||Flat Cable to Johns99 Loop
Sweeney's to Flat Cable to Loose Moose to Drift
Road to Apex Connector to Flat Iron to Link to Johns99
to Johns to South Sweeney's
If you've been-there done-that in the Park City area, here's fresh
trail. This nice 12-mile loop has 1800 vertical feet of climbing and hits
some beautiful but less-traveled singletrack. Much is easier-intermediate
in tech requirement, but Sweeney's Switchbacks and Johns Trail are advanced
Typical view as we cruise along
Johns99 northbound. Photos and ride description September 13, 2011 by
|Bottom altitude is 6900 at the Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR)
parking lot. The top is
about 8500 just above Link on the Flat Iron doubletrack. The loop comes
together then diverges again three times. There are plenty of bailout
The ride starts with a short jaunt up Sweeney's Switchbacks, which you can
reach from the PCMR parking area by heading
0.7 miles south on Lowell Avenue. After 0.3 on the doubletrack, fork hard
right uphill on the north Sweeney's Switchbacks. 1/2 mile later, keep left
on Sweeney's as a fork descends toward Park City. At mile 1.6 of the ride,
turn right off of Sweeney's on the trail signed as "To Crescent Mine
View uphill as we begin the climb up
Sweeney's Switchbacks. We'll pass under two ski lifts.
|| Take note: you'll be coming back the other direction on this trail, the only time
you'll repeat any trail section.
The trail will climb around the mountain at a gentle grade. As you
cross ski slopes, there will be views north over Park City.
Flat Cable winds uphill, crossing ski
runs into aspen forest and back again.
|Flat Cable now turns uphill and winds toward the top of the
Alpine Slide. The grade isn't too tough. Look forward to doing this
section in reverse downhill.
The trail comes close to the tracks of
the Alpine Slide. Do you suppose if you paid enough, they'd let you ride
your bike down the half-pipe?
||After passing above the lift for the Alpine Slide, the trail
descends a little bit and crosses a broad ski slope at mile 2.2. You're
approaching a critical fork. (See photo.) Just as you approach the trees,
the return trail forks hard left uphill. Keep straight. The route to the
Crescent Mine Grade forks downhill on the right. Keep straight and
slightly uphill as the tread becomes more faint on old doubletrack.
Approaching the fork where Billy's
Bypass, the CMG connector, and Loose Moose come together.
|You're now on Loose Moose. At first, it seems to be a cruddy
doubletrack of little biking interest. Wait.
Loose Moose follows an old mining grade straight up the hillside. At
first it's southwest, then straight south.
Looking back down Loose Moose as we
||At mile 2.5, Loose Moose turns left to head northeast. After
the next turn (to the right), watch for an upcoming trail fork at mile
2.6. Fork right on the Loose Moose to ski-lift connector. (The left fork
will also take you to Drift Road, but near the bottom. I thought you'd rather
spend more time on singletrack, even if the trail is more obscure.)
Loose Moose crosses a ski slope as we
get closer to Drift Road.
|The connector trail winds through the forest on narrow
track. Some sections have shrubs crowding the path, but overall it's pretty good trail. It
will head through aspen and fir forest for 1/3 mile.
Heading southwest on the connector
between Loose Moose and the mining tailings below the top of Drift Road.
||As the singletrack breaks out of the trees, there's a
navigation challenge. The area here was recently bulldozed, and the trail
hasn't been re-established (as of autumn 2011). Veer gently to the right
across the open area, staying level, then climb gently north toward the
ski-lift building on the ridge. At the top, turn left on the dirt road
and ride uphill to Drift Road at mile 3.4. Keep straight and climb to the open
area west of the lift.
Looking down from Drift Road. Here's
your trail map.
|Aim for the singletrack just below the uphill building. The
trail is signed for Midmountain and Apex. As you reach Midmountain, turn
right (north). Follow Midmountain around to doubletrack and turn left
uphill. Keep straight past the fork where Midmountain turns right. You're
now on Steps. At mile 4.0 as Steps turns right uphill, keep straight and
head into the trees on the Steps to Flat Iron connector called the Riser
On the connector between the first
switchback of Steps and the Flat Iron doubletrack.
||Cross one dirt road (Miner's Mile). The trail will now veer
right onto a doubletrack heading southwest and gently uphill. This is Flat
Follow Flat Iron about a half mile to a 5-way intersection of doubletracks near a ski
lift. Turn hard left downhill toward the lower of the two ski lifts.
Flat Iron. Gentle grade; not exciting.
But you won't be bored for long.
|Keep straight as you pass below the ski lift and find the
Link singletrack heading across the meadow into fir trees. You're now at
Here's the beginning of Link, just
downhill to the left from the end of the Flat Iron doubletrack.
||At mile 5.0, Link arrives at the Midmountain Trail. Keep
right for 50 feet, then fork left off the Midmountain on the continuation
of Link. (You're preserving the same overall direction.) Ignore any
ridiculously steep cheater DH routes that cross or fork off of the trail.
At mile 5.4, Link will end at the beginning of Little Chief and
Johns99. Little Chief continues straight ahead. If you blow through this
marked intersection, you'll find Little Chief to be a beautiful and fun
ride to the Midmountain Trail as it passes the Empire Lodge at Deer Valley. But it's not the way you want to
Zooming through the trees on Link.
There are a few root challenges, but nothing too technical.
|As you complete Link, turn hard left onto Johns99. Here's
one of the best parts of this ride. Johns99 is the old equivalent of the
Midmountain Trail -- a route that holds the same altitude on the mountain
as it follows the contours north-south. It will be slightly downhill as
you head north.
Arriving at the bottom of Link, we
turn hard left to enter Johns99. Photo from the Little Chief trail.
||At mile 6.0, the Empire Link trail will cross. First the
downhill trail comes in from the right. At the fork a few feet later, turn
right to stay on Johns99 as Empire Link keeps straight on the left.
(Empire Link joins lower Tour des Suds to the Midmountain Trail just a
little above you on the mountain.)
On the north slopes, Johns99 is
surrounded by cool and dark fir forest.
|The terrain on Johns99 changes from mixed forest to aspens
to fir forest, then to maples and gambel oak as it reaches dryer areas of
hillside. You'll now be able to see occasional views over the valley on
Hugging the dry side-slope as the
trail zips through tall scrub oak.
||At mile 6.8, Johns99 reaches the dirt King Road. Angle a
little downhill and find the continuing trail on the left side of the
road. (Don't be suckered by the highly-visible trail sign at the top of
Moosehouse a little further down the road on the right.)
Now continue to mile 7.3 as you reach the Silver King mine and veer
uphill to the right. As you reach the ridge (and the entrance to
Midmountain and Steps you saw before), turn right toward the ski lift.
Old mine buildings to the north of
Johns99 as we approach the trail junction where we left Drift Road.
|Pass to the right of the ski lift and climb some rocky
doubletrack. When you're almost to the top, fork right onto John's Trail.
Proceed to rock-and-roll, twist-and-shout, and dodge aspens down the
gnarliest aspen-slalom you've ever seen.
At mile 8.9, keep left as 4:20 forks off on the right. At 9.0, keep
right as the Sweeney's-Johns connector joins. At 9.2, fork left as the
King Road connector forks right. Now keep straight as you enter a piece of
Sweeney's. But as Sweeney's turns hard right, keep straight and climb the
ridge. You're heading to the return limb of Flat Cable on Billy's Bypass.
John's is a fun challenge. Tight
turns, aspen roots. Love it.
||At the Loose Moose fork at mile 9.7, turn hard right to head
for Sweeney's and retrace Flat Cable. As you reach Sweeney's (mile 10.3),
keep straight and climb a little on the uphill-bound Sweeney's Trail.
At mile 10.5, fork downhill to the left on the connector to South
Sweeney's. At 10.7, again fork downhill left on South Sweeney's.
Follow the switchbacks to the bottom. When you see the northern Sweeney's,
keep straight and bomb back to parking.
A tougher section of Sweeney's.
|Riding directions, counterclockwise:
0.0 Leave parking, south on Lowell Ave
N40 39.262 W111 30.508
0.7 As pavement turns, keep straight onto DT
N40 38.784 W111 30.081
1.0 Fork R to Sweeney's N40 38.602 W111 29.901
1.5 Fork L N40 38.788 W111 30.241
1.6 Fork R onto Flat Cable N40 38.722 W111 30.263
2.2 Critical: straight and uphill on Loose Moose
N40 38.572 W111 30.447
2.6 R off Loose Moose onto connector
N40 38.379 W111 30.433
2.9 R across open area, up to lift then left on DT
N40 38.192 W111 30.676
3.4 Straight on Drift Road N40 38.009 W111 30.705
3.5 R on ST toward Midmountain
N40 37.952 W111 30.732
3.6 R on Midmountain N40 37.862 W111 30.892
3.7 L uphill N40 37.907 W111 30.840
3.8 Straight on Steps (R = Midmountain)
N40 37.874 W111 30.916
4.0 Straight on Flat Iron ST connector
N40 37.732 W111 31.083
4.1 Cross DT, then join DT Flat Iron
N40 37.679 W111 30.971
4.7 Downhill L to Link ST N40 37.443 W111 31.265
5.0 Join Midmountain, immediate L on Link
N40 37.500 W111 30.986
|5.4 L on Johns99 N40 37.358 W111 30.804
6.0 Empire joins and splits, R on Johns99
N40 37.580 W111 30.854
6.8 Johns99 downhill across Kings Road
N40 37.830 W111 30.321
7.3 Climb R to ridge, R toward lift
N40 37.893 W111 30.770
Uphill to R of lift N40 37.947 W111 30.694
7.5 R on ST N40 38.016 W111 30.573
8.9 Fork L (R = 4:20) N40 38.414 W111 30.196
9.0 Keep R (L = Sweeney's-Johns connector
N40 38.434 W111 30.210
9.2 L (R = Kings Road connector)
N40 38.497 W111 30.159
9.3 Straight as Sweeney's forks 180 right
N40 38.514 W111 30.253
9.7 R on Flat Cable (the way you came)
N40 38.590 W111 30.433
10.3 Straight on Sweeney's N40 38.718 W111 30.262
10.5 L on connector N40 38.645 W111 30.077
10.7 L on South Sweeney's N40 38.508 W111 29.952
10.8 L (R = King Road connector)
N40 38.471 W111 29.887
11.1 Flirt with homes, L on ST at street
N40 38.507 W111 29.829
11.2 Pass North Sweeney, keep straight
N40 38.599 W111 29.896
12.2 Back at parking
Getting there: In Park City head south on Main Street, following the signs
toward Park City Mountain Resort. At the stop light, turn right on Empire
right on Silver King Drive. As you see the first parking area, turn in
and park there. The trail starts by heading back to the street and riding
south (uphill past the resort) on Lowell Ave.
Bike services: Many in Park City, including
Camping: Recommend Jordanelle Reservoir on US 40.
Water: None on the mountain.