Mud season (that awkward time between winter closing and summer opening) is the worst. The weather is slowly getting warmer, but the snow melt leaves the trails muddy and gross, and totally unhikeable. It's basically a month of eager and annoyed anticipation. Thankfully, it's over, and Trailblazer Tuesday is back! I'm happy to kick off the season with one of my favorite quicker Park City hikes: Masonic Hill.
Trails: Lost Prospector, Gambel Oak and Masonic Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes for 3.3 miles Difficulty: Intermediate Don't Forget: Water, good shoes, camera and a picnic lunch in your backpack
Masonic Hill, as you can see from the route picture above, is right in the middle of town. This means you get great views of all sides of Park City. It's also a relatively quick trail, with pretty minimal switchbacks.
To access one of the trail heads of Lost Prospector, drive up Aerie Drive where you'll see a few parking spots on the right side of the street. Park here, and continue walking until you see the trailhead on the right side of the street. (There is a trailhead on the left - this is where you'll end) The first part of the trail gives you a really great view of town, but then turns to face Deer Valley. Follow Lost Prospector until it dead ends into Mellow Mountain Road, where you'll head to the right, down the street, and access Gambel Oak Trail on your left.
From here, the trail gets really easy to navigate. Gambel Oak follows the hill around, showing a great view of the Deer Valley area and cruises to the back of the hill through a lot of aspens.
The trail feels pretty remote once you get to the backside of the hill. Last year, I did this hike alone and stumbled upon some very large game animal (I swear it was like a moose or something, but it probably was just a very large deer that looked a lot bigger when it moved), so be aware that you could run into some wildlife. It is a very peaceful trail through this stretch. Make sure you stay on Gambel Oak until you reach Masonic, and then follow all the Masonic Trail signs until you run into Lost Prospector again.
The trail curves back around to a great view of the Prospector area, and eventually back to facing Park City and Park City Mountain Resort.
This is where I'd recommend you stop for a picnic. There are a few rocks to the side of the trail that are great for sitting and resting on, and it's a great view of town. Plus, if you know anyone playing softball, this is a fun spot to watch the game from.
The trail, as I mentioned before, ends right where it starts. You can either get in your car and drive home or to your hotel, or head over to Atticus on Main Street for a refilling and refreshing smoothie if you opted out of the picnic.
Originally from the Pocono’s of Pennsylvania, Travis found his way to Park City three years ago and is now our grooming manager. When not in snowcat you can find him skiing or snowmobiling in the Utah backcountry or enjoying the skiing here at Park City Mountain Resort.
Nicole Roundy is a world class snowboarder on the US Paralympic Team. She is a cancer survivor, inspiration seeker, crossfit training, Park City riding superpower blogger. Follow her adventures right here. You can also spy her on twitter (@nicoleroundy) and Instragram (@nroundy)