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The Rail Trail

Central Wasatch Mountains, Utah

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The Rail Trail

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  • The Park City Trailhead, just south of the Prospector neighborhood.- The Rail Trail
  • Gearing up at the Prospector Park Trailhead.- The Rail Trail
  • Heading out on the paved path.- The Rail Trail
  • Great birdwatching in the wetlands on this end of the trail and many other sections.- The Rail Trail
  • Biking the Rail Trail.- The Rail Trail
  • Street crossing at Highway 248.- The Rail Trail
  • A cattle gate. Please close it behind you.- The Rail Trail
  • Long open stretches with a lot of solitude and great views.- The Rail Trail
  • Long open stretches with a lot of solitude and great views.- The Rail Trail
  • Long open stretches along the Rail Trail with a lot of solitude and great views.- The Rail Trail
  • A water break.- The Rail Trail
  • The Promontory Trailhead.- The Rail Trail
  • About to pass under the I-80, Pace Ranch is on the right.- The Rail Trail
  • A cattle gate.- The Rail Trail
  • Historic references on display under the freeway.- The Rail Trail
  • On the way to Wanship, there are some beautiful rock formations.- The Rail Trail
  • Long open stretches along the Rail Trail with a lot of solitude and great views.- The Rail Trail
  • Some spring flowers alongside the trail and creek.- The Rail Trail
  • Pressure gauges and an air pump along the Rail Trail. Park City really takes care if its riders.- The Rail Trail
  • The Wanship Trailhead.- The Rail Trail
  • The Weber River goes alongside the trail from Wanship to Coalville.- The Rail Trail
  • A trestle over the trail.- The Rail Trail
  • Fisherman in the Weber River.- The Rail Trail
  • There are a lot of beautiful bridges along this end of the trail.- The Rail Trail
  • Heading toward the Echo Reservoir side of the trail.- The Rail Trail
  • Foliage near the Echo Reservoir.- The Rail Trail
  • One of the access points.- The Rail Trail
  • The trail is a bit more rugged on this end.- The Rail Trail
  • Echo Reservoir.- The Rail Trail
  • - The Rail Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Pretty views. Very long and steady. Very small elevation gain. Air pumps.
Cons: 
Bugs. Flat. Cattle gates. Road crossing.
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Region:
Central Wasatch Mountains, UT
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,225.00 ft (373.38 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Trail difficulty: 
Green
Total Distance: 
28.00 mi (45.06 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,575.00 ft (1,699.26 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

One of the longest and steadiest mountain biking trails in Utah, the Rail Trail is perfect for anyone looking for a long cruise on their mountain bikes, horses, or on foot. While doing the whole thing might be difficult, it doesn't get much easier in small doses. Following the route of the former Union Pacific Rail Line, it runs for 28 miles along a relatively flat and packed dirt doubletrack.

If you start in Park City, the first 3 miles can be ridden on your beach cruiser, skateboards, Rollerblades, or jogging strollers as far as Highway 248, thanks to the nicely paved surface. After that point you'll want to be on a mountain bike, but it's still a nice pack. After you pass Wanship. the Weber River hugs the trail, and it's really quite beautiful. As you pass Coalville on the way to Echo Reservoir, the trail gets more rugged, but you now ride just yards from the water. There are large cottonwood trees providing afternoon shade near Echo, but most the trail is very exposed.

There are seven total trailheads from north to south at Echo Reservoir, the town of Coalville, the town of Wanship, the Promontory development, Quinn's Junction, Prospector Park, and Park City. The elevation change is 1,200 feet between the Echo Trailhead, the low point, and the Park City Trailhead, the peak. If you are doing a one-way shuttle, it is much easier to start in Park City. While the downhill grade is slight, you can definitely feel it helping compared to going the opposite direction. There are several historical interpretive signs along the way as well.

A decent medium-length ride is done by starting out from the Park City or Prospector trailheads and turning around at Pace Ranch, just before the I-80. If you turn around here you will do about 15 miles total. That is a good after-work ride in this area, and it's not technical. There are great birdwatching opportunities here; be sure to keep an eye out for cranes. Watch out for the cow pies and for some deep ruts in parts of the track along the way. There are bathrooms at Coalville, Wanship, Promontory, and Quinn trailheads only, and there is a tire gauge and pump about a mile down from Prospector. One of the annoying parts of this trail after this point is there are a lot of stops. The highway crossing is followed by multiple cattle gates that you need to open and close behind you. It definitely stops the flow, but at least there are long stretches without any gates. Once you pass Promontory, it's smooth sailing

If you want to have a more nature-oriented ride, cross over and under cool wooden bridges, then consider the section between Coalville and Wanship. The Weber River is right nearby and a great place to test out your fly fishing skills. There are A-frame steps to get over the barbed wire fences and give you river access. There are far fewer people using the trail in the northern sections than those closer to Park City. Most people don't do the whole trail but usually do one section depending on where they live. If you want solitude and nature, then hang in the northern parts, and if you want it to be paved and near town, then Park City is best for you. Dogs are allowed on leashes.

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