The Rail Trail
The Rail Trail is 30 miles long, extending from the Prospector area of
Park City down to Echo Junction along a former railroad route. The Union Pacific Rail
Trail State Park is open to all non-motorized traffic, but finds its greatest use among
Bruce's son Alex pedals along the
conglomerate and juniper mountainside near Echo Reservoir. The
conglomerate was deposited during the late Cretacious (the end of the age
of dinosaurs, around 70 million years ago) by streams flowing east from
western Utah. During that time, the Great Basin was temporarily elevated
higher than eastern Utah, which was covered by shallow sea. Photo August 6, 1999
|The trail is cinder-and-dirt double-track, and as you'd guess from its
history as a railroad line, the elevation change is slow and the curves are gentle.
There's a wide variety of terrain along the 30 miles, ranging from Echo Reservoir, where
rough rock, juniper, and sunflowers prevail, to the lush green farmland along the Weber
River, to the sage and bitterbrush hills climbing to Park City.
sunflower along the trail welcomes the morning sunshine.
August 6, 1999.
||The upper end of the trail begins in Park City. It joins
Interstate 80 near US 40, then winds along with -- and occasionally between lanes of --
the interstate down through sage, bitterbrush, and gambel oak. After the Wanship
trailhead, the trail travels along the Weber River into farmland. Besides contented cows
and horses, your kids will see plenty of cottonwood trees, choke cherry, wild rose, and
View from the bridge over the Weber River near Wanship.
No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail. August 6, 1999 by Bruce Argyle
|Cutting through the edge of Coalville, the trail winds along the shores of
Echo Reservoir. There are multiple spots where the family can clamber down to the water
for a picnic or play. The trail is very smooth, but some loose cinder on the trail surface
may make going hard for tiny ones with training wheels.
A blossom of
chicory bounces in the raindrops of a passing shower. August 6, 1999
Could there be anything better than this? Alex and Jackie, the biking-fanatic Jack Russell terrier, wait for
dad to finish cooking the turkey tetrazinni on the shore of Echo Reservoir.
The ski slopes of Deer Valley and Park City can be seen
on the mountains in the background.
Photo August 6, 1999
|Getting there: From Salt Lake, take I-80 over Parley's,
then pick your trailhead. From the Ogden area, head up I-84 to Echo Junction. Park
City Trailhead: in Park City, take Kearns Blvd to Bonanza Dr, then
turn on Prospector Ave to behind the Park City Plaza. N 40° 39.684' W 111° 29.894'.
Trailhead: take the U-248 exit from US-40 about 5 miles south of I-80, and park on the
frontage road. The trail is just east. Star Pointe Trailhead: exit I-80
to US-40. 2 miles south, turn into the Silver Creek Industrial Park and follow the signs
to the trail. Wanship Trailhead: exit I-80 into Wanship. The parking area
is just east of the intersection between U-32 and US-189. Coalville
Trailhead: immediately after exiting I-80, the trail crosses the road as you head into
Coalville. Find a place to park and backtrack to the trail. Echo Trailheads:
the trail is accessible from the road on several areas along the reservoir. From the
south, exit into Coalville, turn left on the main drag and head 7 miles north. From Echo
Junction, take exit 169 from I-80 and turn right to head south.
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