Family-friendly Hiking in Park City

Posted in On the Mountain
by JD on July 24, 2014

We have a bit of a saying these days about our kids:  They don’t eat enough dirt.  The implication is that everything today is so darned planned, inspected, and rooted in our own paranoia about what can go wrong in the world and with and to our children that they are not appreciating their environment nearly enough.  There are so many beautiful places in the world and my own love of skiing finds my partiality pointed towards the mountains. 

I am sure many have heard the mountain adage:  I came for the winters but stayed for the summers and I find this to be a truism with most in the mountain communities.  I personally think that mountain vacations as a real destination place in the summer and autumn can be unfairly overlooked and should be part of one’s vacation repertoire.

Contemplative Moments in Autumn's Glory

Of all the summer/autumn activities I love in Park City – and there are many – the family hike is probably the one I enjoy the most.  There is a veritable cornucopia within the Park City Area.  A few common sense points are worth noting about Park City’s extensive trail system:

  • Trails are available to hikers (pets as well), bikers, and horses on many trails.  As such, sharing the trail and practicing trail etiquette is important for safety and for everyone’s right to use the trail as intended.
  • Stay on the trails.
  • Pick up and bring out any trash.

Hiking season begins in late May and extends to October (conditions permitting on both ends).  All of the three major ski resorts (Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons) have trails available and in fact all three mountains share the Mid-Mountain Trail which is an intermediate to advanced hiking and biking trail amidst the aspen and conifer trees abundantly present (Mid-Mountain Trail).

One of the unsung trails is actually is the hard surfaced Millennium Trail which allows access to some trails less travelled (Millennium Trail).  The Millennium Trail is a beginner trail that has various access points to the Gorgoza Park Trail around the Kimball Junction to Utah Olympic Park’s appropriately accronymed UOP Trail and the Northern part of The Canyon’s including the Mid-Mountain Trail.  We have hiked the trail known as the UP Trail behind Gorgoza Park many times and it is excellent with abundant tree coverage, peeks into the various canyons, and a payoff with a climb to the top of Gorgoza Park.

Hannah on a Day Hike on the Mountain Hannah and Megan on UP Trail in Gorgoza Park

Park City also hosts an excellent example of the Rails to Trails Conservancy effort that my family knows well in our home state of Illinois with the historic Illinois Prairie Path (Illinois Prairie Path).  Conversion of these dormant rail lines has a manifold connection to the country’s past while providing an interesting and feature filled path for hiking, biking, or equestrian pursuits – the Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail is an excellent mixed use path that we take advantage of during our stays in Park City (UP Rail Trail).

Just one of the accessible trails in Park City

The virtually unlimited options right out of your door when you are in Park City is a testament to this dedicated community of citizens in the Park City area and of the particularly committed community who comprise the Mountain Trails Foundation (Mountain Trails Foundation) that maintain and continue to develop these priceless – yet blissfully free resources known as the Park City Trail System. 


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