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Midmountain to Johns99 Loop

This is an easier ride, suitable for experienced beginners. Unlike a lot of Park City's riding, there are no gut-busting climbs. This ride is as flat and mellow as anything you'll find during your Park City trip. It's 10 miles in length, forming a lariat shape. There's about 1000 vertical feet of total climbing, but it occurs gradually on both outbound and return trips.

For an even-shorter ride, you could drive up SR 224 and park just above the Empire Canyon lodge at the roadside parking. This would cut your distance down to 6.4 miles.

View down the trail on Johns99 as we cruise through the aspen forest. Photos September 15, 2011.

This ride starts with the easiest four miles of the Midmountain Trail -- the southern end that begins at Deer Valley's upper (Silver Lake) lodge. And less-strong riders can drive the 1000 vertical feet that gets you up to the Midmountain Trail.

At the lodge parking, pedal to the ski lifts. Now look to the right. See the underpass? Pedal downhill, pass under, then immediately veer left onto singletrack trail. You're on the Midmountain.

Midmountain is crossed frequently by ski slopes from Deer Valley, Park City, and The Canyons. These breakouts give you nice views.

Ignore any branching trails, whether marked or unmarked, to stay on Midmountain. (New trails joined this section of Midmountain in 2011.) In general, if there isn't a trail sign, just stay on the most-traveled and flattest trail. At 1.7 miles, you'll cross the paved Guardsman Road (SR 224).

Crossing of SR 224, a bit past the Tour des Suds fork. This is an alternate trailhead, as there's parking on the road just uphill from the trail.

Continue past Empire Lodge under the ski lifts. Stay level and left in a rough eroded area where Little Chief joins (that's your return trail).

Pedal on, again keeping on the "flat and straight" trail, which will be the Midmountain. The trail will cross a gravel road at mile 4.3, then curve slowly to the right. At mile 4.7, as you head gently downhill, the Midmountain forks up to the left. Notice the tracks going straight? That's your trail.

Looking east at Empire Canyon Lodge. Above the lodge, the Guardsman Road (SR 224) heads uphill. Just around the corner is parking and the Midmountain Trail crossing.

Zoom downhill. When you reach a broad dirt saddle (just before the ski lift), turn downhill and left -- toward the mine building. Now veer a little to your right to enter singletrack heading toward the trees. You're now on Johns99.

We're reached the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort and have dropped off Midmountain onto Johns99. We're looking north at an old mine building just below Johns Trail.

When you hit the dirt road (King Road), go a few feet uphill to your right to find the continuing doubletrack. (The prominently-marked trail downhill to your right is Moosehouse -- not the way you want to go it you're looking for an easy ride.)

There are a few spots where Johns99 has some root-hops, rocks, and quick turns, but overall it's a pretty nice cruise.

The next trail fork is where Empire Link crosses at mile 6.0. Turn left downhill as the trails join, then keep right uphill on Johns99 as Empire Link drops downhill to the left.

At mile 6.7, Link joins from uphill on your right, and Johns99 turns into Little Chief. Keep straight. Little Chief is narrower than the trails you've been riding so far.

In the area near the Empire Link crossover, Johns99 enters dark thick conifer forest.

After passing Ore Cart (coming in from downhill on your left), Little Chief will begin to climb through some switchbacks. The slope is fairly mellow, and the turns aren't tricky. Beginners can just slow down or take a few breaks. The climbing doesn't last long, as you'll reach Midmountain at mile 7.5.

We're now on Little Chief. It's a little narrower, and the ferns and bushes may grab at your pedals if you bobble.

Now it's just a couple of cruising miles back to the Silver Lake Lodge at Deer Valley.

Easy ride, very scenic. One of the best beginner-level rides in Park City. But it won't disappoint experienced riders at all. True beginners would probably want to do a portion of Midmountain as an out-and-back. The Johns99 to Little Chief return on the loop portion has some narrower trail, and a few roots to navigate. Plus more climbing.

On the switchbacks of Little Chief, climbing through lush berry bushes toward Midmountain.

Riding notes, clockwise loop:
0.0   Go past lodge to lifts, left downhill below overpass
        Immediately veer left onto ST N40 37.267 W111 29.330
0.8   Keep L uphill (R=Tour des Suds)
        N40 37.145 W111 29.754
1.0   Keep L uphill N40 37.179 W111 29.844
1.4   Level and straight N40 37.110 W111 30.157
        (L uphill = Team Big Bear, R downhill = to lift)
1.6   Straight (R) N40 37.025 W111 30.397
        (L = Tour des Suds)
1.7   Cross Guardsman Road N40 36.979 W111 30.451
2.0   Keep R (L uphill = from TG) N40 36.821 W111 30.598
2.2   Cross DT N40 36.882 W111 30.770
2.3   Keep L (R = Little Chief) N40 36.948 W111 30.827
3.1   Straight (L = TG) N40 37.517 W111 30.932
3.2   Keep level N40 37.494 W111 30.990
        (R down = Link, then L up = Link)
3.8   Straight (R downhill = Empire Link)
        N40 37.660 W111 30.893
4.3   Cross DT N40 37.788 W111 30.799
4.6   Keep R (Leave Midmountain)
        N40 37.862 W111 30.892
4.8   Veer R downhill off saddle N40 37.952 W111 30.731
4.9   Follow ST L (Johns99) N40 37.878 W111 30.772
5.3   Cross King Road uphill N40 37.826 W111 30.325
6.0   R downhill , then L uphill to stay on Johns99
        N40 37.584 W111 30.856
6.7   Keep straight to enter Little Chief
        N40 37.355 W111 30.799
6.9   Keep straight (L downhill = Ore Cart)
        N40 37.203 W111 30.706
7.5   L to return on Midmountain N40 36.948 W111 30.827
9.8   Back at Deer Valley
Getting there:  In Park City, follow the signs toward Deer Valley Resort. 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. Note that in 2017 the previous parking lot no longer exists, being replaced by a new building. So on weekends your chance of finding a parking spot aren't good. You can park at the lower Snow Park lodge and take the city shuttle bus uphill. Once you're at the lift area, face the mountain. Your ride will start by aiming right and coasting downhill to the underpass. As you pass underneath, 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 course file   Park City area file (multi-track)
Topo map for printing:   View map
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to Park City area resources

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