As far as views go, it’s hard to top the nearly 12,000-foot summit of Bald Mountain. Jeff Weissman
Park City is nestled in the Wasatch Mountains, and is a short drive away from the Uinta mountains. With two major ski resorts close by and great nightlife, it’s a solid spot for a winter vacation, but there is also world class hiking nearby. Whether you’re looking to hike right from downtown Park City or take the scenic drive to the Uinta mountains, there are great options for any skill level. There are also plenty of family- and dog-friendly trails. From the steep cliffs of Bald Mountain to the convenience of Round Valley, the Park City area truly delivers when it comes to hiking.
1. Lofty Lakes Loop
Distance: 4 miles, round-trip Difficulty: Easy
The Lofty Lake Loop is a classic high-alpine trail that passes three of the Uintas’ beautiful lakes. Make the trek in August and you’ll likely see some gorgeous wildflower scenery in the many meadows you’ll pass. You’ll start at the Pass Lake Trailhead off Mirror Lake Highway, then pass Scout Lake before ascending to Lofty Lake at about 10,850 feet. Kamas Lake is only a short distance after, and there’s great fishing (high-altitude lakes that are frozen most of the year makes for hungry fish!).
2. Round Valley Trail System
Distance: Up to 6 miles Difficulty: Easy
Located right next to Highway 40 and a mere 5-minute drive from downtown Park City, the Round Valley Trail is a local favorite. Park at the Quinn’s Junction Trailhead and choose from any number of options. There’s a classic loop through the rolling hills of sagebrush, and a large network of side trails if you’re feeling adventurous. Bring your pooch, too, because off-leash dogs are welcome.
3. Bald Mountain
Distance: 5 miles, round-trip Difficulty: Hard
As far as views go, it’s hard to top the nearly 12,000-foot summit of Bald Mountain. Located in the High Uintas, this short but steep day hike is challenging but well worth it. The 360-degree views of the High Uintas and Mirror Lake are beyond epic. Park at the Bald Mountain Trailhead and give yourself about 5 hours. Switchbacks ascend past scree fields and up a ridge to the summit. The high elevation means there’s a lot of snow accumulation, sometimes until mid- or late July. It’s also highly exposed to lightning, so check the weather before going and be conservative if you see a storm!
4. Iron Canyon Trail
Distance: 2 miles Difficulty: Medium
The Iron Canyon Trail is located right above the McPolin arm in the Iron Canyon neighborhood, less than 5 minutes from downtown Park City. It’s a quick, steep jaunt through aspens and pines that will take you up to an overlook. Views of Park City and the surrounding ski areas are plentiful. This is a dog-friendly hike, so bring your pet along. Go during mid-September to get panoramic views of the fall colors both on the hike and surrounding Park City from the overlook.
5. Dawn’s Trail
Distance: options for 3.3- or 4.9-mile loops Difficulty: Medium
This trail, named for a local volunteer, was created to provide a shorter hiking option at the base of Park City Mountain. Dawn’s Trail branches off of the Armstrong Trail a little more than a mile up. While the trail is uphill only for bikes, it’s multi-directional for hikers. (The Spiro Trail is popular for cyclists in both directions, making Dawn’s Trail a much better option for hikers.) Starting from the start of Dawn’s Trail, the hike is 3.3 miles; from the base of Park City Mountain, it’s a total of 4.9 miles.
6. Glenwild Loop
Distance: 8.5 miles or a shorter 4-5 mile loop Difficulty: Easy
Located right off the Kimball Junction exit on I-80, the Glenwild loop is a mellow but lengthy loop hike. There are excellent wildflowers in late summer, and beautiful rolling sagebrush throughout. It’s highly sun-exposed, making one of the quickest trails to dry after a storm and one of the earliest to melt out in the spring. Start at the Spring Creek trailhead and take the Stealth Trail until you meet up with the loop, and enjoy great views.
Originally written by RootsRated Media for Visit Park City.