This loop ties the Great Western Trail from Big Mountain Pass to Jeremy Ranch east of Parley's Summit, using the East Canyon Road and the Mormon Trail in Little Emigration Canyon to complete a 19.4-mile loop. This loop is for strong, experienced riders who can handle some stiff climbs and descend in occasional loose rock. Many bikers ride a portion of the Great Western, starting at Big Mountain Pass, as an out-and-back.
Getting there, Big Mountain Pass Trailhead: On I-80 in Parley's Canyon, take the Little Dell Recreation Area (U-65) exit. From the exit, drive uphill 8 miles to the top of the pass, then park on the right side of the road at GPS N 40° 49.687' W 111° 39.244'. The trail begins on the far side of the parking area, heading uphill.
0.0 At the far end of the parking lot, trail heads uphill
0.8 Crest ridge and begin first descent
1.5 Cross broad meadow of Mule's Ear
2.0 Crest ridge, 7900 ft, start descent to 7500
2.3 Stiff climb up to Bald Mountain
3.5 Top of Bald Mountain, 7900 ft, N 40° 47.547' W 111° 38.924'
begin steep loose rock descent
4.5 Climb up from 7400 ft
5.0 Briefly join fire road, descend
5.1 Pass branching trail on R (descends ridge towards Little Dell)
N 40° 46.418' W 111° 38.951'
6.0 Cross game trail on saddle, start climbing up again
6.5 At crest of hill, keep straight (L goes 0.2 to viewpoint)
N 40° 45.783' W 111° 38.238' Alt 7800
7.6 Microwave towers, singletrack goes to R of structures
Joins gravel road
7.7 At first turn in road, hop singletrack on L, heading east
9.0 Fork "Main"gy Moose, turn R onto Switchback Trail
N 40° 45.789' W 111° 36.009'
N 40° 45.754' W 111° 35.898' Alt 7000
9.8 Trail hits paved road at Moose Hollow gate (Saddleback)
Find continuing trail across road on your left
N 40° 45.777' W 111° 35.559' Alt 6750
10.2 Fork hard L N 40° 45.713' W 111° 35.419'
10.8 L onto paved bike trail on Jeremy Ranch Road
N 40° 46.000' W 111° 35.015' Alt 6250
10.9 L onto gravel East Canyon Road
14.8 L into parking area for Mormon Trail
Lift bike over fence, trail crosses creek
19.4 Arrive back at Big Mountain Pass