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The Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park is a 28-mile, high-elevation trail that follows I-80, from the charming streets of Park City through the smaller communities of Wanship and Coalville to Echo Reservoir. In 2010, this incredibly scenic rail-trail joined the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.
From a starting elevation of approximately 6,800 feet in Park City, you can cruise down the gentle 2% grade along Silver Creek for 14 miles through a narrow volcanic canyon. As the scenery transitions to wetlands and farms near Wanship and Silver Creek Canyon, a menagerie of wildlife—including fox, bald eagles, herons, moose, deer and beaver—often appears near the trail. The trail surface is primarily gravel, except for 3 miles from Park City north and a 0.5-mile section in Wanship. These asphalt sections are suitable for wheelchairs and in-line skaters.
After passing through the outskirts of Coalville, visitors will emerge at the bottom of Echo Reservoir, a Summit County water source and hotspot for recreational boating and fishing. Not only does the Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park showcase the environmental diversity of this area, it helps celebrate the region's rich history.
The rail-trail follows the route of a historical railroad line that transported coal and silver ore during the region's mining heyday in the 1860s. To help commemorate this heritage, Summit County's Restaurant Tax Grant Committee provided the Mountain Trails Foundation with funds to place 16 plaques along the trail. These markers highlight the early Mormon settlers and ill-fated Donner family wagon train, the trail's intersection with the once-influential Lincoln Highway and the excavation site of Ice Age mammoths, among other historical sites and events.
To reach the southern trailhead in Park City: Take I-80 to Exit 146 for US 40 E./US 189 S. After 3 miles, take Exit 4 (for Park City) and take a right onto UT 248 W./Kearns Blvd. After traveling west on Kearns 2.6 miles, turn left onto Bonanza Drive, and look for the trailhead just past Munchkin Road. Parking is available on side streets.
To reach the northern trailhead at Echo Reservoir in Echo State Park (2115 North Echo Dam Road, Coalville): From I-80 in Echo, take Exit 169 and turn left (under the decorative orange bridge) onto Echo Dam Road. Continue south 2.2 miles until you see the parking lot on your right (a $6 parking fee applies).
Trailheads are also available in Wanship and Coalville, and access is available at several other locations along the route.
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