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Old Vinyl – A New Classic

June 13, 2012

Thanks to the inspiration and planning of John Bartley, this route is certainly a keeper. I recommend this for anyone wanting a manageable 50k+ route with amazing views and spring access (A commodity in Utah).

Distance – 33.33 miles

Elevation – 6350′ elevation gain (all mostly above 8,000′)

Trail head – Mill D Parking

Starting from the Mill D parking area in Big Cottonwood Canyon, enjoy the brisk slow ascent up to the Dog Lake Junction (under 2 miles). From there take the left fork to Dog Lake as you continue to climb. If you time things right, you may have the fortune of seeing a moose on the south side of the lake when you arrive. Please remember to keep a respectful distance, the locals can be ornery.

Continue past the lake on the north side and descend via the Big Water Trail to the upper parking area of Millcreek (about 5 miles in to the run). Hopefully the fast descent and shaded trails reinvigorated you, if not enjoy a little splash from the creeek and make your way onto the Old Red Pine trail on the Easterly side of the parking lot. This is a recently built trail that parrallels the creek. When given a chance you will stay left until you have gone another 3 miles. You should be at the junction of the Great Western (about 8 miles). Stay right and begin climbing. In less then a mile you will come to a beautiful overlook of Park City. Take in the scenery and continue along the Great Western for another 1.5 miles. As you pass Desolation Lake, you come to the technical mountain biking section of Red Lovers Ridge, after you enjoy a few mtb. crashes, continue running along the Crest Trail until Scotts Pass (15 miles). Due to stashed water, we did descend to the Sleepy Hollow trail head and then returned to Scotts Pass, although this is not necessary, I would recommend having stashed water here. From Scotts we took the southerly most trail to Clayton Peak. Do not take any of the trails that descend off of the ridge to Bloods Lake or Lackawaxen Lake. Just before the Summit, a shoulder trail cuts back into Brighton Ski Resort (this is mile 19.5). Due to snow, we decided to take the service road back to Brighton and gradually ran back along Guardsman Pass back to Sleepy Hollow (About 24.75 miles). The remainder of the route returns back up to Scotts Pass, Puke Hill, along the Crest to Red Lover’s Ridge. Just past Red Lover’s turn left descending to Desolation Lake. I especially like the spring west of the lake and refill water there. The rest of the route is downhill to the Mill D parking area.

Warning, this is a popular route by many definitions. Expect on the weekends to see mountain bikers on the Big Water Trails and along the Crest. Hikers will be everywhere, but concentrated on Big Water, Dog Lake and Desolation Lake trails from Mill D. If you avoid these users and get out early, you will see runners. The Dog Lake and Desolation Lake Loop is VERY popular, as it should be. My last warning is that this is a HIGH altitude run. Be prepared for elevation. Most of the route, except a half mile in the beginning is above 8,000′.

Now can you figure out why it is called Old Vinyl??

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