Gettin' Dirty in the Dead of Winter

Caroline Hagedorn
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Winter can be tough for Salt Lake City mountain bikers. All of our best trails are covered in snow, or just too muddy to ride without damaging. When skis just aren’t good enough to get your fix, it’s good to know where you can go for a little good ol’ fashioned singletrack. We’ve put together a short list of trails that are usually dry and rideable long before our favorites up in the Cottonwoods or in Park City. While these trails may not be the stuff of singletrack dreams, they’re there when we need them. So, when you can’t be with the one you love….

Germania Park

Caroline Hagedorn

Germania Park is right about 1000 West and 5000 South, which puts it smack in the middle of the valley. This is about the only singletrack that we know of that’s actually in the valley. What that means is that you can ride the trails at Germania Park (almost) year-round. Don’t get too excited though—this isn’t what we’d call “destination singletrack.” It’s good for a mid-winter fix, however, when your dirt desperation hits critical.

Everyone knows that winter is the best time of year to score a screamin’ deal on last year’s still-new dirt-sled. Once you get it home, though, waiting for the trails to thaw can be agony. Germania Park is the answer. Take your new bike out, get a feel for it, and determine whether it needs any tweaks before it’s first real ride. It’s also a great place to take your timid significant other for their first-ever mountain bike ride. The trails are pretty much flat, with a few small hills and rollers thrown in.

Germania Park is easy to find. Take I-15 south from downtown to the 5300 south exit. Head west on 5300 south until you reach 1070 west. Take a right. Pass the first parking lot on your right. Once you get into Germania Park, jump on the paved bike path that goes around the soccer field and head west. When you reach a fork in the bike path, go right and keep an eye out for the singletrack trail. You can access it from several places on the bike path.

Maple Hollow

Caroline Hagedorn

The best way to describe the Maple Hollow Trail is short but sweet. Bottom to top, the climb is only about 15 minutes, but it’s laid out just how a well-designed trail should be. It starts with a steep, punchy climb to get your hear pumping. Then it settles into an easier grade with a few flatter areas where you can let your legs spin out a bit. The trail is smooth and flowy from top to bottom, without much technical terrain. Maple Hollow sits at a relatively low elevation and there aren’t may trees, so it gets a lot of sun, even in winter. This keeps it dry when the trails just a few hundred feet higher ( Corner Canyon and the Draper Downhill) are too snowy and muddy to ride.

Because of its short length, you should plan to lap Maple Hollow a few times. It can also be used as a fun warm-up run when the higher trails are rideable. Either way, the Maple Hollow Trail is a fun, flowy little trail that will get your heart pumping and provide your singletrack fix long before many of Salt Lake’s trails are cleared out and ready to go.

To get to Maple Hollow, take I-15 south from downtown Salt Lake City. Get off at the Draper exit and take a left onto Highland Drive. You’ll go straight through one light and take a left on Vestry Drive. Go straight through two intersections. When you reach a traffic circle, go ¾ of the way around at park at the Draper Swimming Pool. Once on your bike, go back to the traffic circle. The Maple Hollow Trail drops off the southeast corner.

Bonneville Shoreline East

Thomas Bracken

This section of the Bonneville Shoreline isn’t quite as fun as Maple Hollow, but it’s a good workout that’s much closer to downtown Salt Lake City, and the views are nothing short of breathtaking. This is really more of a trail system. There are several trails in the area that run parallel to each other. They vary in width from tight singletrack to the width of a single lane gravel road. This makes the area good for beginners and for folks who aren’t necessarily “serious” singletrack junkies. There are some more technical spots, too, and some of the trails that split off from the main area will prove challenging to the most experienced rider. Because so many trails cut through the area, you can put together your own loop to match the type of workout you’d like.

Bonneville Shoreline East sits at a slightly higher elevation than the other two trails spotlighted here, but because of the lack of vegetation in the area and the fact that it’s south-facing, it dries quickly. You’ll be able to ride the Bonneville Shoreline East long before some of the more technical, less exposed trails in the immediate area.

The best way to get to the Bonneville Shoreline East Trail is to take Foothill Drive to Sunnyside Ave and park directly across from the Hogle Zoo. You’ll see the trail climb steeply up the hill directly in front of the parking lot. As you climb, note which way you go at the various intersections so you wind up right at your car when you come back down.

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