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Bowhunter Loop
via Team Big Bear and Flagstaff Loop

This ride is unique among Park City's many offerings. It features views over 360 degrees of the mountain peaks of the Wasatch and Uintah Mountains. The short version starts at Deer Valley's upper Silver Lake Lodge. It's 10.6 miles round trip, with 1000 vertical feet of climbing starting at 8100 feet elevation.

View to the southwest as we begin the trip around the mountain at 9000 feet on the Bowhunter Trail. Ride, photos, and GPS track 9/2/2011 by Bruce.

The longer version of this ride starts at the Snow Park (lower) Deer Valley lodge and climbs Deer Crest to the upper lodge. Add 3.2 miles each way and another 900 vertical feet of climbing. Your total ride will be 17 miles.

Navigation through the multiple trails in the area can be challenging. I suggest using a GPS track, so the display can tell you if your bike is wandering off onto a sucker fork.

We've just left the easy Midmountain trail and are pedaling in deep fir forest past some interesting wooden construction on Team Big Bear.

This ride is for upper-intermediate bikers. The climb up Team Big Bear is a bit on the technical side and semi-steep at 400 vertical feet per mile over the first mile.

Bowhunter itself is a very narrow ribbon of trail on a side-slope, requiring good handling skills. The slope isn't dangerous, but you've got to aim the bike straight to keep in the 10-inch groove.

The climbing surface for Team Big Bear is a little more technical than Tour des Suds, with tighter turns, steeper grade, and more bumpy stuff in the trail.

From the Silver Lake Lodge, look for a broad path on the right, heading downhill to an underpass. Coast downhill, and as soon as you pass below the road, veer left onto singletrack. You're now on the Midmountain Trail.

We're nearing the shoulder of the hill on Team Big Bear.

After 0.7 miles on Midmountain, keep left and uphill as the lower Tour des Suds drops away. Keep uphill at two more (unmarked as of 2011) trail forks. At mile 1.4, fork L uphill onto Team Big Bear.

Climb at a moderate pace on slightly-technical surface for a mile. When the trail reaches the edge of a gravel road, keep straight and continue on singletrack.

As Team Big Bear heads into the flats east of Flagstaff Mountain, we can see Silver Lake Lodge below us.

At mile 2.8, you've reached the fork for the Flagstaff Loop. You'll head out on one trail, return on the other. Go either way. Let's go right. (That's what the track file says.) Stay on Flagstaff. A new 2011 trail "Ruby Lift Road" enters on the left as you cross doubletrack. Stay right. At another subtle fork, keep left on the main trail.

The map. Get a current one at a Park City bike shop. If you're not following a GPS track (or even if you are), you'll find the map a necessity. Many intersecting trails, new trails popping up all the time, and lots of trail forks without signs.

The Ruby Lift Road trail will rejoin after a mile or so. At mile 3.9, keep straight and head uphill past the return limb of the Flagstaff Loop. Deer Camp will join on your left. As you crest the rise, veer left at a trail fork at mile 4.3. This is Bowhunter. Cross the doubletrack and head south around the mountain.

The Flagstaff Loop has little elevation change. It's a fun cruiser.

At mile 4.7, the trail dumps onto doubletrack for a few feet. Watch for the continuing trail on your left. If you begin to descend on doubletrack, you went too far.

On the far side of the mountain, you'll come into a complex of trail intersections at mile 5.6. Keep left on the trail signed for Ruby Lift Road. At mile 5.9, you're back at the original Bowhunter loop fork.

Typical Park City terrain. Aspen, fir, ferns and wildflowers.

Head downhill toward the intersection with the Flagstaff Loop. When you reach it, turn right at mile 6.3 onto the return limb of the loop. Keep straight as two trails fork off to Deer Camp on your right.

We've popped out of the forest onto the ridgeline west of Bald Mountain. We'll head up and to the left to reach Bowhunter.

The Ruby Lift Road trail will join you after a half mile. Keep straight. A little bit later, keep right again as the Ruby Lift Road trail forks left uphill. Just after you cross a dirt road at mile 6.9, the trail splits. Go right. (The trail on the left is a shortcut.) At the next fork, the shortcut rejoins. Go right again.

Starting out southbound on Bowhunter, as a tiny ribbon of trail hugs the sideslope.

At mile 7.8, keep right as you reach Team Big Bear again. Retrace your route back to the Silver Lake Lodge.

At the south end of the mountain at 9100 feet, we see Cascade Mountain and Timpanogos on the skyline.

For the longer (17-mile) ride:
Navigating from the lower (Snow Park) lodge is more complicated. If you aren't familiar with the trail system, you'll need a GPS track. Or a guide. Or a current Park City trails map, an odometer, and a sense of adventure. But here goes.

A few patches of twisted aspen cling to the slope.

To the right of the lodge, head uphill on the dirt lift road. Above the lift, veer L across the meadow and climb the singletrack by the log fence. Do a 180 right turn (south). Now a 180 left toward the Deer Crest trail system. As you reach The Gap, switchback up the hill to Deer Crest and head south. When you reach doubletrack on the ridgeline, keep straight until you pick up singletrack again.

On the east side, we're looking down at Jordanelle Reservoir. The peaks of the Uintah Mountains form the skyline.

When the trail drops onto a paved road, cross to the dirt road opposite and slightly uphill. Follow the dirt path to the ski lift south of the lodge. Veer right across the grass and look for the underpass that marks the start of the Midmountain trail.

Almost to the end of Bowhunter. The trail ends at the intersection where the route down from the lift on Bald Mountain hits Homeward Bound and Naildriver. If you don't want to hit the second half of the Flagstaff Loop, consider a plunge down one of these trails.

Short ride, from Silver Lake (upper) Lodge:
0.0   R downhill on DT, aim for underpass
        N40 37.284 W111 29.326
0.1   L on singletrack (Midmountain Trail)
        N40 37.267 W111 29.330
0.7   Keep L uphill (R = lower Tour des Suds)
        N40 37.146 W111 29.754
1.0   Keep L uphill N40 37.177 W111 29.842
1.4   L uphill on Team Big Bear N40 37.111 W111 30.155
2.4   Keep straight (don't go onto road)
        N40 36.894 W111 30.031
2.8   Keep R (Flagstaff Loop) N40 36.768 W111 29.880
3.1   Keep R N40 36.537 W111 29.969
3.9   Keep R (straight) N40 36.121 W111 29.586
        (L = Flagstaff second part of loop)
4.2   Keep L (R = Deer Camp)
        N40 36.298 W111 29.463
4.3   L on smaller trail (Bowhunter)
        N40 36.338 W111 29.361
4.4   Cross DT N40 36.255 W111 29.350
4.7   Join DT, rapid L off DT on ST 
        N40 35.945 W111 29.401
5.6   90-degree L on Ruby Lift Road trail
        N40 36.322 W111 29.094
5.9   Back on original trail, retrace
6.3   R on Flagstaff return path N40 36.121 W111 29.586
6.8   Keep R (L = Ruby Lift Road trail)
        N40 36.537 W111 29.877
6.9   Keep R N40 36.574 W111 29.895
7.5   Keep R N40 36.605 W111 29.889
7.8   Keep R on Team Big Bear N40 36.768 W111 29.880
9.2   L on Midmountain  N40 37.111 W111 30.155
10.6 Back at lodge
Getting there:  In Park City, follow the signs toward Deer Valley Resort. Just after the road divides, the parking lots come into view. If you're going to the lower (Snow Park) lodge, continue through the curve past the lodge then turn into the parking area. The ride will start on the far left side of the lodge near the lift. Go uphill on the dirt doubletrack about 150 yards, then turn left to cross the ski slope. Enter the singletrack that climbs north uphill along the wooden fence.

To get to the upper (Silver Lake) lodge, turn left on Royal Drive just after the road divides -- before you actually see the Snow Park lodge. Drive 4 miles uphill, following the signs. When you come to a parking lot on your right, surrounded by tall buildings, pull in. From the lot, angle southeast between buildings until you arrive at a wide open area. Your ride will start by aiming right, coast downhill to below the underpass. As you pass under, turn left onto singletrack. This is the Midmountain Trail.

Bike services, water, bathrooms are near the lift by Silver Lake Lodge.

Riding resources:
One-page riding guide
GPS Track File  (Right-click and "Save as...")
    GPX short loop ride   Track for Deer Crest climb
    Multi-track file, Park City area    Bowhunter area
Topo map for printing:   View map
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to Park City area resources

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