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Ruby Lift Loop
Midmountain, Corvair, Moosebones, and Boulder Trails

This is a 5.3-mile loop in Empire Canyon, starting just a little uphill from the Ruby Lift at the Empire Canyon Lodge. The loop starts at 8300 feet elevation on the road to Guardsman Pass and climbs to 9000 feet at the top of the Ruby Lift. You can reach the loop from other Park City and Deer Valley trails for a longer ride.

This loop originated with the opening of the new Corvair and Boulder trails in September 2011. Most of the riding is in forest, with occasional breakouts with views over Park City. At the top, there are views south over the Heber Valley as well.

View west from the trail, as Bruce's bike leans against an aspen. Photos and trail description based on a ride September 19, 2011.

If you're driving directly to the loop, go up highway 224 from Park City (the road to Guardsman Pass). Just after the roundabout at the Empire Canyon Lodge, there will be a hairpin turn to the right. Just uphill, on the left, is parking.

Drop back down 100 feet from parking and turn left (west) on the Midmountain Trail as it crosses the road. You're heading back toward the lodge.

Here's your trail. Looking west as the Midmountain Trail drops toward Empire from the Guardsman Road.

Keep straight immediately after the road, as Drift joins on the left. Stay straight again at 0.3 as Payroll joins from left uphill.

You'll cross ski slope and a doubletrack heading for the lodge. After 0.4 miles from parking, fork uphill to the left on the Corvair trail.

Typical trail surface. Already well-packed and surprisingly smooth, having just opened for riding two days before. Rain plus bike tires does wonders for a trail.

The Corvair trail will climb through forest of fir and aspen on the north-facing slope of Empire Canyon. The trail surface is smooth and the climbing is at a reasonable grade. At around mile 0.9, the trail turns from southwest to southeast and begins climbing away from the canyon bottom towards a meeting with the TG trail.

Looking uphill to the west at the hills above Empire Canyon.

At mile 1.1, the trail comes into an intersection with TG from below. Keep left and downhill for the new trail. You'll rejoin TG later, so if you want, you can cross over to TG. TG is more technical, with additional up-and-down riding when compared with the newer Corvair trail cut.

The trail alternates between dark fir forest, brushy glens, and mixed aspen and fir. Very pretty.

The trailcut on Corvair seems to be a "no-climbing" route so that bikers from the top of the Ruby Lift can cruise down to the Empire Canyon Lodge. So keep an eye open for armored speedsters coming the opposite direction.

Keep right and uphill where the (currently unmarked) Payroll trail forks left downhill at around mile 1.5.

Is this awesome or what?

The trail slowly climbs around the mountain and joins TG at mile 1.6.  Fork hard left as you meet TG. (Right will take you back to the trail fork where you touched on TG.)

We've now joined TG heading south uphill. TG undulates and weaves for a fun (but short) section.

After 1/3 mile (at mile 1.9), fork to the right to leave TG. (The end of TG is just 100 feet uphill at the road to Guardsman.) This uphill trail had no markings when I rode it, but I understand it's called Upper Corvair.

Here the trail reverses direction almost 180 degrees. Climb through a forest of small aspens and occasional fir for 1/3 mile.

Heading northwest climbing away from TG on new trail. This section didn't see quite as many tires during its first weekend.

 

At mile 2.2, fork left uphill. (The right fork drops down to TG north of where you joined it.) The trail gets more narrow and technical for a short distance after turning back southeast.

Climbing away from the new track towards Guardsman.

As you leave the aspens, the trail hugs the side of a grassy slope, heading toward the ridgeline.

As the narrow singletrack hits doubletrack, fork right uphill toward the big rocks. Stop and check out the views in all directions.

We're aiming for the spot where the green streak hits the skyline.

Now head left (slightly downhill) on doubletrack. Keep straight through the parking area, cross the Guardsman road, and keep heading the same direction into doubletrack. Aim to the right of the hill where you see the ski lift.

View from the top of the singletrack toward the parking area along the Guardsman Road. Negotiate the parking to get on doubletrack heading east-southeast.

At mile 3.2, fork left. Aim for the ski lift to the north. The doubletrack will skirt the east side of the hill and climb toward the lift.

View to the northeast. New housing and lodges line the slopes along the new Guardsman Road.

Pass east (right) of the lift. Stay generally straight and find the downhill Boulder singletrack northeast of the lift.

Plunge downhill. After about 1/4 mile, keep right as a connector to Moose Bones forks away (mile 3.6).

Looking east from the Ruby Lift. The singletrack is just past the left edge of the photo.

At mile 3.8, stay straight as you cross Moose Bones to take the Boulder Trail downhill.

At mile 4.1, cross the doubletrack (the connector between Tour des Suds and Moose Bones or Team Big Bear) and continue downhill.

Heading downhill on the new trail from the Ruby Lift. I'd strongly suggest that this route is downhill-only. If you want to live.

The trail will zigzag down the hill, crossing ski slopes and turning hard in aspen or fir forest. The turns are tight but are bermed for high speed. There are a few jump opportunities.

At mile 5.3, keep straight as you hit the Midmountain Trail. The trail on your left going uphill is the Tour des Suds. Ride about 1/10 mile back to the road and turn uphill to your car.

Typical bermed turn designed for speed.

Riding guide, counterclockwise loop:
0.0  Coast down from parking, L on ST
       Midmountain Trail N40 36.982 W111 30.445
       Stay straight (Drift on L)
0.3  Stay straight (Payroll on L)
       N40 36.822 W111 30.493
0.4  L uphill on ST (Corvair Trail)
       N40 36.822 W111 30.599
1.1  Keep L and downhill N40 36.641 W111 30.880
1.5  Keep R (L = Payroll)
       N40 36.582 W111 30.635
1.6  L on TG Trail N40 36.584 W111 30.650
1.9  L (uphill R = TG to road) N40 36.436 W111 30.488
2.2  L uphill (R = to TG) N40 36.623 W111 30.738
2.5  L uphill on DT N40 36.419 W111 30.628
       Then L on DT N40 36.402 W111 30.654
2.7  Cross Guardsman Road to DT
       N40 36.382 W111 30.475
3.2  L on DT toward lift N40 36.549 W111 30.081
3.3  To R of lift, find ST NE of lift
       Boulder Trail
       N40 36.627 W111 30.148
3.6  Keep R (L = to Moose Bones)
       N40 36.709 W111 30.214
3.8  Cross Moose Bones, keep downhill
       N40 36.773 W111 30.093
4.1  Cross DT road N40 36.838 W111 30.234
5.3  Keep straight to Midmountain westbound
       N40 37.016 W111 30.403
       (L = Tour des Suds, hard R = Midmountain)
5.4  Uphill on pavement to car
Getting there:  
As you enter Park City, follow the signs for Deer Valley and Guardsman Road. Get on Bonanza Drive heading south uphill. At the roundabout, turn toward Empire Canyon (SR 224). Stay on that road for about 3.5 miles. Go through the roundabout in front of Empire Canyon Lodge and head uphill on 224. Just after the turn to the right, park on the left side of the road. The Midmountain Trail is back downhill just above the turn. Head left (west).

Riding resources:
Single-page riding guide
Track files (right click and "Save as..."):
     Ruby Loop riding track as described   
     Park City area trails (over 120 tracks)

Print topo map:  View
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to Park City area resources