Paddling and Pedaling

Canyonlands and Plateau Country
Just the Facts

Best time of year: The desert season is an extended one, lasting from April through October (come prepared for cold at either end). High water enthusiasts will aim for June, while those inclined to avoid crowds will wait for fall. Midsummer can be scorching for riding, and spring break in the canyon country is a madhouse. Permits are required for many areas, and, in some cases, may involve up to a year's advance notice.

Access: From I-70, south on Highways 191 at Crescent Junction, or 128 near Cisco. From the Four Corners region, access via Highway 191. Hazards: Big-time whitewater along several stretches of river, tourist crowds, extreme heat, lack of drinking water, desert critters, remoteness.

Information: Moab Information Center 800/635-MOAB;
Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association, 303/241-9561;
Canyonlands National Park



If there is a mountain-biking capital of the world, Moab, Utah, is a likely candidate. And it's little wonder. The canyon and rim country of central Utah and western Colorado is unparalleled for its scenic panoramas, exhilarating terrain, and natural splendor. Highlights include the White Rim Trail, an 85-mile mountain biker's haven through canyon country, the Needles district of Canyonland National Park, the Maze, and the recently created Kokapelli Trail, a 125-mile route along the Colorado River connecting Loma, Colorado, with Moab.

At the same time, boaters can choose from a delectable menu of flatwater and whitewater entrees that include Westwater and Cataract Canyons (for the skilled and daring), Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons of the Green River (calm paddling and outstanding hiking), and the Colorado River upstream of Moab ("The Daily"), with some moderate whitewater.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 8 Nov 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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