Wheelin' The Wasatch: Mountain Biking In Utah
As fall approaches, ski and snowboard resorts begin to close down summertime activities in order to get ready for winter. However, the mountain biking season just goes on and on, especially in Utah.
Take a trip to Utah before the snow flies and find some biking gems. The northern Wasatch Range may be off the beaten track, but isn't that what mountain bikers want? Fewer people, less traffic and trails of solitude are what you'll find in the mountains above Ogden at Powder Mountain, Snowbasin, and Nordic Valley. You can get a taste of all three in one day:
- Powder has quietly built a top-notch trail system – highlighted by a large metal sculpture turned wall ride;
- Snowbasin boasts views down upon Salt Lake basin from ridge-running Sardine Trail, plus lift-served riding on weekends.
- Nordic Valley has a limited variety of trails, but they are mostly steep and run deep through the woods. Weekend lift rate is modest $15.
If it's the steeps you seek, head up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Snowbird. Tram takes you to 11,000 feet, and a smorgasbord of downhill trails spread out below. Best challenge is Big Mountain Trail – 7.5 miles for 3,000-foot descent.
Over the divide at Deer Valley, it's lap time on trails specifically designed for downhill action. While each only a mile long, Tsunami and NCI cram in all the elements of modern-day downhilling: rocks and roots and boulder fields, punctuated by naturally banked turns that feed the need for speed.
The slopes of Mount Timpanogos seemed built for knobby-tire excitement, and Sundance Resort takes advantage. Lifts run every day, and all 25 miles of single-track trails are designed for uphill and downhill riding. Getting as many laps as possible is a local test.
And farthest south, Brian Head and Eagle Point are developing their bike parks. At Brian Head, the Timberline trail descent shows what the southern Utah mountain has: gnarly steeps and turns at the 11,000-foot top, successive pitches and flats on a series of benches, and a lower section that is the bike park with features and speed runs.
At Eagle Point, crews have carved out five trails and 11 miles of single track, many across high-country meadows. Unique to Eagle Point is the mountain-top shuttle van that gets riders back to the summit in short order.