This past weekend I was lucky enough to fly to Park City, UT to visit some family. I only had the weekend to take advantage of the trip and see some of my favorite places.
Day 1: Bloods Lake
I landed Friday morning and hit the ground running. As soon as I was up in Park City, I drove up to Guardsman Pass and parked at the Blood’s Lake Trailhead. It’s a little shorter if you park at the saddle of Guardsman Pass before dropping into Big Cottonwood Canyon, but it was a beautiful day and I opted for the lower trailhead. It’s a relatively easy, roughly 3 miles out and back trail, twisting through aspens, conifers, and open meadow.
I was treated to a big surprise at the lake. Out of nowhere, a moose walked up and started drinking from the lake and foraging for some lunch. The lake was by no means crowded, and the moose seemed to be calm and collected as it meandered near the shore banks.
There’s a rope swing on the southwest side of the lake and plenty of room to swim and hangout. The lake water was refreshing and crisp, and I wished I could have stayed all day. After a couple of hours, I made my way back to the trailhead and headed home. Happy hour at Blind Dog and a jacuzzi session helped cap my night off after a great first day.
Day 2: Mid Mountain – Red Cloud Trail – TG – Mid Mountain
Saturday morning, I woke up and decided on a little longer hike for the day. I made my way up to Silver Lake Lodge at Deer Valley to catch the Mid Mountain trailhead. The Mid Mountain trail overall can take you from Deer Valley Ski Resort to Park City Ski Resort with insane views of the town of Park City and surrounding areas below. For my hike, I stuck within the Deer Valley Ski Resort boundary and made some audibles along the way.
Mid Mountain can get a little crowded, especially on the weekends, so I started off early. From Silver Lake Lodge, the trail takes you underneath Quincy and Red Cloud chairlifts at Deer Valley. From there, I caught the Red Cloud Hiking Trail and passed under Silver Strike and Northside chairlifts as I made my way to the top of Flagstaff Mountain. At the top of Flagstaff, I crossed over the Guardsman Pass road and caught TG, which led me through a lot of my favorite runs at Deer Valley in the winter, such as Quincy Knoll, the X-Files, and Daly Chutes. I caught Mid Mountain again as TG took me down to the base of Empire Canyon and headed back to Silver Lake Lodge.
Overall, the hike took about three hours and roughly six miles, with plenty of stops along the way to scope my ski lines for the winter. After my Mid Mountain hike, I finished the day off with a walk down at Park City Main Street and another jacuzzi session.
Day 3: Mid Mountain – Deer Crest – Little Stick
My flight was scheduled for mid-day Sunday so I woke up early to get one last hike in to end the weekend. I took the Mid Mountain trail again, but this time I headed in the opposite direction, starting at Silver Lake Lodge and ending at Snow Park Lodge at the true base of Deer Valley. This portion of the trail is very easy, as it’s mainly flat and downhill, but the views are the reason I always make a point to hike it.
The trail offers impressive views of the trail pods of Wasatch, Sultan, and Mayflower chairlifts, as well as the Jordanelle Reservoir. The trail then dips into the trees and reappears in the open on the Navigator ski run, with views of Deer Crest, Snow Park, and most of Summit County. From there, you slowly descend, winding your way through the Deer Crest trail pod and, passing the St. Regis hotel, before ending the hike at the base of Snow Park.
I grabbed the bus to Main Street Park City for a final stroll and then headed down to Salt Lake to catch my flight home. I’ll admit, I was a little apprehensive about flying for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic, but I was very impressed with the airports. Everything appeared extra clean, passengers were abiding by all safety protocols, and the flights went smoothly. Hopefully, some of these changes, especially the cleanliness, become standard norms once air travel gets back up to full capacity and the pandemic is a distant memory.
Even though I’ve never lived there, I like to call Park City my “home away from home.” Park City is where I learned to ski in the winter and mountain bike and hike in the summer. From spending the winter school breaks to the Fourth of July, and any time I had a chance in between, it’s a special place that I’ll never take for granted.