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Popperton Park

Popperton Park is located in the upper Avenues area of Salt Lake City. The park includes a grass area, a wild hiking area, and a small mountain bike area. There's 0.9 miles of nice beginner trail in a loop ride with two downhill options. It's an excellent choice for kids and first-time mountain bikers.

Looking north at the Big Pop descending route from the Lil Pop trail. Photos and review by Bruce on September 13, 2021.

Parking is on Popperton Park Way just across from Shriner's Hospital. Take the paved path eastbound for 0.2 miles. The first paths you come across are hiking trails (on your left uphill). Stay on the paved path. As the paved path turns right to cross the road, you can keep straight onto a dirt bike trail. In another 0.1 miles, you'll veer left and climb onto the slope.

Looking east from the parking strip in Popperton Park. The paved trail connects to the dirt loop. There's no parking allowed near the actual singletrack trail entry.

Hop On Pop trail
The first trail is Hop On Pop. After the first 100 feet, Hop On Pop hits a trail fork. Turn to the right (east). Hop On Pop now becomes a one-way climbing trail. All the riding here is one-way counter-clockwise.

We've just veered off the connector singletrack onto Hop On Pop and are ready to climb up to the trail fork where the loop begins.

The slope is gentle and suitable for beginners. The trail is brown dirt with some pea gravel added to firm up the riding surface.

Loops are only 0.7 miles around (with 100 vertical feet of climbing), so it's an easy trail for brand-new beginners to test their legs and tune their bike-control skills.

Looking west at downtown Salt Lake as the trail meanders back and forth.

There are a lot of goathead (puncture weed) vines along these trails. I didn't pick up any thorns on my ride. If the trail is patrolled to remove the vines in the fall, you'll do fine. But it's a good idea to set your kids' bikes up with anti-thorn measures (tubeless with sealant, slime, or anti-puncture belt) when you ride foothill trails.

Goathead (puncture vine, puncture weed, tribulus terrestris) typically creates its thorns in late October.

The terrain is grass with an occasional sunflower or sage. The trail winds back and forth gently. Hop On Pop is 0.4 miles long with 100 vertical feet of elevation gain.

Looking east toward the U Med Center as the trail passes through sunflowers.

At the top elevation of Hop On Pop, there's a trail fork. Straight ahead is Big Pop, a longer but easier descent. To the left is Lil Pop, which has slightly steeper slopes, more bumps, and tighter turns.

We've arrived at the top. Left is Lil Pop; right is Big Pop.

Big Pop trail
Big Pop is 0.3 miles long, meandering down the slope in a counterclockwise loop. After losing 100 vertical feet, it ties in to the bottom of Hop On Pop so you can climb again.

Looking down Big Pop. Easy cruising!

Curves on Big Pop are wide and gentle. It's one of the easiest downhills you'll ever do, but the twisting layout keeps it from being boring.

Rolling into a turn. Below us is Shriner's Hospital.

Again on the downhill, the trail has been reinforced with course sand and pea gravel to prevent rutting.

Sunflowers! No shade!

Lil Pop trail
Lil Pop is 0.2 miles long. From the fork at the end of Hop On Pop, it twists downhill to join Big Pop about 100 yards before Big Pop ends on Hop On Pop.

Rolling up to a shallow tabletop bump on upper Lil Pop.

On Lil Pop, turns are banked for higher speed and are tighter in radius. There's a low tabletop and a couple of low bumps that let the kids try a jump. The highest hump is only about a foot off the trail surface. So Lil Pop is still an easy trail.

At the top of a banked turn on Lil Pop.

Connector trail to Dry Gulch BST
The paved Popperton trail connects through to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST) at the bottom of Dry Gulch. When combined with 11th Avenue, it creates a popular road return route when riding the City Creek and Avenues sections of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.

Eastbound on the paved connector trail to Dry Gulch and the BST.

From the paved trail's origin at the west end of the Popperton Park parking strip, it's 0.8 miles to the BST in Dry Gulch. The final 100 yards are dirt. As the connector descends into Dry Gulch, keep straight to climb the Dry Gulch BST. Or for the University section of the BST, hook to the right downhill for 100 yards, then turn sharp left uphill and climb to the eastbound BST.

Heading into Dry Gulch. Straight ahead to climb Dry Gulch or turn back downhill to go eastbound past the U Med Center (or drop down to city streets).

Getting there:
In the Avenues area of Salt Lake City, drive to the intersection of the east end of 11th Avenue with Virginia Street. Go onto Popperton Park Way, eastbound above Shriner's Hospital. In 100 yards, find a parking spot on the uphill side of the street. Pedal east on the paved path to begin your ride. In 0.2 miles, keep straight onto dirt trail as the paved path crosses the road.

Trail Resources!
GPS track file (right-click and select "Save Target as..."):
        GPX tracks area file
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to NE SLC resources