The Beginning of the Wasatch Crest Ride
The worker at Cole Sports said I could use the Spiro Trail as the first leg of my epic Wasatch Crest Ride. The Spiro began less than a half mile from his shop. The other option would be to drive to Guardsman Pass, just up a gravel road above the Deer Valley Resort to the east. He said he preferred to ride right from the shop. I asked him if riding from Park City involved a lot more climbing, to which he said, “Yeah, but not a whole lot more.” He informed me that I would need a shuttle as the Wasatch Crest Trail led to Mill Creek Canyon, which ended in Salt Lake City. He also informed me mountain bikes were allowed on the Mill Creek Canyon Trail only on the even days of the month. This worked out perfect as I had planned on riding it on Friday the 12th of August.
I decided to start the ride in Park City (6,833 feet) as the worker had suggested. However, just a casual glance at my map told me I would need to ride about 6 miles (and 1,500 foot vertical gain) to reach the Wasatch Trail (as opposed to about 1.5 miles and 500 vertical from the parking lot at Guardsman’s Pass).
To help visualize the the Wasatch Crest Trail or to aid in your own ride there, please enjoy this interactive, trail map. Click on Holy Cross for Directions to this ride. Click the icons for info on landmarks, both general and personal to this ride.
View Wasatch Crest Ride in a larger map
So, why begin in Park City? Here are my reasons:
- I didn’t want Cindy to have to haul me up to Guardsman’s pass… and then later drive all the way to Salt Lake City to retrieve me.
- I wanted to see where the Spiro Trail actually started (I’d missed it on my Mid-Mountain ride) and experience the other trails on the way to the Wasatch Crest Trail.
- Most of all, I wanted to be able to say I rode the entire way from Park City to Salt Lake City.
Click below for any part of my Wasatch Crest Ride.
I left the condo by 8:30 as my ride was to be 30+ miles and would require 3000+ feet of vertical gain. I wanted to make sure I could make it before dark even if I had bike problems or lost my way.
This time I rode right to the start of Spiro Trail… it helped that Cindy and I had scouted it out two days before after leaving the farmers market. The Spiro Trail, which starts at 6,940 feet in elevation, was busy… just as was predicted by the rider I’d met two days before on the Crescent Mine Grade Trail. But as I rode the Spiro Trail I could see why so many people used it (instead of the very steep Crescent Mine Grade Road and Trail). The Spiro Trail gains elevation gradually as it winds alternately through spruce and aspen groves, and crosses grassy ski runs on its way up Thaynes Canyon. Unlike my previous ride up the Crescent Mine Grade Road two days prior, not once did I have to walk up the trail or even stop to rest. I did stop to take some photos.
I had taken my picture of Park City and was just in the process of putting my Sony cybernated Shot away when a young girl (early 30’s) followed by an older guy (mid 50’s) rode by. I said hello to both, yet neither said a word. As the fellow was going away from me I said just loud enough for him to hear, “Wow, everybody’s a bit grumpy this morning.”
A half mile or so farther I noticed the “grumpy old man” sitting on a bench at the side of the Spiro Trail. I didn’t see the young girl. I stopped to ask him how he was doing and he said, “Sorry I wasn’t real sociable back there.” I said, “Hey, no problem.” He countered with, “My body is so sore, I can hardly even move.
I’ve been tearing up some flooring and… augh, my knees and back are killing me.” I said something like, “Looked to me like you were moving along pretty well back there.” He said, “Usually I ride better than this.” I left him, saying I hoped he would start to feel better.
Several more riders passed me on their way down the Spiro. As I crept upward my mind finally came up with a scenario for the muted riders. I figured the young lady had come from behind and passed the older guy. He was embarrassed to be passed by a female and was straining to pass her back. The young girl didn’t speak because she was straining not to be passed.Both were competing, therefore… no small talk. I remember the first time I was passed by a girl (on the Lower 401in Crested Butte). I rode as hard as I could for 2 miles, but never caught her. It was humbling.
The Spiro Trail merges with a double track near its end, 3.6 miles from the start. I recognized the Mid-Mountain Trail crossing from my ride two days previous, but wondered if the Powerline Trail did indeed go straight ahead as indicated on my map. There was no sticker on the sign for the Powerline Trail. Right at that time another rider came by and I asked him. He said that the Powerline Trail did indeed go straight.
The Powerline Trail was short (.28 miles), relatively straight, and passed right by a humongous pile of white mine tailings with some kind of structure on top.
The next part of this 30+ mile ride is called Comstock Mine Road. To read more about these mine tailings, about three incredible female mountain bikers, or many other interesting events, please click below.