Trail Review: Rob’s Ambush Loop

Looking east from Ambush Trail on the Rob's Ambush Loop
Written by Scott Cullins
This is a classic Park City weekday evening ride for locals in the Sun Peak and Silver Springs neighborhoods of Park City. It’s also super convenient, if you happen to be coming up from Salt Lake, becasue it’s only two miles from Kimball Junction. The Rob’s Ambush Loop has an elevation gain of approximately 1,357 feet, but has a total ascent of about 2,100 feet. The loop takes you through north-facing pines, climbs to just below Mid-Mountain Trail, then cuts south over to the north-facing side of Apex Ridge in Park City Resort Canyons Village, then back down to finish. The photo above shows the views to the east and Snyderville Basin from Ambush trail. Plan on an hour and fifteen minutes to hour and a half for this ride.

Avoid riding the Rob’s Ambush Loop from mid-October on. The trails may be clear of snow, but this is a big transition zone for moose, as they begin moving to lower elevations for the winter. My record moose sightings in one day is seven, and I recall spending a lot of time that day nervously bushwhacking around the pesky critters.

The Climb

Park at the Sun Peak HOA Recreation Facility on Bear Hollow Drive (see map above), or in the larger Park City Community Church parking lot across the road. The loop starts at the Sun Peak neighborhood trailhead, which winds up for .4 miles through the backyards of about a dozen homes. You’ll briefly cross a couple roads. The trail changes name a few times, which can be confusing, but it is easy to follow by just continuing uphill at the few junctions you will encounter. After .4 miles the trail becomes Dubois trail, then in 1.0 miles you’ll merge with Collins Trail. Hang a right and continue uphill. In 0.5 miles, merge with Rob’s and hang a left. Just remember: keep going uphill.

I always find the lower Dubois section of Rob’s Ambush Loop to be the most challenging, with a few steep bits that will get your heart pumping. The grade lessens after that and, once you get into your rhythm, just go on autopilot and grind out the rest.

I always find the Dubois section of Rob’s Ambush Loop to be the most challenging, with a few steep bits that will get your heart pumping.

Views of Apex Ridge from the Rob's Ambush Loop

Looking south at Apex Ridge and some of the steepest and longest runs at Park City Canyons Village.

The 3.5 mile climb takes about 40-50 minutes and eventually busts out in a saddle where you’ll get your first peek os Apex Ridge to the south. This is the best place to take a quick break in my opinion. Apex Ridge is the northernmost ridge at Park City Resort Canyons Village and has some of the steepest and longest ski runs in all of Park City. Runs like Devil’s Friend (2nd from right), which is never groomed and get’s bumped out quickly. Ski that one non-stop, top to bottom, and you are a bad ass. Here is what it looks like when the Flying Corndog skis Devil’s Friend. Anyway, I digress.

The Descent

A few more minutes of flat riding from the saddle and you’ll drop in to a shaded hollow with a four-way junction. It can be a bit buggy, here, so I usually keep moving. If you hang a right, you’ll be on the relatively new Olympic trail that takes you over to the UOP. Going straight thru the intersection takes you on upper Ambush, up to Mid Mountain. We’ll cover those rides in another article. We’re hanging a left here on Ambush.

Ambush drops west down into the draw, crossing the Upper Boa ski run, then switches back to the east, heading into the pines and Aspens for a fast rip down. One mile from the four-way junction and you’ll merge with Holly’s (formerly Short Swing). Bear left. Turning right on Holly’s will take you to Sun Peak Lodge area of the resort, where you can pick up Ricochet. Ricochet ultimately parallels Holly’s back down to Canyon’s Village base area.

Snyderville Basin (Park City) and the Uinta Mountains beyond from Rosebud's Heaven.

Snyderville Basin (Park City) and the Uinta Mountains beyond from Rosebud’s Heaven.

Once you merge with Holly’s, descend .2 miles and hang a left on Rosebud’s Heaven, where you’ll drop to the dirt road that is Lower Boa. Pick up Rosebud’s across the road—a bit uphill and to the left. Rosebud’s traverses relatively flat, and then climbs up the backside of the hill you climbed at the beginning of the ride. The trail heads east then swings north and merges with Rob’s. Stop for a minute on this leg for some great views of Snyderville Basin. One you jump back on Rob’s, you’ll retrace your climb back to Collins. As you head east again, ride straight through the intersection and down the rocky, technical lower section of Collins into the Sun Peak neighborhood. A minute of road riding and you are done.

Post Ride

PRO-TIP: If you totally failed your duties as provider of post-ride refreshments—ride across Hwy 224 to the Blue Roof 7-11. I[ve been known to buy a tall boy and drink it at one of tables out front. Another great option would be to stay on Holly’s and ride down to Canyons Village where you can grab food and beverages at the Red Tail Grill, the Farm, or the Umbrella Bar. There’s also a small convenience store on the south end of the village, where you can buy packaged alcohol and snacks. This is not a state liquor store—this is a special resort license that allows for the sale of alcohol.

If it’s Saturday afternoon in the summer, plan your ride for the afternoon then stick around for a free concert. Canyons Village is the best venue for the free Park City concerts put on by Mountain Town Music.

To get back to your vehicle from the base, cut behind the Orang Bubble Express follow the trail underneath the Frostwood Gondola to the Waldorf Astoria. Hang a left on the road to get back to your car.

 

About the author

Scott Cullins

Scott moved from Teton Valley, Idaho to Utah in 2011. Scott is publisher of wasatchrider.com, Wasatch Rider magazine and the Teton Valley WYDAHO Outdoor Guide and Map. Scott is also a media and marketing consultant, mountain biker, skier, and singer songwriter. Email Scott at scott@canyonmedia.us

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