Mountain Biking-focused Slate Creek Trail Opens in the Uintas on Saturday
The five-mile Slate Creek trail loop, the first dedicated mountain bike trail in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, opens on Saturday with a celebration.
The Slate Creek Trail Grand Opening event, featuring a food truck and the South Summit Trails Foundation trail-builders responsible for the track, runs from noon to 4 p.m. at the Yellow Pine parking area east of Kamas.
South Summit Trails Foundation Board member Corey Dutton said no special permitting is required to build and open a mountain bike trail in the national forest.
“The steeper the grade the more unsuitable for mountain biking it becomes in the trails, up in the National Forest tend to be not well maintained and because there's just lack of resources and so that's another issue when you've got big, huge boulder fields in the middle fall in trees, it's pretty hard to ride your bike on that stuff,” she said.
Dutton said with how crowded Park City trails are, many people have already discovered the trail located at the Yellow Pine trailhead on the Mirror Lake Highway. It's a five-mile loop, but the master trail plan in the works will eventually open up 50 miles for mountain biking and hiking.
"We're working on phase two right now and approvals with the U.S. Forest Service, which will extend the five-mile loop to another, almost nine miles and that would do a great ground on that next spring … so we're super excited about that,” Dutton said.
It's a directional, beginner to an intermediate trail that requires bikers to go clockwise and hikers counter-clockwise. Dutton said it was built with volunteers, forest service personnel and local trail building legend Bob Radke.
“Bob is famous for a lot of trails in Utah, but one in the Kamas Valley at the High Star Ranch trail, he is responsible for a lot of that heavy work up there, one in particular is called the Radke trail, his namesake, and it has gotten a ton of publicity all over Utah,” Dutton said.
Dutton said the mission for the South Summit Trails Foundation is to build more trails in the south and southeast areas of the county because there are few recreation and transportation trails in the Kamas Valley. She said there is no stopping the development but feels creating a master trails plan will set them in place for future growth.
“That's an exciting thing, because let's face it, I mean, as you drive down into that Kamas Valley, it's so beautiful,” she said. “You see all these wide-open fields and farms and that agricultural sort of feel that is out there, and it's going to be a sea of houses one day."
The restaurant tax grant, the federal recreational trails program grant, and the Park City Community Foundation helped fund the Slate Creek Mountain trail. Dutton said private donors have been generous in their support as well.
The South Summit Trails Foundation is looking for two new board members, and they're always looking for volunteers.