King Road to Shadow Lake Trail
King Road takes you from Park City's Historic Main Street to the haunting remains of the once prosperous Silver King Mine. Then, you cross Park City Mountain Resort's aspen-bound ski slopes, and rise to viewpoints of spacious valleys surrounding the town far below. The route's namesake destination, Shadow Lake, is a small alpine pond ringed by the resort's steepest runs in Jupiter Bowl. The ride culminates with effortless downhill miles, ultimately ending in town. You can start this 10-mile, intermediate-to-advanced ride from anywhere in Park City by first pedaling up Main Street then up paved King Road. At the junction with Sampson Avenue, turn right to continue on King Road, which is all-weather dirt and gravel. You're on your way. (If you are driving to Park City, park at the public lot at the top of Main Street next to the Wasatch Brew Pub. This makes for a strategic après-ride venue!)
King Road rises steadily around several switchbacks and crosses sunny slopes of scrub oak. Park City's turn-of-the-century rooftops recede below while lavish condominiums at Deer Valley Resort rise above Ontario Canyon. Echos of an era long ago filter through the crisp mountain air when you pass the old Silver King Mine. In the 1860s, silver, lead, and gold were discovered in the Wasatch Range, and Park City became a magnet for mining moguls and prospectors alike. Silver King Mine was one of the Park City's most prosperous mines. Its aerial ore tram towers can be seen from the resort's Town Lift.
The remainder of the route is a reflection of Park City's present-day boom, one where skiers flock to the resort's slopes to curve graceful turns on what has been declared "The Greatest Snow on Earth." In fact, Park City Mountain Resort was the chosen venue for many alpine skiing events during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
When you reach Crescent Ridge, continue climbing to the summit lift house and then head over to Jupiter Bowl and Shadow Lake. Take an afternoon siesta at the lake and dream of snow falling silently and clinging to pine boughs, of making effortless turns in powder as frothy as champagne bubbles, of fluffy crystals billowing over your knees with each turn and swirling upward into your face with a light crisp sting, of . . . HEY, wake up, it's summer and you're mountain biking, so go sniff some wildflowers!
From Jupiter, the route descends to the base of Thaynes Lift and passes still more mine ruins. A bit more climbing returns you to Crescent Ridge. You've paid your dues and now its time to cash in on the blazing descent back to town. Make a beeline to the Wasatch Brew Pub, belly up to the bar, and reminisce the day's fat-tire adventure, reflect on yesteryear's colorful days, and patiently await next winter's snowfall.
By Gregg Bromka, author of The Mountain Biker's Guide to Utah.
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