For expert level trail runners
Wasatch Crest Trail
Type: Out and back
Distance: 20 miles roundtrip
Wasatch Crest Trail is the Wasatch’s crown jewel. If trail running is a form of hyperbole, then Wasatch Crest is its superlative. This difficult trail kicks off with Puke Hill, a bruiser and the trail’s only source of vertical gain. Once runners push to the top, however, they roll along the ridgeline between Big Cottonwood Canyon and Park City in some of the most indulgent landscape in the range.
The high meadows give way to intermittent groves of aspens dappled in sunlight. These, in turn, transform into the jagged appeal of “The Spine,” an amphitheater of granite peaks and pine forest. From the trail you can look down into Brighton ski resort and Desolation Lake before dropping into the single track of upper Mill Creek Canyon and ending at the Big Water trailhead.
Getting There: From the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon (Wasatch Boulevard and 7200 South), drive about 15 miles up the canyon until you reach the Guardsman Pass access road. Turn left and continue on this road for 1.8 miles until you reach a dirt road to your left. Park at the fork. You’ll reach another gate about 100 yards up the road, which marks the beginning of the run.