Pedaling south on the climbing side of the loop. Original photos, video, and review by Bruce on September 26, 2022. Updated for new trails August 16, 2023.
Clark Ranch ("Wally World")
Sparky's, Family Truckster, Cousin Eddie
The Clark Ranch trails are reached via Sparky's Trail, a 3.5 mile one-way loop ride. At the top of Sparky's, two downhill-only flow trails fork away. First is the 0.7-mile Family Truckster, then the more-technical 0.5 mile Cousin Eddie. Sparky's is rated easy, while Family Truckster and Cousin are intermediate.
The expected riding season will be late May through early November. The trails lie just to the west of US-40 east of Park City in an area known as Richardson's Flat. The starting elevation is 6600 feet.
The trail meanders south roughly parallel to US-40, until it pops over the ridge for a very fun downhill.
Looking south from the parking area. The outgoing trail is about 50 feet past the gate on your right.
To get there, go to Highway 248 (Kearns Blvd) east of Park City and turn onto the Richardson
Flats Road. This road joins Highway 248 at both ends, one end on either side of US-40. Just
west of the big Park 'n Ride lot and east of US-40, there's a dirt road on the south side that
goes 100 yards to a parking area. This gravel trailhead has room for around 10 vehicles. Pedal
south through the gate and find the outgoing singletrack on your right.
Sparky's Loop (Clark Ranch) Trail
Alex turns in the aspens on the uphill side of Sparky's.
The Sparky's loop is 3.5 miles in length with 350 vertical feet of climbing. It can be a quick ride. The trail is an engineered bench-cut with tall banks on the turns, designed to be ridden one direction. The technical level and slope are appropriate for beginning riders.
First, make sure you're on the correct limb of the trail for a counterclockwise ride. Turn right on the first trail that forks away from the dirt road, 50 feet past the fence.
The loop ride starts in a sea of sagebrush, as the trail meanders through Richardson Flat. You'll spend about 1/2 mile twisting through the Flat before the trail reaches a scrub oak area and begins to climb.
The half-mile of sage brush goes by pretty quickly. The trail has lots of turns, so it's not boring.
Climbing a shallow valley between US-40 and the hill. Later, we'll cross over and climb the slope that's to my left ahead.
While hikers can stroll either direction, mountain bikes must go counterclockwise. The trail starts at 6600 feet elevation in Richardson Flat, a sagebrush meadow just east of US-40 in the Quinn Junction area. It climbs a hill before looping back to the start.
The uphill limb of the loop is close enough to US-40 that you'll hear the traffic as you ride. As you climb 350 vertical feet, so does the traffic on the highway. So the big-rig engines will be making a bit of noise.
At mile 0.9, the Cutoff Connector trail joins on your left. Keep right through the shallow ravine to continue uphill.
After climbing up a small valley that parallels US-40 southbound, there are sets of climbing turns on the eastern slope of that valley. These are swooping banked turns that are designed to be attacked with speed. There's fairly flat trail before and after each turn, so you recover nicely from the burst of effort required to climb through the turn.
Zooming up and around a climbing turn.
Approaching a bit of fall color!
While most of the trail lies in gambel oak terrain, there are a few aspen and maple in cooler
areas. For the loop, 1/2 mile on each end is nothing but sagebrush, 1/2 mile is aspen and maple,
and the other 2 miles is tall scrub oak groves with bits of sagebrush between them.
Two scenic trail views during the climb. While the trailside contains mostly oak brush, there are spots of cedar, maple, and aspen.
But! This is not a ride for the scenery -- it's a flow trail that you love for the actual riding.
Almost to the top. After a "fake" summit and a bit of descending, you'll turn back to the south and climb across the real top of the hill. The trail will then be northbound for good.
The climbing isn't constant. Around mile 1.2, you'll turn north and begin to descend. But this is not the summit. After 1/10th mile the trail resumes climbing again and turns back southbound.
At mile 2.0 of the loop, the trail crosses a ridgeline. It makes a quick 180 turn to the north to begin the downhill on the east-facing slope of the hill. At this spot, Family Truckster forks away to the right, with Cousin Eddie forking right after another 1/10th mile on Sparky's.
The pitch of the descent is gradual. There may be some spots where you'll pedal to increase
your speed. The trail winds back and forth through wide banked turns. Most of the banked turns
are simple "adjustments" but there around a dozen full 180 reversals. The turning radius and
the berm are sufficient that you usually won't need to slow down.
Rolling around a turn on dirt ribbon.
Drone shot shows the undulations in the trail.
Between turns, the trail has dips and curves that make the downhill lots of fun. There are
a few table jumps. For many of them, I didn't have enough speed to clear the top. But then
I'm old and timid. An expert rider should have no problem spending a bit of time in the air.This isn't the sort of tech downhill where you have to make a scouting run first. Everything
that's coming up is obvious in your sight line. Lots of cruise and flow.
The downhill is really fun. Here are a couple of shots that show the action. Banked partial turns on winding trail
Pop-up over a table jump.
Almost to the sagebrush again.
As you get back to Richardson Flat, the pitch of the trail gets flatter. It's still downhill,
but barely so. You've got 1/2 mile of twisty trail in the sagebrush. Add a bit of pedal to
reach the speed you want.Very nicely built trail, both in design and digging. I really enjoyed the ride. The sagebrush
and the noise of US-40 during the climb should not keep you away. The downhill run is super
fun -- I hit the loop twice so I could rock the downhill without the heavy camera pack on my
back. This trail is worth a visit.
Family Truckster DH Flow Trail
Alex forks off Sparky's onto Family Truckster.
The Family Truckster DH flow trail forks to the right from Sparky's at mile 2.0 of the loop, at the rides highest point (6950 feet elevation).
Family Truckster is 0.7 miles long, descending 200 vertical feet before it joins Cousin Eddie just before the combined trail ends on a doubletrack. (This doubletrack is the Cutoff Connector, which will take you around the shoulder of the hill to the downhill side of Sparky's then on to the uphill limb.)
Turns are highly banked and designed for fast smooth riding.
Straight sections will either have table jumps or sidewall twists to keep things interesting.
The trail is early-intermediate in technical requirement, with some optional lines that require upper intermediate or expert skills. The route is highly engineered, with frequent rollers and turns. There are some table jumps that less-adventurous riders can simply roll, and one step-up jump (with a ride-around) for experts. There are high banks on turns.
Family Truckster offers more advanced riding, and more stunt opportunities, than the downhill on Sparky's. But it's easier than Cousin Eddie, and is well within the cabilities of most experienced beginners.
Most of the descent is in mature oak forest, with occasional maples and a rare aspen.
Cousin Eddie DH Flow Trail
The trail fork for Cousin Eddie. Sparky's is to the left; Cousin Eddie to the right.
Cousin Eddie is a steeper, more technical version of Family Truckster. It forks away from the downhill limb of Sparky's at mile 2.1, dropping away to the right.
Cousin Eddie has somewhat tighter turns than Family Truckster, with a steeper pitch. The table jumps are taller and more frequent. I don't recommend this route for most beginners, but early intermediates can handle it.
The trail is constantly twisting, with table jumps and gaps coming frequently.
Rolling into the wooden platform.
There was only one wood feature at the time of my ride, a platform leading to a very-steep roll. If you take it with speed, it becomes a drop of around 8 feet. The transition area at the bottom is steep dirt, so the landing is plush. You can ride around this feature to the uphill side.
Cousin Eddie and Family Truckster will join for the final 0.1 mile as you reach the sagebrush area at the bottom of the hill. From here, you can veer to the left on the doubletrack Cutoff Connector.
Alex reaches the bottom of Cousin Eddie, where Family Truckster joins.
Heading back toward Sparky's on the Cutoff Connector.
The combined Family Truckster and Cousin Eddie's trails end on a primitive doubletrack. This DT will connect you back to Sparky's. Veer to the left as you hit the trail.
After 0.15 miles, again keep to the left. (The DT to the right takes you back to the trailhead at Richardson's Flat.)
At mile 0.2, the trail crosses the downhill limb of Sparky's loop. You can turn hard right to head back to the trailhead, or keep straight. (Don't turn uphill here! Sparky's is one-way.)
At mile 0.3, the trail will join the uphill side of Sparky's in a shallow ravine. Turn left here to go back up.
Joining the uphill side of Sparky's. Turn left here.
Alex rolls down upper Sparky's in 2023.
Very nicely built trail system, both in design and digging. I really enjoyed the ride. The sagebrush and the noise of US-40 during the climb should not keep you away. The downhill run on Sparky's is super fun -- I hit the loop twice so I could rock the downhill without the heavy camera pack on my back. Family Truckster and Cousin Eddie offer some very fun more-technical riding, but can still be handled by less-skilled riders. These trails are worth a visit.
From US-40 east of Park City, take the Quinn's (Keetley) Junction exit and turn west toward Park City on Kearns Blvd. After around one mile, turn left on Richardson Flats Road. Pass under US-40, then watch for a dirt road on your right at 0.8 miles from Kearns Blvd. The parking area is in front of the gate after 1/10th mile. Go through the gate on the dirt road then turn to the right on the first singletrack. (Note that the loop is one-way. The second singletrack just up the road is the return path.)
No bathroom or water at trailhead.