The 5 Best Trail Runs in Park City, Utah September 22, 2015 10:24
By Cole Lehman
Park City is known for its 400+ miles of mountain biking trails, but every runner should have these 5 trail runs on their bucket list These are options for every runner, from beginners to advanced runners. You can choose between a 3.1-mile lunch break run to a singletrack marathon above 8,000 feet. Whatever your choice, a pristine single track run (complete with occasional moose sightings) is in your future. Oh, and don’t forget to stop at High West Distillery or No Name Saloon afterward for a burger and a beer.
With so many trails it’s easy to get lost if you don’t plan your run. Remember to use this online route builder to map out your Park City trail run before you go.
Here are our picks for 5 of the best trail runs in Park City. Have fun!
1. Mid-Mountain Trail
Mid-mountain trail offers some of the most enjoyable trail running in Park City—all of it sitting around 8,000 feet above sea level. The entire trail is high-alpine singletrack heaven. You can plan a 5-mile out-and-back from the Montage at Deer Valley or go for a 20+ mile grindfest and descend at Canyons. We recommend somewhere in between.
One of the best mid-range options is an 11.1-mile run starting at the Montage and descending Armstrong into town at the base of Park City Resort. Plan a shuttle for this run. Leave one car at the trailhead just past the Montage and another at Park City Resort. Starting at Montage, the Mid-Mountain trail climbs through majestic aspens filled with moose and sweeping views. Once you reach the bottom of Armstrong, consider heading to High West for a celebratory burger and beer.
2. Armstrong Trail
Armstrong is one of the newer trails in the Park City trail system and it’s a beautifully graded 4-mile climb. There are rolling sections of up and down, but the general flow of this trail is up—way up. It climbs all the way to the Mid-Mountain trail and makes a perfect entry point to a longer run. If you make it to the top, it’s an 8-mile out-and-back that will take about 1.5-2.5 hours.
Beginning at 6,963 feet, you’ll make your way through loamy pine forests and high-desert rock gardens as you climb. Thanks to the attention put into the grade of the trail, the 1,259 feet of climbing is quite enjoyable. Armstrong is a directional trail for mountain bikers—they can only climb—but you’re able to descend. Combined with the smooth and shady climb, the lack of downhill traffic makes it one of the best trail runs in town.
3. Glenwild Blackhawk Loop
The Glenwild trail system offers many options and is one of the most popular sections of trail in Park City. It holds the first trails to dry out in the spring and the fastest to clear after the first snowfalls. Mostly south facing, the 3.1-mile Blackhawk loop makes for an easy return to training or the perfect lunchtime escape.
From the trailhead, it’s a 300-foot climb up some high-desert switchbacks to a road-crossing. This is a busy trail, so watch out for downhill mountain bikers on your way up. Once you cross the road it’s a gradual climb before you drop into a fun downhill section that you’ll have all to yourself. After the downhill, there’s a gradual climb past a fascinating rocky spine before you descend to your car and get back to work.
4. Round Valley Rambler Loop
Round Valley holds myriad trails with a number of different connection options—giving you choices from a few miles out-and-back to a half-marathon. This makes it one of the most popular areas for trail runners in Park City. Starting at Quinn’s Junction, try the 6.2-mile loop that circles the valley and connects with the Rambler Trail. It’s filled with flowy singletrack and some mellow climbs.
This singletrack loop only has about 300-feet of climbing, making it easier on the legs than many of the Park City trails. But, the Round Valley terrain keeps you entertained by changing back and forth between sand and rocks to loamy forest floors. You’ll love the way this trail rolls up and down throughout the loop, letting you get fully into your zone.
5. Rob’s Trail
You can use Rob’s Trail to connect to Mid-Mountain for a burly adventure or stick to a satisfying 5.2-mile out-and-back with 1,000 feet of climbing. With the ascent spread over only 2.6 miles, it’s not an easy run, but it’s perfect for anyone who loves the uphill or is looking for a new challenge.
Rob’s Trail spends most of the climb switchbacking its way through shady north-facing woods. With sections of soft, piney earth and others that get rocky, the climb doesn’t get boring. Keep an ear open for downhill bikers around every corner as you climb. Eventually you’ll hit a plateau and the trail opens up to the sun. From here it’s a short way to Ambush Trail and Mid-Mountain before you turn around and enjoy the descent.