Snowbird resides in Little Cottonwood Canyon where the terrain is rugged and steep. As a result, there are only a handful of mountain bike trails but the best-known trail is Big Mountain Trail
which is a downhill-only trail (after 11am) and starts about 50 yards below the Snowbird Tram.
To ride this trail you can pay $20+ and go up on the tram or you can make your way up on a network of Snowbird dirt roads.
During operating hours, you can get a cold drink and food at the Tram Station but check ahead of time.
There are a couple of routes up to the highest peak in Snowbird (Tram Station), but the most scenic and most balanced from an ascent perspective is this route. You'll climb a little over 3,000 ft in 7 miles. What I love about this route is that you get to see the backside of Snowbird as well which overlooks Mineral Basin at the top of American Fork Canyon. This is my favorite summer loop because it can be 90+ degrees down in the Salt Lake Valley and you'll be averaging mid 60's as you make your way up this route.
To start this route, park on the road (there is plenty of parking on Alta By-Pass Road) just above the Cliff Lodge which is the lodge furthest up Canyon at the Snowbird resort and just below the town of Alta. You'll have to climb about 0.75 miles up the Alta By-Pass Road and then right before it rejoins Little Cottonwood Canyon Road you'll make a right onto E. Peruvian Acre Road. You'll climb about 0.25 miles up this road before it turns into a dirt road. Now you're on the dirt course and can follow the route.
You'll climb along a wider trail for a while which will then open up to a series of dirt roads. These roads are closed to vehicles so you'll only encounter hikers and mountain bikers, no vehicles except for a rare Snowbird maintenance vehicle. The views are beautiful along the climb and while there are steep grades along the way, there are several sections where the grades are relaxed so that you can have a little recovery.
Once at the top of the climb (Snowbird Tram Station), take a well-deserved break before heading down. The Big Mountain Trail
is about 50 yards below the Tram station. There is a sign that says "No Mountain Bikes" right at the top, which indicates they want you to walk the 50 yards down to the trailhead. If I find people on the trail, I walk my bike, but most of the time I'm the only one up there so I ride down to the trail start.
The downhill trail is well marked. It is high speed and has a lot of small jumps along the way as well as some aggressive but well-maintained switchbacks and a few technical sections where you have to maneuver over short sections of rocky landslides. I agree this trail deserves a difficult rating but 90% of it is intermediate which is to say you can walk the few technical sections if you are so inclined so this is an OK trail for an experienced intermediate rider who is in good shape and ready for the strenuous climb.
The trail drops you out at the Cliff Lodge so this loop is set up so that when you start the downhill at the top, there is no more climbing, except for maybe 50-100 feet at the bottom. Enjoy!