Riding the White Rim Trail: A Unique Mountain Biking Trip
By Julie Trevelyan
Mountain biking the famous White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park is a fabulously fun experience! Imagine swooping along the trail, taking in views of rock formations with names like Candlestick Tower and Turks Head. Imagine the vistas extending as far as you can possibly see, offering up a landscape like no other with its sandstone crags, buttes, pinnacle, canyons, and distant mountains. Imagine a great campsite, excellent food, and fun company as you all exchange your heroic war stories from the day’s ride under the sprawling blanket of stars or the clear light of the moon. That’s what we’re talking about!
The White Rim Trail is an incomparable mountain biking journey for several reasons. What makes it special to begin with is it goes through a national park, most of which limit or prohibit back country biking. Better yet, the trail passes around truly spectacular, very unique geologic formations, the likes of which you’ll not see elsewhere in the world. When the scenery is such eye candy that you have to remind yourself to keep an eye on the trail so your wheels stay on it, you know you’re on a matchless adventure. Another huge draw is the 100+-mile length of the White Rim Trail, which means for most people that it’ll be a multi-day tour. Being in the back country for days on end is how to truly understand and appreciate Utah’s magnificent landscape as well as slow down your inner clock while you speed through on lung-powered transportation.
The best times of year to mountain bike the White Rim Trail are spring and fall: April, May, September, and October. The potential for the most clement weather happens in these shoulder months. Since they’re popular, plan ahead—spaces can fill up well ahead of trip time.
This active mountain biking vacation is for more practiced mountain bikers. The terrain is off road and fairly challenging, which means it’s not for you if you’ve only ridden your exercise bike in the living room—you already need to be a regular on the trails near your home. Ride your bike outside every day to get ready for the White Rim Trail. (You can bring your own bike on this trip, or use one of ours.)
If you’ll be around for a while just before or after your White Rim biking extravaganza, check out nearby Moab for restaurants, hotels and bed & breakfasts, and shops to browse. Try the Love Muffin Café for a quick but totally delicious breakfast. Right near our headquarters in Green River is the John Wesley Powell Museum, which will give
you an excellent overview of the area history, including the landscape you’ll pedal through. Arches National Park, which borders Moab, is easy to reach. With over 2,000 natural arches, this park offers tons of exploring options, from simple strolls to all-day hikes. Scramble through the Fiery Furnace (ranger-guided is suggested) for an exciting immersion in the geologic highlights of this park. If you want to see the rest of Canyonlands, rest assured that its scope means there’s plenty to explore. Horseshoe Canyon is a stunning outlying unit of the park that showcases ancient native American rock art on the desert varnished walls.
Most of all, just prepare to get red dirt under your nails, strong thighs from pumping along the trail, terrific memories to log into the brain photo album, and many thrilled smiles on your sun-kissed face. This is a bucket list adventure like no other, and we think you’ll enjoy the heck out of it.
Written by Julie Trevelyan.
Julie is a freelance writer and wilderness guide in southern Utah. She especially enjoys books, coffee, yoga, wild country, horses, and dark chocolate.
See more of her work at www.wildgirlwriting.com