9 Reasons (Besides Moab) to Mountain Bike in Utah


6. In the San Rafael Swell

Check out the 10-mile Temple Mountain loop to see the remains of the ruined uranium mining industry in a scenic desert setting. There is an intermediate 16-mile point-to- point ride on jeep trail in the rock art-filled Black Dragon Wash, near Interstate 70. There's also plenty of easy riding north of the swell up Nine Mile Canyon out of Wellington. 

7. Bryce Canyon National Park

Most visitors to the park drive up State Highway 12 through Red Canyon without giving this scenic marvel the attention it deserves. Five years ago, the U.S. Forest Service built one of the finest trails on the canyon's southern rim, the 8-mile Thunder Mountain Trail.

For another good loop, ride up Red Canyon Trail and down Losee Canyon. Dixie National Forest plans to build the 78-mile nonmotorized Grand View Trail, from Sheep Creek around the southern rim of the Paunsaugunt Plateau to the Thunder Mountain trailhead at the mouth of Red Canyon. 

8. Vernal Voyages

Year-round riding on non-motorized trails can be found at Ashley National Forest in the eastern Uintas Mountains. Additionally, just north of town is the 40-mile Red Cloud loop on gravel and paved roads. Elk Park, off State Highway 44, offers a mix of dirt roads and single track on the way around the Ute Mountain Lookout. 

9. Southwestern Utah

This locale is emerging as a world-class mountain bike destination, but it should be avoided until after the summer heat wanes in September.

Start with Gooseberry Mesa just outside Zion National Park. Outside Hurricane, the BLM just finished a new trail system around the Hurricane Rim above the Virgin River.

The St. George area has numerous interlinking loops that can be configured into rides of varying distances and technical challenges, says Jared Wilkinson, a mechanic at Bicycles Unlimited.

Near the town of Washington is Church Rocks, featuring a slickrock playground, while closer to town is the 8-mile Turtle Loop on Dixie Rock Mesa and the Bear Claw Poppy Trail.

Related Article:

The Perfect Ride in Moab: Fun for You and the Family

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