Top Ten National Parks for Biking

Canyonlands National Park
Since southern Utah is packed full of parks, you may have a hard time deciding which to ride first. Although Arches , Bryce Canyon , Capitol Reef , and Zion are all noteworthy destinations, Canyonlands is both Utah's largest national park and its least visited—play your cards right and you can have this otherworldly landscape all to yourself. Millions of years of erosion have eaten away softer stone and left the harder, creating an unbelievable landscape of mesas, canyons, and pinnacles, all painted in rich desert colors. Bike amidst and atop layer upon layer of sedimentary rock sliced and shaped by the Green and the Colorado Rivers.

Note: Spring and fall are the best times for extended trips, since hot summer days discourage riding.

On the Road

Grand View Point offers a 24-mile out-and-back tour of the Island in the Sky—a high mesa that overlooks canyon country from over 1,000 feet above. Though the pavement rolls along at a gentle grade, the ride is long and the, uh, grand views of high-desert scenery are bound to make it even longer. You can spy a good deal of southeastern Utah from the trail, looking out across the canyons and mountain ranges for hundreds and hundreds of miles. Once you reach the turnaround at Grand View Point, continue on foot (less than a mile) for a good look at Junction Butte, cut off from the Island by erosion, as well as the White Rim Trail far below. If you have legs and lungs to spare on the way back, tackle a five-mile spur out to Upheaval Dome Overlook to complete your Island tour.

We suggest: To avoid traffic, beat the heat, and see canyon country in the best light, go either early morning or late in the day.


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