total vertical. It's
"Easy" because it follows the singletrack downhill, then climbs
back on dirt road.
Rachel hits the bridge across the
creek, riding east on the singletrack Bird Trail that traverses the
mountain to form the lower half of the Race Loop and the upper half of the
Climbers! Grunting up the tram road to Hidden Peak, it's 3000 vertical in
5 miles. Bring it on! But most riders happily plunk down the tram fee
($20/day in 2014) for a ride to the top. Say "Oooooh, Aaaaaah" at the views from the top, then
ride the Big Mountain Trail or the gravel road down. The gravel road is fast and steep, and in my
opinion, not a great deal of fun.
There are some technical challenges on
the Bird Trail. Here Gene hits an uphill turn over a granite outcrop.
|Easy Loop riding directions, clockwise:
0.0 Cross creek to Mid-Gad chairlift,
turn L (E) on DT
0.6 Hard R on DT, 100 ft then R on ST (W)
(If you cross a paved walking
trail, you're lost.
Backtrack. 100 yards past building on
veer L uphill on smaller DT.)
1.4 Cross DT to ST
1.7 ST joins DT, keep straight (E)
ST on L is White Pine connector
1.9 Back at Mid-Gad chair
View of the ski slope, near the Plaza.
Advanced riders may want to connect to the White Pine Trail.
The connector singletrack is found just uphill from the Gad lift. This
narrow singletrack is
a very technical (but very fun) descent, 1 mile in length, joining the
main White Pine trailhead just as the trail crosses the river.
View down the tram road. The Salt Lake Valley and Bingham Canyon copper mine are visible in
|Race Loop riding directions, clockwise:
0.0 Cross creek straight uphill onto
N40 34.762 W111 39.503
0.2 Pass Dick Bass, keep on DT N40 34.817 W111 39.336
0.4 Hard L on ST N40 34.887 W111 39.255
1.0 Cross Dick Bass Hwy and descend a bit
N40 34.695 W111 39.386
1.2 Temporarily join DT, fork R at ST
1.5 Cross DT (stay on ST) N40 34.586 W111 39.761
2.0 Keep straight (L = Big Mountain)
N40 34.448 W111 39.603
2.2 R on tram road, head downhill
N40 34.340 W111 39.679
2.3 Veer L onto ST
3.6 L on ST 30 feet, R on faint DT
|3.7 Hard L onto ST (White Pine) N40 34.636 W111 40.101
3.8 Fork hard R (go back east) N40 34.617 W111 40.330
(down-canyon is continued White
3.9 Join DT
4.3 Pass one lift, pass DT heading uphill on R
Curve R around next lift to
uphill 2nd DT
Climb DT N40 34.666 W111 39.980
4.4 Hard L onto ST at turn in road
(Bird Trail) N40 34.613 W111 40.090
4.9 L downhill on DT N40 34.725 W111 39.512
5.1 R uphill to finish race, L for parking
N40 34.774 W111 39.473
|Tram Road: To take the tram to
the top, take Entry 2 and go to the Snowbird Center. Buy a pass at the
ticket office, then go into the tram building east of the plaza. To ride
to the top via the tram road, cross the river and head right downhill on
DT along the river until you hit the Mid-Gad chairlift. Turn left and head
uphill. To climb the Dick Bass Highway singletrack to the tram road, cross
the river and turn left. Just past the paved walking trail, fork hard
right uphill on singletrack. When you reach the road, turn left.
Racing! Snowbird is the site of an
Intermountain Cup race. Here's Bruce in July 2005.
||Getting there: From I-15, take the 90th South
exit. Drive east. 90th South will veer southward to become 9400 South.
Keep straight until you hit the mouth of the canyon. When the road ends at
the stop sign at the Little Cottonwood Canyon road (U-210), turn right towards the
flashing canyon sign. Drive 5.8 miles up the canyon. For the Mid-Gad Chair
(Easy Loop or Tram Road) trailhead, turn right into Snowbird Entry 1. Park immediately and cross
Little Cottonwood Creek to find the Mid-Gad chairlift. The Easy Loop
starts with the dirt road that parallels the creek, heading east up past
the Snowbird Center. For the Race Loop, continue to Entry 2, 0.5 miles
further up-canyon. Head toward the Tram and
Snowbird Center. The Race Loop (ICup Race route) starts at the big bridge
near the lodges.
(See topo map or satellite map -- link below -- for greater detail of