The Wasatch Crest Trail runs along the high ridge between Big Cottonwood Canyon and Park City, then descends via Mill Creek Canyon. This is a very popular and well-traveled trail. Because it's at high altitude, the riding season starts in July. There are many ways to enjoy this great trail.
Most riders do the Wasatch Crest as a shuttled ride from the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon. There are two popular starting points from Guardsman Road. (See below for more detrails.) The lower trail, the Wasatch Crest Connector doubletrack, climbs to Scott's Pass. The higher Scott's Bypass singletrack trail descends from higher on the mountain. The two options converge at Scott's Pass below Puke Hill. The shuttled ride ends with a pavement rush down Mill Creek Canyon (or more dirt Mill Creek Upper Pipeline and classic lower Pipeline plus Rattlesnake BST on the way down).
There are other ways to ride the Crest. Hardbodies can climb from Mill Creek Canyon's Big Water trail and ride the Wasatch Crest as a 20-mile out-and-back or as a loop with Midmountain (Upper Mill Creek trails are open to bikes only on even-numbered days!) You can also reach the Crest by climbing Mill D North Fork , which hooks in above Desolation Lake.
You can also get there from Park City for an out-and-back or loop. Any climbing route to Midmountain can get you to the Wasatch Crest. Pine Cone Ridge connects directly to Puke Hill at the south end of the Crest. You can reach Scott's Pass via the Shadow Lake Trail or connect to Scott's Bypass via Dead Tree (see the Scott's Bypass Loop page). You can also reach Guardsman Road from Deer Valley .
Hardcore riders combine the Wasatch Crest with the Midmountain trail for a long loop. There are many variations ! Most riders do a clockwise loop, descending the Crest. At the northern (lower) end of the Crest, the Crest Connector connects to the Midmountain Trail just north of Red Pine Lodge of The Canyons. At the southern end of the Crest, there are several connection routes from Midmountain of varying difficulty and complexity. The most direct route is Pine Cone Ridge .
You can do a loop on the Cottonwood side. This is a good option on odd-numbered days, when Mill Creek is closed to bikes. Park at Reynolds Flat and bike uphill on the Big Cottonwood Road, then Guardsman Road. Hit the Crest, then after The Spine drop down the trail to Desolation Lake Trail to the Mill D North Fork. (Intersection of the Crest with the Desolation Lake trail is GPS N 40° 39.508' W 111° 35.756'.)Looking toward the mouth of Big Cottonwood.
(1) Scott's Bypass. Go all the way to the Guardsman Pass parking lot and take Scott's Bypass trail. Scott's Bypass is 1.4 miles, descending 200 vertical feet (with a bit of climbing in the middle). The singletrack ends at Scott's Pass above Shadow Lake. Because there's room to unload and turn around, this is the starting point for the commercial shuttles.
Wasatch Crest Mountain Bike Trail
An optional descent is the Mill Creek Meadows trail, found 0.5 miles from the Mill D North Fork intersection. It's an unmarked trail fork 0.1 miles from the transition between Big Cottonwood and Mill Creek. This trail is 2 miles and shortens the overall ride by about a mile.
An older video from the camcorder era...
0.0 From parking, find DT (north uphill)
N40 36.409 W111 33.291
0.1 Veer L onto ST (Scott's Bypass)
1.4 Drop to Scott's Pass
N40 36.992 W111 33.511
Straight across, uphill on DT
(L = down to road, R = Shadow Lake)
1.9 Puke Hill N40 37.264 W111 33.731
Go L (R = Pine Cone Ridge)
5.8 The Spine N40 39.354 W111 35.708
N40 39.508 W111 35.756
7.7 View on R N40 40.842 W111 36.144
8.3 Keep L (R = Crest Connector)
N40 41.219 W111 36.083
9.2 Keep L (R = Red Pine Rd Trail)
N40 41.029 W111 36.901
11.3 Straight N40 40.685 W111 38.486
(L = Dog Lake, R = Little Water)
13 Parking N40 41.082 W111 38.905
Guardsman Road drop-off points: Leave a shuttle vehicle below the mouth of Mill Creek Canyon. (Not in the residential areas, please!) Now drive to Big Cottonwood Canyon (Wasatch Blvd and 72nd South). Pass Solitude Resort (at about 15 miles). Just before you reach Brighton Resort, the road to Guardsman Pass turns off on your left. At 0.8 miles, you'll see a red metal gate. Exactly one mile later (1.8 miles from the fork in the road), you'll see a dirt road on the left. GPS N 40° 36.817' W 111° 33.532'. This is the first option to start your ride. Note that parking along the road is no longer allowed. This is a drop-off only. (There's a second -- closed -- gate about 100 yards up the road. Just pack your bike around the gate and continue.) Another mile up Guardsman Road, you'll reach the summit. There's a wide area here at the roadside, but it's not for parking. Again, it's drop-off only. The doubletrack on the north is the trail. Drop off the doubletrack about 0.1 mile later to start the singletrack Scott's Bypass.
Pine Creek/Bonanza Flat trailhead: On the Guardsman Road two miles from Guardsman Pass (and about 1/2 mile west of Empire Pass) turn downhill into the trailhead. From this trailhead, your options are (1) ride two miles west to Guardsman Pass and Scott's Bypass trail or (2) take Charlie's 9K trail 5 miles to Blazing Saddles to reach Scott's Pass. The connector to the 9K trail is across the road from parking. It's around 0.7 miles up to the 9K trail, which you'll find on the opposite side of a doubletrack on the ridge.
Park City epic loops: For real hammerheads, consider riding the Wasatch Crest from Park City. Starting spots include Rob's Trail, The Canyons (Ambush), Park City Mountain Resort (Crescent Mine Grade, Spiro, Armstrong), Sweeney/Johns, and Deer Valley's Silver Lake Lodge. Climb to the Wasatch Crest, ride it, then drop back to the Midmountain trail at the fork above Mill Creek Canyon. See the Wasatch Crest - Midmountain Loop Trail page.
GPS track files and route (right-click and "Save as..."):
GPX Classic Crest Guardsman Rd
GPX Classic via Scott's
Scott's plus Pipeline descent
Scott's to Red Pine Rd Tr
Mill Creek "Reverse Crest" Loop
Mill Creek out-and-back
Epic Mill-D-Road-Crest-Dog Lake
Mill-D-Desolation-Dog Lake Loop
Mill-D-Road-Crest-Down Mill D North
Tracks ncluding Mill D N, Dog Lake GPX
Multi-track Park City loop rides
GPX Inter-canyon Connections Parleys to Provo
High-res topo (900 KB): View
Topo maps of loop via Park City: High-Res
Lodging, camping, shops:
Links to northern SLC resources
Links to Cottonwood canyon resources