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Lost Prospector Loop

The Lost Prospector Loop is an easy route on Park City's east side. The loop starts on paved Park City trail, transfers to buff easy singletrack on the side of a small mountain, then descends to the Rail Trail. This 7.8-mile loop has a beginning altitude of 6800 feet, with a peak of only 7100. 

Looking across the valley at Park City Mountain Resort. Photos July 8, 2002 by Bruce.

Taken counterclockwise, much of the climb is actually on pavement. This loop is easy-intermediate technical, easy aerobic.

This ride is a good introduction to dirt for those who are just starting, or aren't in the best of shape. But it's also a good quick "off-day" hammer-down ride for advanced bikers. A conditioned rider can complete this loop in around an hour. Its low altitude means this trail clears of snow a few weeks earlier than the trails west and south of Park City.

View northeast on an early section of the trail, heading through brush and gambel oak. Most of the trail is smoother than this.

The singletrack begins in gambel oak and brush. The trail is wide and smooth, fairly flat, and has gentle turns. As it curves around to the mountain's north side, you ride through quaking aspen and maples, with tall wildflowers. Lupine, delphinium, penstemmon, thimbleberry, and columbine form a thick, tall carpet.

The trail winds around to the northern hillside, where trees include maples and aspen. The trail gets smoother and the air a bit cooler.

As the trail begins its descent to the Rail Trail, you'll ride a few switchbacks. These aren't particularly tight or tricky, and the surface is smooth. Most early-intermediate riders will be able to roll these switchbacks without touching down.

The trip back is on the smooth Rail Trail. This is the view if you're going clockwise. The singletrack that climbs the mountain is on the right, just before this bridge.

Ride notes, counterclockwise loop:
0.0    Right (west) out of the parking lot
0.25  L on sidewalk
0.3    At crosswalk, cross street to paved trail
0.5    Keep straight at fork
1.4    Fork L, up to traffic roundabout
         U-turn to head north downhill on Deer Valley Dr.
1.8    Turn R uphill on Aerie Drive
1.95  Small parking lot on R, N 40 39.034' W 111 29.811'
         Singletrack across the street (on L)
2.1    Trail merges from L (advanced tech trail)
         Keep straight
2.75  Crossing, keep straight (R) (L=advanced)
3.2    Fork L  (R=to Gambel Oak)
         N 40 39.431' W 111 30.004'
3.9    Cross doubletrack
4.1    Trail in from R, then fork. Go R uphill
4.85  Fork R, straight (L downhill = SOS)
5.35  Fork R downhill onto Skid Row
6.25  At Rail Trail, turn left
7.8    Back at Prospector trailhead
Alternate loop: At the fork where you descend to the Rail Trail on Skid Row, you can also go right, climbing uphill through a couple of switchbacks to a paved road on top of the mountain. From here, you can blunder your way downhill through several street intersections to the Solamere Connector, then over the mountain to Gambel Oak. Many riders choose to do this loop, rather than the "official" loop using the Rail Trail and Park City Town Trail. Follow someone who knows the way, or get a town trail map.
Getting there:  On Park City's Main Street, turn left onto Kearns Blvd., as though you were heading to US 40. About 1/4 mile later, turn right on Bonanza Drive. At the "Rail Trail" sign about 200 feet later, turn left onto Prospector Avenue, then right into the parking lot for the Rail Trail. The trail is at the far (south) end of the parking lot. N 40 39.684' W 111 29.894'
Riding resources:
One-page riding guide
GPS Track File  (Right-click and "Save as...")
      Loop w Rail Trail/Skid Row    GPX loop upper mountain 
      Multi-track Park City area file
Topo map for printing:   View map
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to Park City area resources

Copyright 2002 Mad Scientist Software Inc