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Looking for some great places to mountain bike with kind in Park City, Heber City, and the rest of the Wasatch Back? I’m here to help! Last year, we decided that our family would get serious about mountain biking together. At the time our kids were 12, 9, 7, 5, and 2. Shockingly, we found tons of great trail options for all the kids to mountain bike in Park City and Heber and I’m thrilled to share some of our favorite kid friendly biking trails with you.
How good do kids need to be at biking to mountain bike?
Many parents that I’ve chatted with are really scared to mountain bike with their kids, or think that it’s something that’s best suited for teens and adults. The truth is that even the youngest kids can enjoy mountain biking, so get them on the trail as soon as possible. We started our 5-year-old on easy mountain biking trails only about 6 months after he had learned to confidently ride a bike on the sidewalk.
If you’re wanting to get your kids mountain biking, my best advice is to start them on a dirt road, and then naturally progress to smaller trails with a few more bumps and turns each time.
For kids to learn how to mountain bike, they should know how to pedal standing up (for climbing uphill), how to stop without slamming on the brakes, and how to shift gears while riding if they have a gear bike. To start mountain biking, your kids can use any old bike, but if they get serious about it, a lightweight bike like this one, will make a significant difference. Our 5-year-old started mountain biking on his heavy BMX bike and always was frustrated by the things he couldn’t do. We got him this bike, and suddenly his confidence and skills skyrocketed. His bike doesn’t have shocks or even big knobby tires. However, the frame is perfectly suited to kids (not just a small adult bike) AND the ultralight weight makes it so easy for him to maneuver and keep up with everyone else. If you want a seriously great bike, this is the one that I recommend to all our friends.
Even our toddler loves to go mountain biking with us and can ride easy trails and pump tracks on his balance bike.
Since this is likely new territory, remember to help your kids feel confident about their riding skills. Mountain biking may be a bit outside of their comfort zone, but that doesn’t mean it’s beyond their ability, so plan on being extra supportive and encouraging.
Tips To Help Kids Learn To Mountain Bike
Want to help your kids learn to mountain bike? Here are a few tips to get them started as a beginning mountain biker.
- Teach them to ride downhill with their pedals level and standing up a little. If they are pedaling a lot around corners, they’re likely to have a pedal hit the ground and make them crash, so encourage them to hold their pedals still, especially on downhill sections.
- Teach them that it’s okay to walk. DOn’t force your kids to ride trails they’re not comfortable with, or they’ll probably just end up hating biking. Be patient and let them ride harder sections when they’re ready.
- Have them keep a few fingers lightly over their brake. This will help them have faster reaction times and be able to stop fast when they need to.
Best Gear for Mountain Biking With Kids
There are a couple of pieces of mountain biking gear that have been game changers for our kids. These are the pieces of kids mountain bike gear that we recommend to everyone we meet.
The first is a Tow-Whee Strap. It straps to the front of your kids bike and connects to an adult seat to help pull them up hills. It’s basically a giant bungee cord, and helps kids get uphill faster, AND it doesn’t make riding much more difficult for the adult. It really helps younger riders because they don’t use all their energy getting up the hill, so they can ride longer and farther.
Next is a Kids Ride Shotgun seat. This is hands down the best seat for allowing your toddler to mountain bike with you. It connects to the crossbar of an adult bike and allows your toddler to see and experience mountain biking, just like you do. Before we got this, we tried several other bike seats and our trailer and they were all really rough rides that had our 2-year-old begging us to stop. Now that we got this, he literally can’t stop giggling while we bike together.
Woom bikes. I mentioned above that having this bike was a game changer for our 5-year-old. The truth is that his 7-year-old brother regularly steals this bike from him because it’s so much easier than the Trek bike he has. If you want your kid to really love mountain biking, a great bike is the best investment you can make. This bike is super light, which means that instead of spending all their energy maneuvering their bike, they can focus on RIDING!
Best Mountain Bike Trail For Kids In Park City
Park city has one of the best networks of mountain bike trails for kids in Utah. To really get a good idea of all the trails that are there, download the trailforks app and you’ll be blow away by how many mountain bike trails Park City has. Some of the best biking trails for kids in Utah are here in Park City
Round Valley is our go-to for a nice simple mountain bike ride with kids in Park City. The climbs aren’t too steep, making the downhill sections perfect for beginning riders. It’s really family friendly and you’ll see riders of all ages and abilities mountain biking here
There is no shade at Round Valley, so it’s not somewhere that you want to ride on a summer afternoon, but it’s a perfect spot to grab a picnic and then enjoy an evening family ride.
From the trailhead, the easiest way up Round Valley is on Fast Pitch. The trail is wide and has a gentle slope making that uphill climb a little bit easier. It’s a great little stretch to warm the legs up and get everyone riding together. From there, you will find countless spurs off of the trail that lead either up or down the mountain. We typically go up until the kids legs are too tired, and then find a good trail down. Often our older kids will want to ride farther than the younger kids, but most of the trails funnel back to the same bottom area, it’s a great place to let them ride a bit on their own. Our kids favorite downhill biking trails in Park City’s Round Valley are Downward Dog, Matt’s Flat, and Barrell Roll, but there are so many trails that you could almost ride a new combination of loops every time.
The RTS bike trail in Park City is great for beginners since it doesn’t have many rocks, which helps beginners feel a bit more confident when riding on the dirt, since there are fewer obstacles to avoid. Our kids love it because the trail has lots of good flow sections where they can practice leaning into their turns, or where more confident kids can really get cruising and going at faster speeds. Riding the RTS trail always feels like a treat since the views of Park City from this ebay mountain biking trail are absolutely beautiful.
The RTS trail starts ¼ mile up Olympic Parkway below the Utah Olympic Park. The entire loop is 2.5 miles, so it’s a great ride for beginners. It’s a great distance for family mountain bike rides because younger kids are usually done after 1 lap, but it’s short enough that you can send older kids out on a lap of their own after everyone has done a lap together.
Trailside is our family’s favorite park in all of Park City, and not just for mountain biking. There is a giant skills area that has a couple of pump tracks, a beginners trail and even a downhill skills area. There are also lots of intermediate and expert trails and skills areas as well. As a mom, I love that I can have all my kids doing different things and I can still keep an eye on everyone.
Our older kids always want to ride much longer than the little ones so we are thrilled that there is a skate park there (which is usually pretty empty), and the most amazing playground in the entire area. We always take a picnic with us, since we can easily spend 3 hours at Trailside without even trying. It’s the best mountain bike area with kids of different abilities in Park City.
Heber City and Midway Mountain Bike Trails for Kids
Just a short drive from Park City, you’ll head into Heber Valley and find even more great mountain bike trails for kids. While the biking trail system in Heber City and Midway isn’t as extensive as Park City, you’ll still find lots of great places to mountain bike with kids. Here are some of our favorites:
Pine Canyon Bike Park
The Pine Canyon Bike Park in Midway Utah is a new mountain biking area that is perfect for kids. There is a beginner pump track which kids will love as well as a beginner flow section leading down from the pump track to the parking lot. Above that there are intermediate and expert flow tracks which are perfect for helping kids improve their mountain bike skills.
From the bike park, you can easily connect to the other biking trails in Wasatch Mountain State Park including Dutch Hollow and the WOW trail. The bike park is located in Wasatch Mountain State Park, so you’ll need to pay an entrance fee or have an annual state parks pass.
Dutch Hollow is a major mountain bike area between Midway and Heber and is a great place for kids to practice their mountain bike riding. There are lots of trails, with the easier trails closer to the bottom and the more difficult and rockier trails are higher up. If you’ve got a beginning mountain biker, the Cottontail and Sage loops are great places to start. If your child is a more advanced mountain bike rider, they’ll probably love the Barrel Trail, which is my kids favorite.
There is no shade in most of Dutch Hollow so it’s best to avoid riding here on hot afternoons.Dutch Hollow is part of Wasatch Mountain State Park, so if you are riding there, you’ll need a parks pass.
Coyote Canyon is a local favorite Utah mountain bike area for families. It’s got lots of gentle slopes and gradual inclines with twisting trails that kids will love mountain biking on. You can park at either UVU or at Coyote Lane, but the easier trails are best accessed from Coyote Lane. All the biking here is through sagebrush, so don’t expect any shade.