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Gambel Oak Loop

The Gambel Oak is a short but fun loop around a small mountain on the east side of Park City. Except for crossing two paved roads, it's all singletrack. This 4-mile loop starts at 7050 feet, climbing to a peak altitude of 7550.

View of the southern tip of Park City, seen from the Gambel Oak trail. Photos July 8, 2002 by Bruce.

Although there are some easy sections, the loop has two miles of narrow twisting trail in tight trees, earning the trail an overall advanced tech rating. Aerobically, it's not too tough.
The Gambel Oak trail itself is a short and fairly easy climb up a small mountain covered by clusters of gambel oak among the brush. For riders wanting easier stuff, it's possible to drop south on the Solamere Connector trail from the top of Gambel Oak, then return by road to the trailhead.

True to its name, the Gambel Oak trail climbs a hillside covered with gambel or Utah oak.

The loop is formed by adding a couple of miles of narrow advanced-technical trail around the mountain, joining with an alternate higher-tech trail that runs near the easy Lost Prospector trail. After dropping from the ridge over several switchbacks, you encounter roots, bumps, and tight squeezes on a trail that's constantly turning, climbing, and dropping.

From the back side of the mountain, looking towards US-40 and Round Valley.

On the east side of the mountain, gambel oak gives way to maples and aspens, with choke cherry and elderberry. Large thimbleberry plants, ferns, columbine, sticky geranium, delphinium, and lupine make this area a visual delight.

On the northern side of the hill, the narrow trail twists through tight spaces, over roots and rocks. Here we're looking north as the trail rolls through maple forest.

After joining the Lost Prospector trail, you have the option of continuing a more technical singletrack, or riding the smooth machine-cut Lost Prospector. The trails interweave through the final mile. (Our map assumes you will be riding the more technical version.)

Ride notes, counterclockwise loop:
0.0   Ride road 150 ft uphill, hard R on ST
0.15 Fork R under power line
0.6   L uphill at faint fork
0.7   Road, trail downhill 150 ft across road
        N 40 38.803' W 111 29.346'
1.6   Trail in from L (Solamere), keep straight
        N 40 39.088' W 111 28.937'
1.75 Cross wide trail, keep straight
2.9   Fork, keep straight (L)
        (R drops down to Lost Prospector)
3.3   Join Lost Prospector, fork R 30 ft later
        N 40 39.431' W 111 30.004'
3.75 Cross Prospector, forking L
3.95 Hard L onto Prospector downhill
4.05 At parking
Photo above:  Result of trees hugging the sides of a narrow tricky trail. Better bring the full-fingered gloves!
Getting there: On Park City's Main Street, turn left to head to Deer Valley. About 1/4 mile after the red light where Bonanza Drive joins Deer Valley Drive, watch for a street on the left, just before a long brick retaining wall. This is Aerie Drive. Go uphill 0.15 mile to a small parking spot on the right side of the street, N 40 39.034' W 111 29.811'. The Lost Prospector trail is across the street. If you're doing the counterclockwise loop, the singletrack to Gambel Oak is up the road about 150 feet on the right.
Riding resources:
One-page riding guide
GPS Track Files  (Right-click and "Save as...")
      GPX Gamble Oak Loop    Gamble-Solamere Loop
      Lost Prospector upper Loop  Park City multi-track area file
Topo map for printing:   View map
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to Park City area resources

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