Take a stroll in the snow on these beautiful Park City trails. Image courtesy of Kurt Bauschardt.
DISTANCE: Trip distance varies
DIFFICULTY: 1 out of 5
TIME TO COMPLETE: 1-3 hours for an average outing
DOG FRIENDLY: Yes, depending on location
DESTINATION HIGHLIGHTS: Quick workout, great for families, great for dogs
While snowshoeing looks easy—and it is, from a learning standpoint—you'll find that tramping through snow will get the heart-rate up. Of course, you could opt for groomed trails, which isn't much more strenuous than a typical hike. Park City has hundreds of miles of trail to explore, many of them groomed by the Mountain Trails Foundation. Trail maps, grooming reports, and snow conditions are available on the Mountain Trails website.
WHAT MAKES IT GREAT
Those with their own snowshoes can take advantage of non-motorized, recreational trails overseen by the Mountain Trails Foundation. More than 50K of those are groomed for cross-country skiing, and an increasing number of singletrack trails are being used each year by fat tire bikers, trail runners, and snowshoers. The nice thing about snowshoes, of course, is that you can use them just about anywhere, whether the trails are groomed or not. Some favorites around Park City include the McLeod Creek Trail, a flat, four-mile trail with several access points near town. It's a nice route for beginners looking for a scenic route that isn't too strenuous. Rob's Trail is another popular spot, which means that the trail is usually packed down fairly quickly after a snowfall. Snowshoeing among the evergreens and aspens—with some spectacular views abound—make for a great Park City snowshoe experience.
Those visiting Park City without snowshoes have several options. All Seasons Adventures offers guided trips at numerous locations in the area, depending on skill level and interest. The trip includes free transportation to the trails from anywhere in Park City, a guide to lead the way, and equipment.
Destination Sports and Adventures offers access to its 9,000-acre ranch, filled with rolling hills and snow-capped aspens. Consider a Snowshoe Sunset Tour, during which you'll get to see the sunset and the town light up. The walk back in the dark (with provided head lamps) is a fun and unique way to experience the area.
Exclusive Excursions is another outfitter that can help you plan a snowshoeing trip. You have several options around Park City, or take a guided trip to the more remote Sundance Wilderness area, where a guide will take you through the mountain terrain that features a great view of the nearly 12,000-foot tall Mount Timpanogos.
Park City Yoga Adventures offers a unique trip that combines both snowshoeing and yoga. Start with a two-hour snowshoe trip on area trails before following it up with an hour of yoga in the studio. It also offers a high altitude trek at the Blue Sky Ranch, which features snowshoeing and yoga practiced in a mountain yurt.
Utah State University runs the Swaner Preserve and Eco Center, which protects more than 1,200 acres of open space, a historic farm, and a variety of wildlife habitats. It also features nearly 10 miles of trails that are open to the public for snowshoeing in the winter. Take advantage of its snowshoe tours (some held under the moonlight) to get learn more about the property.
If you're looking to rent snowshoes without a guided service, the White Pine Touring Center is a great option (and it has guided tours as well if that interests you). Other options include renting from Jans Mountain Outfitters and Silver Star Ski & Sport, both in Park City.
WHO IS GOING TO LOVE IT
Anyone who enjoys a peaceful trip in the outdoors, and wants to some exercise while enjoying the winter landscape at his or her own pace. Hire a guide and learn more about the Park City area in the natural setting. Either as a group activity or a solitary pursuit, snowshoeing is a great way to explore the area.
DIRECTIONS, PARKING, & REGULATIONS
Check specific trails for information, but most feature free parking and easy access. For those trails that serve cross-country skiers, be sure to avoid the parallel tracks designed for skis specifically. Check trail information before you leave to be sure dogs are permitted if you plan on bringing your pet.
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