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Away from the lift lines and away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Park City lies the small town of Kamas, UT. Kamas, known as the gateway to the Unitas Mountains, sits in the rolling foothills. Kamas is home to cattle ranches, tumbleweeds and, much to our delight, the High Star Ranch Trail System.
The High Star Ranch trails area is a relatively new trail project and it’s clear that they were well thought out before the first shovel ever broke ground. Designed and built by the local mountain biking community, these trails flow and track in directional layouts. While there are a few multi-directional trails, the main climb up and the main descent down are one-way only. This helps keep riders safe, and the directional design also allows for efficient trails to the top and ripping fun downhills.
Under the guidance of White Pine Touring and local pro and ambassador Eric Porter, we filled up on the delicious offerings of the Woodland Biscuit Co. A mixture of down-home southern cooking and continental fair, the Woodland Biscuit Co. packs enough fuel on the plate for a big day out in the mountains, which was where we were headed.
Parking at the trailhead is a non-issue; the public lot is big enough to accommodate a crowd for an NFL Monday Night game. From the lot, it’s up and up as the trail snakes its way through sage and lavender at minor gradients. Make no mistake, you will know that you are climbing in the summer sun of Utah as there is no shade, but the pitch and the terrain allow you to settle into a rhythm once you find the proper gear.
After two days of riding chairlifts and waiting in ticket lines at the resorts, High Star delivered a bit of solitude amongst nature as we wound our way around the opening climb. Dipping in and out of the high brush, I imagined myself riding these trails on a regular basis if I was a resident there. For a bit more tech and gnar, the descent back to the parking lot offered a heaping serving of places to get rad. (As was demonstrated by Mr. Porter) Drops, jumps, and rock gardens kept everyone with dropper post down as we tested our boundaries of how long we let the brakes go.
When the dust settled and it had been decided that lunch was earned, we simply re-racked the bikes and went to find a table at State Road Tavern and Restaurant. Conveniently located in the same lot as the trailhead, it would be almost senseless to go find lunch somewhere else.
While we didn’t ride every inch of the trails offered at High Star Ranch, the experience is well worth the trip if you are already in the area. Wide-open views and solitude are worth their weight in gold but, lucky for you, there is no fee to ride these trails. With 15 miles of trails built over the last two seasons with more planned, High Star Ranch is quickly becoming a destination amongst destinations.
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Author: Brett Rothmeyer