It’s springtime! Dig your short sleeved shirts out of the closet, break out the camping gear, and dust off your mountain bike. There’s no better way to kick off the warmer seasons than with a trip to Canyonlands, where you can soak in the sun on world-famous trails, stargaze in the cool, crisp nights, and see the stunning, unique geography of the Colorado Plateau.
Here are the 5 things we love most about springtime mountain biking trips in Canyonlands!
Imagine the perfect mountain biking trip. Would it be spread out over four challenging (but not too challenging) days of riding through stunning, world-famous terrain? Would there be all kinds of side canyons and vistas to hike to, and crystal clear nights for stargazing? Would you get wide-open, moderate rides with occasional 1000-foot climbs and drops on twisty, cliffside paths?
If you answered yes to those questions, then you need to check out Canyonlands’ White Rim Trail. This trail ends up on every biker’s bucket list and, with its varied terrain, is ideal for people of all skill levels and ages.
The White Rim Trail follows the old White Rim Road around the “Island in the Sky” district of Canyonlands. On this trail you will pass Mussleman Arch, Monument Basin, Turks head, Candlestick Tower, and White Crack, where you can view the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers from a 1000-foot vista.
Because there’s no water along this 100 mile trail, you will need a support vehicle with you. In fact, the trip is most fun when you have professional support that can take care of all the logistics for you, from a tire flat to a gourmet meal (wink wink).
- The Stunning, Wild Geography: Slick Rock, Red Dirt and Flowing Rivers
If you’ve spent any time hiking around the Moab area, then you’ve likely scrambled on a bit of its famous ‘slick’ rock. This rock is, in fact, anything but slippery. Its sandpaper texture grips to your shoe soles like velcro, making it the perfect surface for climbing, running, and, of course, mountain biking.
The bike trails in Canyonlands will take you across vast mesas of this ‘slick’ rock which can, in some sections, get quite technical. When you aren’t biking on the sandstone in Canyonlands, you are biking on soft, rich dirt that ranges from a rusty orange color to a vibrant red. It’s beautiful, but still nothing compared to what you’ll see when you look up.
Biking through Canyonlands offers you an opportunity to see the best that the Colorado Plateau has to offer: arches, hoodoos, sheer cliffs, and raging rivers. There’s no better way to see it all than from behind two handlebars!
If White Rim Trail is the star of the Canyonlands biking show, then the Maze is the underappreciated, but perhaps even more impressive, supporting character.
The Maze is Canyonlands’ least developed and most remote district. It takes hours of high-clearance, off-road driving just to get to the beginning of a bike trail. From there, you descend deeper into the abyss of winding canyons, magnificent pires, and ancient rock art.
The Maze is an easy place to lose yourself, literally and figuratively. Forget about the city, the job, the petty worries of modern life. Down in the labyrinthian red rock there is a thick silence that enwraps travellers, and helps us come into alignment with our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. Wander through the desolate landscape and find wonders like Lizard Rock and the prehistoric art panel, The Harvest Scene.
Just make sure you know how to get yourself out of The Maze before you get into it.
This where we can help you out. Our 4-5 day Maze mountain biking trip gets you down into the most remote and beautiful nooks of the district and then back up to civilization without you having to do a bit of the planning. You can just focus on the serenity, wonder, and challenge of the ride.
- Finding Balance and Restoration: Silence, Solitude, and Flow
Mountain biking is one of the best ways to reach that elusive and powerful flow state. After pushing your feet down onto pedals for a few hours you start to find a rhythm, that sweet spot between exhaustion and ease, between focus and boredom. This spot offers just enough challenge to keep your body and mind engaged, but not overworked. It’s in these moments that, like meditation, our cares and worries drift to the background and all we feel is the sun on our face, the wind at our backs. Our senses are heightened, our endorphins are pumping, and there’s nothing to do but keep going forward.
Canyonlands’ is the perfect place to get into that flow state and leave all of your problems behind for a few days. Far from the city lights and the crowded tourist sites, Canyonlands offers solitude, silence, and nature on such a grand scale that it puts everything else in life into perspective.
- It’s Like a Green Smoothie: Sweet and Nutritious
There’s no better way to celebrate the onset of Spring than a trip to the desert. The nights have warmed up enough to be that perfect, cool, sweater weather, but the days are not yet scorching hot. It’s fantastic biking weather; get sweaty under the sun during the day and then cozy up by the fire with your favorite beverage in the evening.
Cleanse your dusty lungs with the clean desert air. Purge your winter blues with an infusion of Vitamin D. Get your legs into shape for the summer biking, running, hiking, and camping season.
Also, if you choose to visit Canyonlands on one of our biking trips you will be treated with abundant, nutritious meals. It’s the perfect, healthy kickstart to the mountain biking season!
Easton Smith is a Local Wasatch Front resident and writer. He spends his time community organizing, rock-climbing and playin’ some mean banjo. For more writing from Easton, check out his organizing collective’s blog “Brine Waves” here or stay tuned for future loggings in River Currents.