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Park City Town Loop

The Park City Town Loop is a dang good ride. There's 7 miles on dirt, of which 5 is high-quality forested singletrack. This loop links the Sweeney Switchbacks, John's, and Gravedigger trails for a nice taste of Park City riding without spending all day. It's intermediate with a few slightly technical spots, climbing 1200 feet.

Climbing the Sweeney Switchbacks, the Town Lift crosses the trail. Photos June 18, 2002 by Bruce

The ride begins at 7000 feet on Lowell Avenue, via a short doubletrack that takes you to the nicely-buff North Sweeney Switchbacks. The climb is fairly gentle, through choke cherry, aspen, fir, and a maple or two. Wildflowers include Wasatch penstemmon, scarlet gilia, and balsamroot. Sweeney's connects to the top of the Town Lift via a stretch of gravel road.

Most of the trail is sweet and buff. There are a few slightly technical spots, especially on the Gravedigger Trail.

From the ride's high point (8200 feet), you'll drop onto the insane John's Trail. This trail bobs and weaves through tight aspens, with more hairpin turns and root maneuvers than you can count. No chance to let it roll -- you're constantly making a move to clear a root, dodge an aspen, or roll a tight turn. If you're an advanced rider, the aspen-run is a fun mile, but it's a bit of work. If you're struggling, well, think of it as bike-control practice.

Near the Town Lift stand the remains of an old mine building.

Personally, I think John's Trail is the highlight of the whole loop. I love this trail, both uphill and down. It's best on a plush full-suspension bike -- DH or freerider.

Gravedigger offers a different type of technical when it climbs up the rocks and roots, but it also offers a bit of cruising. The trail exits the shade of the firs into gambel oak, then drops down to the dirt road where you'll bomb back to town via Daly Canyon.

A look forward on John's Trail, as the route bobs and weaves through twisted aspens.

Ride Notes:
0.0   Head up doubletrack, keep straight at 0.1
0.3   Fork L to climb singletrack (N Sweeney)
        N Sweeney Switchbacks
0.85 Keep L uphill as trail joins
1.15 Fork, turn hard R
1.6   R on doubletrack (ignore singletrack across road)
1.7   Fork hard L on singletrack
1.8   Fork R uphill (L= to John's at m4.4)
2.0   Keep left onto gravel road uphill
2.7   Saddle, turn L past Town Lift on singletrack
        John's Trail
2.8   Fork, turn R downhill
4.4   Fork R (L=connector from Sweeney's m1.8)
        N 40 38.415' W 111 30.200'
4.85 Cross road to find singletrack
        Gravedigger Trail
5.15  Dump down onto DT, go uphill
5.15  Cross creek onto ST
6.0    Singletrack drops onto road
         Follow road around bend
6.2    Drop down L past water tank
6.9    Pavement. At stop sign, angle across to Park Ave.
         Turn L just past tram on 8th St., becomes Tram Crescent
         At Empire Ave, turn left, follow curve around to trailhead
8.2    Back at car

Getting there: On Park City's main drag, turn towards Park City Mountain Resort. Keep straight on Three Kings, then turn left between parking lots on Lowell Drive. Keep straight past the resort. When you reach the spot where the road turns around in a loop, the doubletrack straight ahead is the trail. N 40 38.785' W 111 30.076'

Mike J. cruises out of deep fir forest.

Riding Resources:
One-page printable riding guide
GPS Track File  (Right-click and "Save as...")
     GPX loop ride (note: track climbs South Sweeney)
     GPX tracks (>35) for area
     Park City area file (>135 tracks)
Topo map for printing:   View map
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to Park City area resources

Copyright 2002 Mad Scientist Software Inc