Trail Review: Wasatch Crest Shuttle to Mill Creek

Fox n Rox provides Wasatch Crest Shuttle services.
Written by Scott Cullins
Thanks to several Wasatch Crest shuttle operations, Utah riders have one of the most epic rides in the world, starting right from the suburbs of Salt Lake City.

The Wasatch Crest Shuttle to Mill Creek ride includes an elevation difference of more than 4,567 vertical feet across 24.7 miles, with about 900 feet of climbing and a whopping total descent of about 5,467 feet! This ride will definitely will test your mettle as you ride through the spectacular terrain of the western slope of the Wasatch Range.

On even calendar days, Wasatch Crest shuttle operators Fox n Rox, and Big Rack Shuttles, depart from the general vicinity of Wasatch Boulevard and 3900 South, with a secondary pickup at the Mill D trailhead on the way up Big Cottonwood Canyon Road. If you are based in Park City, there are pickups on odd calendar days at Canyons Village lower parking lot and Park City Mountain Resort. All shuttles drop riders off at the top of Guardsman Pass. While the Mill Creek route is the granddaddy of them all, there are much shorter options including dropping west down the Mill D trail, or dropping to the Wasatch Back into Park City via classic trails like Pinecone—from the top of Puke Hill—and the Ridge Connector—at the north end of the Wasatch Crest trail. Both drop you down to Mid Mountain Mountain Trail. We’ll cover those options in another article.

Looking west from the Wasatch Crest trail towards Salt Lake.

Looking west from the Wasatch Crest trail towards Salt Lake.

Shuttle pricing may depend on the size of the group, but plan on about $10-15 per person.

We joined Fox N Rox twice this summer for the Mill Creek descent. I made the mistake once of being a few minutes late and almost missed the shuttle. These operators need to stick to a tight schedule. The drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon takes about 40 minutes, but it’s fun passing the time meeting other riders.

The ride starts with some fast and fun rollers that snake through pines and aspens. Before the big descent, you have to climb about 500 feet up Puke Hill—the name says it all. Once you summit, take a break and refuel.

At this point, you are on the Wasatch Crest proper. Here, as well as at a few saddles you’ll come to along the route, you’ll have stunning views of the western slope of the Wasatch Mountains as well as views to the east, down into Park City and the Uinta Mountains beyond.

As you resume the ride, there’s a bit of easy climbing for several miles, but it’s mostly up and down. Watch for the spine, a rocky technical section that provides a great opportunity to watch your friends fail miserably. Walk it if you are not completely comfortable.

Watch for the spine, a rocky technical section that provides a great opportunity to watch your friends fail miserably.

The classic descent starts about 8.2 miles into the ride, where the Wasatch Crest trail intersects the Great Western Trail just above above the Super Condor chair at Park City Canyons Village.

The map above also shows a new optional route, Mill Creek Meadows—according to mountain trails—that splits from the Wasatch Crest trail at 6.4 miles, in. This new trail is about a mile shorter and descends at a steeper rate. Either way, you’re looking at roughly 8 to 9 miles of fast descent, down to the Great Western trailhead parking lot.

Sunset in Mill Creek Canyon on the Great Western Trail.

Sunset in Mill Creek Canyon on the Great Western Trail.

Once you hit that parking lot, race cars down the paved Mill Creek Road for 3.0 miles to Pipleline trail for another 6.9 miles of single track. At this point, you’ll finally start getting views of Salt Lake. Watch for Rattlesnake Gulch, 6.2 miles from the Pipeline trailhead, where you hang a left down about 500 feet of steep, technical trail. Check out our review of Pipleline trail for more info. At the bottom of Rattlesnake Gulch, hang a right for a bit more paved riding down to your vehicle

This past summer, Fox n Rox shuttles were picking up from Skyline High School. If that pickup spot carries through to 2018, plan on not popping beers at the car after the ride.

PROTIP: If you have a designated driver, head over to Millcreek’s Bar Named Sue and grab a margarita. Word on the street is these bad boys take advantage of  a liquor law loophole and have more alcohol than your typical Utah cocktail.

Learn more about Fox n Rox at foxnroxshuttle.com. You’ll need to reserve a spot, so text Sly at 801-560-9804 and let him know how many are in your group, and what departure slot you are requesting.

I haven’t ridden with Big Rack Shuttles, but last I saw they were picking up at the UTA Park and Ride lot at the corner of Wasatch Boulevard and 3900 S. Learn more at bigrackshuttle.com or call them at 801-882-7225.

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About the author

Scott Cullins

Scott is publisher of wasatchrider.com, Wasatch Rider magazine and the Teton Valley WYDAHO Outdoor Guide and Map. After ten years in the Tetons, Scott moved to Park City in 2011 and, in 2017, moved down to Holladay, UT. Scott is a mountain biker and skier, and spends his spare time as a publishing consultant, providing creative services and advising clients on all matters publishing. Email Scott at scott@canyonmedia.us

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