Wasatch Crest – Millcreek – Oct 2012

Oct. 10, 2012

I took a day off work so that I could ride the Wasatch Crest trail with Jamie.  The weather was almost perfect – a little chilly, but not too bad.

We dropped off Jamie’s car at the mouth of Millcreek Canyon and then proceeded up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the top of Guardsman’s Pass.  Kim dropped us off and returned home.  It was about 57 degrees and it looked like it might rain, so we wore an extra layer of clothing.

We rode from Guardsman’s Pass to the Lower Big Water parking lot in Millcreek Canyon – a total of 13 miles of single track.  We proceeded down the canyon on the paved road, for another 9 miles or so.  We completed the dirt trail in 2 hours and 45 minutes.  We completed the paved road in about 25 minutes.  Here is a GPS track from our ride.

GPS track

The first portion of the trail, Scott’s Bypass, is getting pretty beat up.  Too many people skid their bike tires when slowing down for corners or obstacles, causing braking bumps to form.  And portions of the trail are sloughing off – especially on the switchbacks.

The comes “puke hill”.  My least favorite part of the ride.  I just take my time and walk up the hill.  I wish someone would cut a bypass trail on the Park City side that traverses around the mountain and connects with the Pine Cone trail.  It would sure be nice to have a lower grade trail to reach the summit.

From the summit, the trail basically follows the ridge line northward.  Most of the trail is really nice, but there are a few rocky outcrops and a few hills that force me to get off and walk.

Dee enjoying the smooth trail

Just above Desolation Lake you come to “the spine”.  This is a nasty section of jagged rocks.  Only very advanced riders attempt this section.  I find it challenging to walk down.

Jamie posing on “the spine”

At the base of the spine we stopped for a snack and to enjoy the view.

From here you can choose to go down the Desolation Lake trail (which I did in July), or continue on to Millcreek (or down to the Park City Mid-Mountain trail).  I have not ridden upper Millcreek in about 15 years, so I was anxious to see if it was still fun.

The trail from the Desolation Lake junction to the top of Millcreek was rockier then I remembered, but we soon made it.  The top part of upper Millcreek is kind of rough from braking bumps, but once the trail enters the trees, the trail is amazing.  The trail is reasonably wide and smooth.  It is fun to follow the trail as it winds through the brush and trees.

Late autumn leaves in upper Millcreek Canyon

The trail eventually tees into the Big Water trail, which took us down to the pavement.  13 miles of mostly great trail.  Some technical challenges (especially at over 9000′ elevation), but a lot of flowing single track.

The ride down the canyon was also enjoyable.  The autumn leaves in the late afternoon sunshine added to the experience.  We arrived at the car a little faster than we expected.  We were both tired, but excited about the fun ride.

About gardinerfamilyadventures

A really great family!
This entry was posted in Favorite Rides, Mountain biking, Utah - Northern and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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