Mountain bike destinations are as varied as mountain bikers. Some places are a downhiller’s paradise, while others are best for goat-like climbers. Park City, Utah, is one of those rare gems that has a little something for everyone. The spot is so varied and accommodating, in fact, that it is the only place in the world named as a Gold Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA).
Using a strict set of criteria, areas are selected for Ride Center recognition on an invitation-only basis by the IMBA staff. If selected, the area will receive a bronze, silver, or gold Ride Center status. Of the 11 different IMBA-ranked ride centers worldwide, Park City is the only one to have achieved the gold medal recognition.
“What makes Park City so unique for mountain biking is its diversity in all things, ” explains Scott House, the events and social media director for Park City-based JANS Outdoor Guides and Retailing as well as White Pine Touring, in an interview with Grindtv.com. “Our trail system is great for beginners all the way up to experts. With all three resorts—Park City, Deer Valley, and Canyons—offering lift access, it is easy to get on the mountain. Deer Valley and Canyons also operate dedicated bike parks. You don't need a car to ride in Park City; every trailhead is accessible on your bike or via free public transportation. You can run downhill laps all day on the free bus without touching a chair lift.”
Heck, with two lift-served bike parks, three mountains offering lift-accessed riding, a public dirt jump facility and separate skills park, and miles of singletrack, the only thing we’re trying to figure out it when we can go check it out ourselves.
Where: Park City, Utah
Elevation: 7,000 feet at Main Street; ranges from 6,500 to 10,000
Weather: Highs average between 78 and 87 degrees from June to September.
Getting here: Park City is 32 miles southeast of downtown Salt Lake City, just a little ways off Interstate 80. A hub for Delta Air Lines, Salt Lake City International Airport is easily accessible from most North American cities.
Don’t miss: Tour des Suds on September 15. Climbers will not want to miss the always fun 7-mile mountain bike hill climb from City Park to the top of Guardsman Pass, a 2,700-foot elevation gain. Now in its 33rd year, the Tour des Suds encourages participants to wear crazy costumes and some even ride crazy bikes. To learn more or register visit http://www.mountaintrails.org/.
Eat: The food in Park City doesn’t have to depend on the size of your wallet, but foodies can drop coin like they’re in New York with top-rated Zagat restaurants all over town.
Off the saddle: On the days you feel like resting your legs, there is still plenty to do in Park City. Check out the many golf, paddle boarding, spa, sailing, fly fishing, and other outdoor opportunities. In the summer the town also offers free concerts three evenings a week.