Ride Down the Wasatch Crest Trail
Utah › Wasatch Crest Trail
Added by The Outbound Collective
- The trail runs along the high ridge between Big Cottonwood Canyon and Park City, then descends via Mill Creek Canyon
- It's at high altitude, so the riding season starts in July
- Most riders do the Wasatch Crest as a shuttled ride from the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon
- 13 mile shuttled ride from Guardsman Road to the Big Water trailhead in Mill Creek Canyon
There are two popular starting points from Guardsman Road. The lower trail climbs and the higher one trail descends, then they converge at Scott's Pass below Puke Hill. The shuttled ride ends with a pavement rush down Mill Creek Canyon (and a possible detour onto Mill Creek Pipeline on the way down).
But there are two favorite "classic" starting points: (1) 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. (2) There's a doubletrack located at a turn in the Guardsman road. Parking is at roadside. The DT climbs uphill 0.8 miles to Scott's Pass. It's a stiff climb, covering about 450 vertical feet.
At Scott's Pass, take the doubletrack on your left heading uphill. You're now on the way to Puke Hill, the final brute climb to the Crest. It's 350 vertical feet in 1/2 mile, with the steepest part at the highest altitude. The name Puke Hill was not chosen arbitrarily. Take a break at 9900 feet to enjoy the views. On the ridge there will be singletrack to your right. That's Pine Cone Ridge. To continue on the Crest, veer left along the ridge on doubletrack trail. After the second transmission shack, it converts to single track.
The trail rolls up and down, with fabulous views of the granite peaks southward in Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood canyons on your left. Occasionally, you'll see a bit of the Park City area to your right.
- MTB gear
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This is my favorite trail in the Salt Lake area, and I ride it many times a season, as I can go Guardsman to the Park & Ride at the base of Millcreek Canyon in under 90 minutes. Beautiful views of Big Cottonwood Canyon, Millcreek Canyon, and all the fun stuff over on the Park City side of the ridge. I would like to add that there are a couple junctions that you'll want to pay attention to. One is once you've cleared The Spine (very obvious rock section overlooking Desolation Lake). The trail will fork (there's a little wooden sign at the fork, not sure what it says), and you want to stay right, to get up into Millcreek Canyon. If you head left here, you'll end up at the Mill D trailhead in Big Cottonwood Canyon, and not back into Millcreek. Later on in the ride, after this fork, you'll hit a T intersection. Go left. You'll see a sign about bikes not being allowed in Millcreek Canyon on odd days, so you'll know you're going the correct way. If you go right here, you'll end up in The Canyons Resort.
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