Recommended Mountain Bike Trail - Charlie's 9k

Posted by Sean Matyja on Tuesday, July 19th, 2022 at 9:49am.

charlies 9k trail in park city utah

If you are visiting Park City and only have time to do one mountain bike ride, a trail we would recommend is Charlie's 9K Trail. As the name implies, the 9K Trail meanders up and down at an elevation of around 9000 feet. This trail is similar to the very popular Mid-Mountain Trail at 8000 feet. Charlie's 9K is easy to get to and can be biked (or hiked) as an out-and-back, enabling you to determine how far out you want to go and simply turn around and ride back. In the hot summer months, this is an ideal trail to ride as it is at a high elevation which is naturally cooler. Additionally, much of the ride is under the canopy of a mix of aspens and fir trees, providing a nice amount of shade from the sun.

The 9K Trail is relatively easy to get to, and there is convenient public parking at the trailhead. From the town of Park City, drive up Marsac Avenue, which turns into Highway 224, also known as Guardsman Pass. Once at the summit of Guardsman Pass, follow along on Highway 224 (heading west) until you see the Bonanza Flats public parking lot (on your left).

bonanza flat parking for charlies 9k trail

From the Bonanza Flats parking lot, the first trail you will see across the street (to the North) is the Empire Pass Connector. That will take you up the hillside, and you will quickly see signs for the 9K Trail. Also, in this location is a trail network following the ridge line that offers distant views and is great for hiking. There is also the popular hike down to Blood's Lake with a separate parking lot just up the road.

The 9K trail is approximately 5.5 miles long, featuring intermediate terrain. Much of the trail is smooth rolling single-track, but a few sections require you to climb up or roll over exposed tree roots and rocky obstacles. There is one section of extensive rocks that is tricky to navigate. With an out-and-back trail, you can head out as far as you like, and at any point, you can turn around and head back to the start - allowing you to determine the length of your ride. If you take the 9K Trail to the end, intersecting with the Blazing Saddles trail, the ride time would be about one hour, with approximately another one hour to return. If you turn around and head back, the journey home is slightly more downhill and seems to go a little faster.

Charlies 9k trail map

distant views from the charlies 9k trail

aspen trees along charlies 9k trail

If you decide to continue on a longer ride, you can head up the Blazing Saddles trail and Scott's Bypass, which ends at Guardsman Pass Road. Once there, you can turn around and come back down Scott's Bypass, down Blazing Saddles, then return on the 9K Trail. Adding Blazing Saddles and Scott's Bypass will likely add about 30 to 45 minutes to your ride. From the top of Scott's Bypass, you will see amazing views into Big Cottonwood Canyon, looking down to Brighton Ski Resort and Solitude Ski Resort.

view to brighton and solitude from scotts bypass trail in park city utah

While adventuring out on the 9K Trail, you will come across many additional trails. Most are marked with great signage provided by the Mountain Trails Foundation in Park City, Utah. If staying on the 9K Trail is your goal, the signage is easy to follow. If you are looking for extended rides, there are so many options continuing from the 9K Trail to other great trails throughout the Park City at Deer Valley areas.

trail maker signs along the charlies 9k trail

Before any mountain bike ride in Park City, we highly recommend stopping at one of the local bike shops to purchase a Mountain Trails map. They are updated and printed annually. With so many trails throughout the area, it is not just helpful but nearly required to have the map on hand. When planning your ride, check out the interactive map feature on the Mountain Trails Foundation website. It's an intuitive way to plan your day and find new rides to conquer.

Curious about other trail options to hike or bike? Give us a call and we would be happy to make some recommendations.

Sean Matyja - Realtor® / Associate Broker
Mobile: (435) 901-2158 | Email: 

Leave a Comment

Have a Question?

Contact Us

Follow Us