Winter Trails

Multi-Use Trail Systems of Wasatch Back

The beautiful Wasatch Back, Heber Valley, and west Uintah Range are home to a wide and growing collection of multi-use trails; many available for use in winter by Fat Tire Mountain Bikers (FT), Cross-Country (XC) and Back-Country (BC) skiers and boarders, and snowshoers. Hikers are not allowed to use the groomed trail system as they sink deep into the snow and may ruin the trails. There are groomed roads for winter hiking in most areas. Further, your dogs are welcome to join you as long as you pick up after their mess. Also, no motorized vehicles are allowed other than the machines that make and groom these trails. Let’s take a tour of our trails, starting to the West of the Heber Valley.

Wasatch Mountain State Park Trail System

Wasatch Mountain State Park (WMSP) hosts an amazing collection of rangers, guides, and volunteers to help safely access incredible terrain and geology, including ‘lost mines,’ gorgeous views, rugged roads, and numerous multi-use, all-season trails. Starting at the park headquarters, where folks can rent FT bikes and XC skis, a multi-use summer/winter trail system begins. For beginners, the winter golf course trails and Green all-season trails wind up Snake and Pine Canyons, and offer FT riders, XC and BC skiers the opportunity to practice and test their skills and equipment with little fear of a bad crash.

However, the Green trails are limited and quickly turn into Blue and Black all-season trails. Summer hikers and mountain bikers share the trails, as do winter FT riders, XC and BC skiers, split-boarders, and snowshoers. The longest and most popular trail is the WOW trail, which starts just above the SP Campground and climbs Pine Canyon to the bottom of Bonanza Flats. Most mountain bikers (summer) use a two-car relay system to start at the top and fly to the bottom — a few bent bikes and broken bones have occurred on this challenging path! In winter, the WOW trail is ungroomed, but a few hardcore FT bikers tackle it early before the snow gets too deep, and a few more BC Skiers and Split-Boarders climb the trail then negotiate the WOW and side trails down Pine Canyon in rather dense tree-covered terrain.

About two miles from WMSP HQ/Pond, driving or riding east along Pine Canyon/River Roads, then north up Dutch Hollow Road, is the WMSP Dutch Hollow multi-use, all-season trail system. This is my favorite trail system in the Park, with trail names like Prospector, Donkey Ridge, The Barrell, Boneyard, and 1000 Turns. In summer, the mountain biking here is phenomenal.

Last winter, some friends and I climbed to the top of Burnt Ridge. I was on BC skis while my friends climbed in snowshoes, holding their snowboards. We skied/rode a steep slope down to the parking lot. Pure fun and a great workout! Finally, there are a few trails groomed by residents for FT riders, and the snowshoeing and XC/BC skiing are fantastic back in Dutch Hollow. The longest trail, up Dutch Hollow Road, eventually leads to the intersection of two canyons and a few old silver mines.

Wasatch State Park to Park City and Deer Valley Connector Trail System (In Development)

The Dutch Canyon Trail System in Wasatch State Park will eventually connect via multi-use trails to Park City and Deer Valley. This system will likely utilize routes up Pine Canyon then through Bonanza Flats, and from Dutch Hollow along the foothills west of SR 40 then along the base of the new Mayflower-Deer Valley ski complex and Deer Crest Portal. This will be a non-winter mountain bike trail system, but in winter, a few sections will be accessible on skis and snowshoes, except where they cross ski resort downhill trails.

Mayflower/Deer Valley Resorts Trail System (In Development)

According to a new agreement, and plans in development for winter use, many of these trails will be ski lift-accessed for skiers with passes in winter. Any skier with safety straps or brakes and a pass could use these trails, including Telemarkers (TM) and BC skiers. Snowboarding will not be allowed on Mayflower and Deer Valley properties. In Summer, however, hikers and mountain bikers will have access as they do at Deer Valley Resort’s trail system, using lifts/gondolas to access them. Mayflower will add a lot of new multi-use trails and trail extensions. Some trails here may not require a ski lift pass to access, but which of these will be accessible by FT Mountain Bikers and XC Skiers/Snowshoers during the winter remains to be determined. Currently, the Mid Mountain and other multi-use trails, accessed from parking lots, including the Ontario Mine and Empire/Guardsman Pass Road parking lots, are open for XC/BC skiers and snowshoers without a ski lift pass. However, only a few are groomed in winter for FT Mountain Bikers.

Jordanelle/Coyote Ridge Multi-Use Trail System:  In winter, this is a groomed FT mountain bike, snowshoe, and XC/BC trail system best accessed from a small parking area and Cutthroat Trail Gate at the apex of the Heber City – Francis Road, Hwy 32, south of Jordanelle Reservoir. A multi-use trail around the Reservoir also begins at Rock Springs, SP. However, south of Hwy 32, in the Coyote Ridge or Jordanelle Ridge area, numerous groomed and well-maintained trails provide some of the best biking, snowshoeing, and XC/BC skiing near Heber City.

Big Pole Trail System

Only a few minutes by car or bike from downtown Heber City, the Big Pole trails cater to hikers and bikers in summer and XC/BC skiers and snowshoers in winter. The trails are maintained but not groomed in winter. To get there, take Center Street east from town to Little Pole Road, hang a left, and follow the road a few miles to the Big Pole Trailhead. Located in a private community, parking is limited. Here, as at Jordanelle/Coyote Ridge, an abundance of rugged Keatley Volcanic Epoch lava-mud-rock flows cover the hills — there are various trail options, from under three miles to a 10+ mile loop. All boast incredible views of the Wasatch and Mt. Timpanogos to the west, and once you get to the top of the trails, of the High Uintah Mountains to the east.

Soldier Hollow Trail System

Soldier Hollow also boasts a new, world-class, late Spring-Summer-Fall Mountain Bike trail system that, in many places, intersects their winter Nordic trails. This did not stop them from hosting several FT Mountain Bike races last season, and they are thinking about grooming at least one trail for permanent winter FT riding that steers clear of the Nordic ski tracks. Soldier Hollow has hosted several mountain bike races (in conjunction with NICA and UHSCL, and others) over the past few years and plans to offer several national-level mountain bike races in the future. Besides, with a Soldier Hollow year-round membership, the public can access all their trails all the time, rent E-Mountain bikes if needed, and enjoy this fantastic single-track paradise with its new apres-ski/bike facilities.

Soldier Hollow Trail System, New for 2024

As we’ve seen, the Wasatch Back-Heber Valley-western Uintah mountains offer many excellent multi-use trails, many of which cater to year-round sports. This winter, you might want to rent or buy a Fat Tire Mountain Bike, XC or BC skis, or snowshoes and navigate the trails in Dutch Canyon, Jordanelle/Coyote Ridge, Big Pole, or Soldier Hollow. Let’s, pray for snow and get ready to play outside!

 

VOLUNTEER OR DONATE TO OUR TRAILS IF YOU LOVE YOUR TRAILS

— please consider volunteering and becoming a member. Wasatch Trails Foundation: wasatchtrailsfoundation.org

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