“The best riding is outside the park” is the mountain biker’s version of, “I’m more into their old stuff.” There’s something rewarding about going beyond the ultra-curated network of lift-access trails to find something a little more raw and organic that makes you work a little harder if you want to reach it. And that doesn’t necessarily mean spending all day climbing. The Wasatch Crest offers several relatively convenient shuttle routes that are still plenty demanding. Turns will be earned.
Get on board for a lap with pro rider Eric Porter and filmer Justin Olsen, on a prime afternoon last fall at the 2020 Bible of Bike Tests. Justin is on the Yeti SB165, and Eric is riding his tricked-out Diamondback Mission.
- Distance: 5.8 miles
- Elevation gain: 441 ft.
- Elevation loss: 1,950 ft.
- Trails: Scotts Bypass, Pinecone Ridge, ending at Mid Mountain Trail
The drop-off point is on Guardsman Pass Road at Guardsman Pass Overlook. On the north side of the road, you hop on a singletrack and stay left to keep on Scotts Bypass. It will start off as a functional, if not very exciting, traverse, but when it drops behind a mellow grassy ridge it turns into a Jedi trail with a surface smooth enough to encourage you to go full speed, but trees tight and scattered enough to make you think twice about it. It’s a good warm-up for when it spills you into an intersection at the bottom of Puke Hill, which is where you’ll be doing that earning we talked about.
Once you make it up to the ridge, Puke Hill continues on as Wasatch Crest, but the right turn we take in the video puts you on Pinecone Ridge, which just might bore you of having so much fun. It’s a smooth, rolling, insanely fast traverse that alternates between incredible views and dense forest. Few trails do such a good job of being incredibly fun without really throwing many challenges your way. It truly is a ride, and it stays that way for all of its 4 miles. You’ll spill out at Mid Mountain, which is a trail name that you’ll hear a lot in Park City. It connects the entire valley. From it, you can choose your own adventure down to the nearest pub.
You can see our findings from all of the bikes we rode in Park City by checking out the 2020 Bible of Bike Tests. And as for the rest of the trails, this lap is just one line on a veritable spiderweb of trails. There’s a lot to choose from out there. Have a look at Utah’s mountaintrails.org web app.
Cover Photo: Margus Riga
This article originally appeared on Bikemag.com and was republished with permission.