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Mother Urban

Mother Urban is an uphill-only trail in Park City. It begins on lower Sweeney's Switchbacks, just uphill from the Treasure Hill trailhead. The trail was completed in 2022. The trail system here is relatively complex and minimally marked, so an on-trail navigation app is highly recommended if you want to climb Mother Urban.

Typical terrain for much of Mother Urban -- dense forest of aspen and fir. Trail review by Bruce on July 29, 2022.

The Treasure Hill and lower Sweeney's trails should be considered part of the Mother Urban route. There will be one mile of gentle climbing from the Treasure Hill trailhead to the official beginning of Mother Urban. This creates a 5.4-mile route from the edge of the city to the Midmountain Trail. (See the map.)

View south toward the top of Empire Canyon from Mother Urban. On the lower slopes the trail has patches of scrub oak and maple.

The Mother Urban trail begins at 7100 feet elevation on Sweeney's Switchbacks at the base of Treasure Hill -- located 1/2 mile south of the Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR). It extends 4.4 miles up to Midmountain at 8200. The expected riding season is June through early October.

Looking north as the trail winds uphill.

Getting to the trail!
Treasure Hill Trailhead
This small trailhead, with room for 5 cars, is located on the southern end of Lowell Avenue 1/2 mile south of the main PCMR parking. You'll need to climb uphill on Sweeney's Switchbacks or a combination of Treasure Hill and Sweeney's.

Do not park on residential streets! If the Treasure Hill Trailhead is full, drive to the main PCMR parking and pedal uphill via Lowell Avenue.

The Treasure Hill trailhead. The doubletrack is the Sweeney Connector. Treasure Hill is 100 feet uphill on your right.

South Sweeney's Switchbacks
You can reach South Sweeney's by taking the Sweeney Connector 0.3 miles south from Treasure Hill's trailhead then keeping straight onto South Sweeney's where you'll climb 0.7 miles to intercept Mother Urban.

You can also enter South Sweeney from paved streets at Norfolk Avenue (there's no parking here). Or, you can hit South Sweeney from a short connector at King Road's first left-hand turn above the city.

The entry into South Sweeney's from Norfolk Avenue.

Via King Road
On city streets, take Main Street south until you find King Road on your right. Pedal uphill 0.9 miles to the second left-hand turn. You'll see the King Road Connector trail on your right. Now look just past the apex of the turn on your left and you'll see Mother Urban on the south side of the road. It's 2.4 miles to Midmountain from here.

King Road Connector trail
From upper Sweeney's Switchbacks or lower John's trail, turn onto the King Road Connector. After 0.3 miles, Mother Urban will join on your left from downhill. Continue 100 feet to King Road and find the continuing Mother Urban across the road and slightly uphill at the apex of the turn in the paved road.

Heading south on the King Road Connector after climbing Sweeney's.

Via 4:20 and Gravedigger
Near the bottom of John's Trail, there are two connectors going south that merge into the 4:20 trail. 4:20 will descend 0.4 miles to end on King Road. Directly across the road is the top of Gravedigger. Take Gravedigger 0.2 miles downhill to join Mother Urban. Keep straight and right at the fork.

Gravedigger uphill
From the bottom of Speedbag or the top of Daly Grind, get on Gravedigger northbound. After 1/2 mile, turn left uphill when Gravedigger reaches Mother Urban.

Johns 99
Johns 99 crosses upper Mother Urban 0.5 miles from the top.

The entry to Gravedigger from King Road.

Mother Urban
Mother Urban is a climbing-only trail, created to take pressure off Jenni's Trail and the Armstrong Trail as a route uphill from town to the Midmountain Trail. Of the these three options, Mother Urban is the hardest while Jenni's Trail is easiest.

We're climbing the trail known as Treasure Hill from the Treasure Hill trailhead. According to the plan maps, this 1/2 mile trail will become the bottom of Mother Urban once the excavator reaches it.

Mother Urban trail is a 4.4-mile climb from lower Sweeney's Switchbacks to Midmountain. It must be reached by climbing Sweeney's or a combination of Treasure Hill and a short stretch of Sweeney's. 

Heading toward the trail fork with Sweeney's Switchbacks on Treasure Hill, which I recommend for the climb to Mother Urban.

At this time (August 2022), the small section between Sweeney's and Mother Urban has been completed and is open for riding but is not yet on my map.

Fresh trail near the complex tangle of routes known as South Sweeney's.

Mother Urban crosses South Sweeney or the South Sweeney Connector five times. So if you're on South Sweeney you WILL find the trail. The intersections are not marked, but the route here is obvious at this time because it's the big wide new trail.

Looking north as Mother Urban climbs uphill between the South Sweeney crossover and the King Road Connector.

Mother Urban merges with the King Road Connector 100 feet before the paved King Road. Look uphill and a bit right of the inside of the road's turn to see the continuing trail. Cross the road to continue riding.

Heading south from King Road on the western slope of Empire Canyon.

0.3 miles from King Road, Mother Urban will join the Gravedigger trail. This next segment of the trail is two-way. And it's the most confusing because of multiple connections to Gravedigger and Moosehouse -- at least until better trail markers are installed and the route is ridden in.

Looking back at the intersection of Gravedigger and Mother Urban. Where I'm standing is two-way trail. To the right is Mother Urban, one-way uphill.

The Mother Urban trail will descend a bit as it traverses into a small canyon. After 0.2 miles on the combined Gravedigger and Mother Urban (0.5 miles from King Road), the trail will arrive at a crossover in a small canyon.

Descending on the combined Gravedigger and Mother Urban.

The crossing trail is the rerouted Moosehouse trail. Keep straight. (Again, this intersection is not marked. The trail to the right looks more appropriate as a climber than the combined Gravedigger/Mother Urban, but it won't take long for you to realize it's not the right way.) Dip through the dry creekbed and veer left into the trees. 

This is the trail you're aiming for. As you hit the roots in the fir trees and the trail narrows -- and you start coasting downhill on a "climbing" trail -- you'll think you went the wrong way.

For a minute here, you'll think you've made a navigation error. The trail is narrow and rooty and angles slightly downhill. But hang in there. In 0.2 miles (0.7 from King Road), you'll reach a confusing intersection of old and new trails. Angle a bit right uphill on Mother Urban, as Gravedigger continues left and an alternate track of Moosehouse crosses from uphill. Hopefully, action will be taken to simplify and mark this area better.

On the combined Gravedigger and Mother Urban as we approach the trail split.

The trail will now leave the fir forest and traverse the steep side-slope of Empire Canyon through oak and maple scrub. It will head southwest, then north. This section has a lot of rollers and it's not a passive restful climb.

Heading north on the section that traverses the canyon sidewall.

As you re-enter aspen and fir forest, you'll climb through a series of turns. The Moosehouse trail will brush past Mother Urban on your right.

Climbing through a series of turns in aspen forest.

Cross the Johns 99 trail at mile 1.9 from King Road. You're almost there! The pitch of the climbing eases, and you've got some lovely riding in aspen forest.

You'll pass an old collapsing mine structure just before the Midmountain trail. As with all old mine stuff, look and take a picture but don't enter.

An old mine structure on Mother Urban.

Mother Urban reaches the Midmountain trail at 2.4 miles from King Road. Here Midmountain makes a hard turn, with Mother Urban joining at the apex of the turn. If you veer left as you exit Mother Urban, you're headed toward Empire Link (a popular descending trail back to town).

To the right, Midmountain heads to the bottom of Tommy's Two Step (for climbing further up the hill), then the Silver King connector (to Jenni's and John's trails).

Joining the Midmountain trail. Left to Empire Link to descend; right to Tommy's to climb further uphill.

Bottom Line:
So far, this trail is seeing very few riders. It may succeed at taking pressure off of Jenni's and Armstrong as a climbing route once it's complete, but I believe it will be the least popular of the climbing options. It has some navigation problems in the Gravedigger area that, hopefully, should be resolved soon. I'll have more to say once more riders are using this trail.

The views from Mother Urban are, well, kind of mediocre. We're looking north.

Getting there: 

On Park City's Main Street, turn right towards Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) on Empire Avenue then veer right again at Silver King Drive. Turn left on Lowell Avenue. The main parking for PCMR is on your right. This will be your fall-back if the 5 parking spots at Treasure Hill are full. Continue 1/2 mile south on Lowell Avenue. The Treasure Hill trailhead is on your right, just before Lowell Avenue turns downhill to the left and becomes Empire Avenue.

If Treasure Hill is full, continue on Empire Avenue all the way back to Silver King Drive and turn left for main PCMR parking. (Note that one segment of Lowell Avenue is one-way, so don't do a U-turn to return to PCMR parking.)

NOTE:  Map shows status as of July 29, 2022. It will be updated once I get a chance to ride the newest section from Treasure Hill. (The purple trail from Treasure Hill on the map's upper right is the best route to Mother Urban.)

GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
   Park City multi-track area file
Lodging, camping, shops:  Park City area resources