The crowded slickrock trails crisscrossing the center of the mountain biking universe are just a small part of the great cycling found in Utah. From the northern mountains to central Utah's San Rafael Swell to the high red rock plateaus down south, the Beehive State has it all.
"It has desert and true Alpine terrain, a tremendous amount of public lands, a major metropolitan area that offers every amenity that a visitor could want," said Salt Lake City's Gregg Bromka, author of The Mountain Biker's Guide to Utah.
"Other than Moab and Park City, Utah doesn't get a lot of promotion for mountain biking. That's good for the locals. Salt Lake never makes those list of best cycling cities. That's an oversight."
What follows is a list of alternatives to Moab for cycling this summer.
1. Wasatch Front
Salt Lake City residents have superb riding in their backyard in the form of the new Bonneville Shoreline Trail, under construction along the prehistoric eastern shore of the Great Salt Lake's ancient predecessor.
While the trail's eastern and northern benches gets overused after work, the Weber and Davis county segments remain uncrowded most of the time. Another nearby alternative is the 13-mile Mueller Park loop above Bountiful. The preferred direction is to pedal up North Canyon over Rudys Flat and down the Mueller Park Trail.
2. Park City trails
Bike trails abound around Park City and more are being built every year, Bromka said. A nice family ride follows the Union Pacific Rail Trail, a 26-mile rail bed between Park City and Echo Reservoir. More challenging trails can be accessed from the top of Park City's Main Street, starting with Daly Canyon. In addition, Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley have developed trail systems.
3. Beaver Creek Trail
Nordic skiers enjoy the 9-mile trail in the western Uinta Mountains, off the Mirror Lake Highway. The same trail is a great family area for mountain biking. A fun intermediate ride can be found farther up the highway at Soapstone Basin, which is coursed with jeep roads that can be strung together for some scenic loop rides.
4. A Fork in the Trail
There is no shortage of challenging rides at the head of American Fork Canyon. Try the Pine Hollow Trail that sets off toward Tibble Fork Reservoir from the top of the the Alpine Scenic Loop Highway.
5. The Bear River Mountains
Outside Logan, these mountains offer an easy weekend getaway for Salt Lake cyclists. "A family ride would be the Logan River Trail along Highway 89," Bromka advises. The real goods can be found up the right fork of Logan Canyon where the hard core cycle 14 miles up Logan Peak, a 5,700-foot climb that Bromka calls "a painfully pleasurable assault."