Pioneer Trail is an original section of the route the Mormon settlers used to get to the Salt Lake Valley. The East section is a well-published single-track out/back. Due to the historical significance and proximity to Salt Lake City, it gets lots of traffic, so give it up for foot and uphill traffic.
It gradually climbs east to west, has great scenery, wildlife, technical streambeds (wet in season), and recently, some cool NS style bridges have appeared. It's descent can be devoured in the big ring on a cross-country hard-tail due to the smooth track, subtle turns, and near level grade. It is fun and fast with an occasional tech section for advanced riders, is an easy grade for when you're out of shape. However, I've gotten in trouble recommending it to beginers.
(from the top) The trail drops in to the east. It is about five miles one way I think. The half-mile at the top is the only steep section. There is a short split near the top that is a little confusing (I prefer the south side), but it rejoins shortly. Near the bottom is a fence and a bridge across East Canyon Creek. Here is the lower trailhead, that can be accessed by the dirt road running from Jeremy Ranch to East Canyon.
You can start at the top or bottom. To get to the top, head east from Salt Lake up Parley's Canyon on I-80, take exit 134 (East Canyon, Mt Dell) and head north. At the top of the hill is the Big Mt Pass parking lot. To get to the bottom, take the dirt road north-west of the Jeremy Ranch Golf Course.
Summary: This is a great trail, not to be missed if you are in the area. Park City has some great singletrack, but the better trails are so crowded and you are always within just a few miles of civilization. I live in Salt Lake and ride the Pioneer Trail regularly, and I have never seen more than three or four riders/hikers on the trail at a time. It feels very isolated from the bottom near Jeremy Ranch, and the views at the top are spectacular, without ski lifts and freeways to spoil them. The trail itself has some aerobic, challenging sections, but the uphill overall is just a steady grind that makes you feel great when you reach the top (it saves the steepest part for last) and completely exhilarated when you hit the bottom coming down. The trail wasn't built for bikes, but sections of it feel like it almost was, the way the trail is banked perfectly and the little stunts here and there. Watch out for the rocky creek crossings -- they are bumpy, but nothing your full-suspension can't handle. There is usually a standing pool of water about a foot deep toward the bottom in a swampy area, and it is impossible to go around, so be prepared to get your feet wet regardless of the season.
Recommended Route: Start by following the road north out of Jeremy Ranch. The trailhead is well marked, you can't miss it. I don't think there are any trails branching off the main trail, so don't worry about getting lost.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Spiro, John's Trail, Wasatch Crest, Glenwild
Summary: I think this is one of the best trails around. I also agree with the other guy that said it's best to start at the Jeremy Ranch side and bike up first so you can enjoy the incredible descent last. I would not rate this as a beginner trail because of all the streams, tree roots, rocks etc. Overall I rate this as one of the best bike trails along the Wasatch front.
Review Date February 19, 2003
Overall Rating 1 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Visitors rate this review 1.00 of 5,
Reviewed by: Owen
, from heber
Summary: Great ride when your out of shape and don't want to feel like your out shape. Great comming down, but watch your speed unless you know the trail. Stream crossings can be tricky if your coming in at thirty miles an hour. Not technical, but still so much fun.
Recommended Route: From Jermy Ranch side.
Other recommended trails in the same area: I could not possibly list them all. The Wasatch range has it all.
Review Date February 20, 2002
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Ridden Trail: Please Select
Reviewed by: exiii
, from Murray UT USA
Summary: I LOVE THIS TRAIL! Definitely a big-ring ride with a few rapid decelerations. A couple of shallow, rocky river crossings. A few big tree dismounts. I haven't seen the bike bridges, but it's been a while. I hurt my shoulder BAD on this ride when I turned a slow corner going way too fast and hit a small tree that crossed the trail. The flight was nice, but the landing was a bit rough. It'll be so smooth and quick that you forget about the little obstacles that are on this trail. I just wish the year lasted longer.
Recommended Route: I like starting behind Jeremy Ranch to get the uphill out of the way and just enjoy the ride down.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Wasatch Crest. Upper Millcreek Cyn.