Regional Guide

Biking - Southeast Utah and Canyon Country

You can't come to southeast Utah—let alone Moab—without riding the famous Slickrock Trail, where sticky sandstone lets the average Joe ride like a pro. Slickrock is a rollercoaster ride of short, steep slopes, but you'll probably need to do a little pushing now and then—especially with the heat and high altitude. Bring your camera for views of Moab Valley, the Colorado River, and Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

For a real backcountry adventure, take on Canyonlands's White Rim Trail. This 100-mile, multi-day loop runs through the heart of Canyon Country along a shelf of White Rim sandstone. Sheer cliffs rise above you to the Island of the Sky mesa, while the Green and Colorado Rivers run 1,000 feet below. Unless you feel like tackling the trail with a fully loaded bike, this trip requires a four-wheel-drive support vehicle to carry water and supplies.

There's more to southeast Utah than kick-ass mountain biking. Roadies should try Trail of the Ancients, a scenic 105-mile loop that begins in Blanding, near Edge of the Cedars State Park. Enjoy views of the Abajos range, check out ancient Indian ruins, visit Natural Bridges National Monument, and camp beneath the Utah stars.

For a wicked challenge and breathtaking scenery, check out Poison Spider Mesa and the Portal. Tackle the three-mile, 700-foot climb (plus some sandy stretches) and you'll have the opportunity to walk out onto Little Window Arch for a view of the river valley 800 feet below. Dare to ride the entire trail and you'll enjoy panoramic views of Moab, Arches, and the Colorado—just before you scream down the nerve-wracking, single-track descent.

To escape the Moab crowds, check out a local fave: Amasa Back. This interesting out-and-back ascends a peninsula surrounded by the Colorado River on three sides; the Kayenta sandstone has been worn into gentle ledges, and the grade will test your legs and lungs. When you reach the top, take in views of Poison Spider Mesa, the Colorado, and Canyonlands. Ride to the trail's end for an 18-mile round-trip, or turn around at any point and put your suspension to the test as you chug back downstairs.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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